Ever since I read Mesu Andrews book, “In The Shadow of Jezebel,” I fell in love with the author’s ability to make me think about Biblical stories in new ways. Ways that make me realize that God intended a godly life to be practical and filled with blessings…sounds boring, right? Well, not when Mesu Andrews picks up her pen! And man, oh man, did Mesu pull out all the stops when she wrote Daniel’s story in, “Of Fire And Lions.”
When you think of Daniel, you’ll probably remember that he was taken from Israel at a young age, advanced to become one of the chief leaders in Babylon and was thrown into the den of lions because of his prayer life. If you’ve read about his life further, you may even know that it’s commonly accepted that Daniel remained single. But, what if there was evidence that he could have married and had a family? This novel explores those possibilities in an unforgettable fictional retelling of might have happened to Daniel and …Bellili.
“Of Fire And Lions” covers Daniel’s entire life; it starts from the time he’s a boy being taken from Jerusalem up to the first remnant of Jews being sent back to Israel under the reign of Darius. During this time frame, you see both Daniel’s life and the fictional life of Bellili, a Hebrew girl with a Babylonian name that Andrews created to be Daniel’s wife, from beginning to then. I really enjoyed seeing these two grow up and how captivity affected their faith in Yahweh. One of my favorite parts was in the first few chapters, where we see them go from the Holy City of God to Babylon, the city where “Etemenanki” was built. (Etemenaki was the name for the Tower of Babel that they rebuilt.) But, if you’re thinking this story will be a sweet romance between a Hebrew girl and a Hebrew boy who both love God, you’re mistaken. This novel sets a whole new standard to the term “unpredictable” in fiction. The plot twists? I never saw them coming! (And I mean, never!) But it was those plot twists that once again, set my mind to thinking about how unpredictable life is. Not just in fiction, but in real life as well. Bellili had to go through many things, things she didn’t understand. And just like real life, she had to trust God to work all things together for good. Together, those plot twists transformed this story into an epic novel.
Conclusion: I loved “Of Fire and Lions!” Not only do you get to travel from Jerusalem to Babylon, but also through 70 years of Israel’s Babylonian exile, rulers and some of Scriptures most often quoted stories. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years of insanity and Daniel’s own persecution in the lion’s den…you get to see it all. But, “Of Fire And Lions” isn’t just another Biblical Fiction novel, it’s an epic tale of redemption, forgiveness and God’s goodness set in turbulent times of Israel’s history. I highly recommend this new book by Mesu Andrews!