Title: God King
Author: Joanne Williamson
Major Themes: 1000 – 0 BC, Historical Fiction, Young Adult Novels, Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Israelites
Synopsis: Taharka, the rightful King of Egypt, must choose between trusting Sennacherib and trusting Hezekiah—not only his life, but the future of his kingdom rests on his decision.
I love Joanne Williamson’s works, and God King is just one more of her captivating masterpieces. I am very thankful this happens to be a book I was given as a reader, and not made to wait in suspense as Mom read it aloud as time permitted—although I hope one day my brothers can hear it.
God King opens with twelve-year-old Taharka, a young son of the king, binding up the wound of an injured boatman. Everyone would have been okay with him doing it—except he broke tabu when using his sacred cloth to help the man. As soon as they get back to shore, a messenger comes—and he is escorted to the room where his father, the god of Egypt, is dying. When the god calls his sons to his side, the priest of the crocodile tells the king—and all in the room—that Taharka cannot come forward because he broke tabu. Instead of dismissing the case and choosing the next king right away, Taharka’s father decides to pass judgment first. Taharka presents his case, and the king feebly falls back on his cushion.
At first, everyone believes he has died without leaving an heir, but he holds up his hand and the wand of succession is given to him. Before he can call for his other sons to come, the wand falls weakly down on the couch beside him. The god has died. His successor—the one the wand points to? Taharka.
Taharka had become a god.
He had also received his punishment.
God King is incredibly well researched, and the threads of storyline are just as numerous and fascinating as in Hittite Warrior. Through this story, we not only meet Taharka—bringing the king mentioned in Isaiah 37:9 to life—but we also get an inside view of who Hezekiah and Sennacherib were. I loved the fact that I felt like I was “in” Egypt and Judaea when I was reading the book—Joanne knows how to add in just enough details for a perfect atmosphere, and yet not so many it drags down the story. If you love well-written historical fiction, this book will not disappoint.
WARNING: Page 58 tells of someone’s death by a knife. Page 63 tells of what an invading army did to a city. Neither is what I would consider too graphic for older children.
Listening Level—10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above