Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Stars: *****
Genre: Historical fiction, religious fiction
Pages: 254
When Daniel was eight, the Romans conquered Palestine and murdered his father as an example. Now eighteen, he lives in the mountains with a band of rebels led by smooth talking Rosh. His one purpose in life is to drive out the Romans or die trying.
But there are people who stand between him and his cause. People he cares about. He unexpectedly runs into Joel, an old friend who's also passionate about Palestine. Joel has a a twin sister, Thacia. She's beautiful, dances, plays the harp beautifully, and actually talks to Daniel. And Leah, his little sister, who hasn't left the house since their parent's death.
And then there's this guy named Jesus. His words stir something inside Daniel though they make absolutely no sense. How are you supposed to obtain freedom through faith and prayer? Swords and brute strength are totally the way to go. Because Rosh said so. And Rosh is always right. Even if Jesus can miraculously heal crippled people.
When Daniel's grandmother dies, he has to return home to care for Leah, much to Rosh's displeasure. But even as he assembles an army to take on the Romans, he starts to change the way he thinks about Rosh, Leah, Thacia (obviously. There has to be romance) and even Jesus.
There were times I cheered Daniel on, and times I wanted to whack him over the head with a shovel. What kind of boy runs off to the mountains, leaving his traumatized sister and ancient grandmother to fend for themselves? Oh, right. A stupid one under pressure. Understandable. Daniel is a fiery and realistic character.
While the book contains a certain amount of religious stuff, Jesus is only a minor character, which I found amusing. He shows  up at occasional yet important moments in the story, making The Bronze Bow an inspiring and entertaining for religious and nonreligious readers alike.