Title: Hittite Warrior
Author: Joanne Williamson
Major Themes: Israel (Ancient Palestine), Historical Fiction, Ancient Israelites, Ancient Canaanites
Synopsis: Uriah must decide between the God of the Hebrews and the gods of the rest of the world—and when he has to choose between the life of a child and worshiping the god Moloch, will he do what is right?
Hittite Warrior is a book I’ll never forget. Joanne Williamson is a wonderful storyteller, and this book glows with life among all other historical fiction books. If you were ever looking for a gripping read, a fascinating view of a Biblical event, or accurate retelling of historical Tyre and what ancient Israel was like, this book fits any and all of the above categories perfectly. This book is one that I hope to someday have on the shelves of my personal library. From the very beginning, it captures you, and by the end you’ll put it down with a sigh.
Uriah, a Hittite, tells the story as it happened to him. When he was fourteen, his mother and sister were killed by a raiding band of warriors, and when sixteen his father was killed as well. But just before he died, his father made him promise:
“You must not stay here,” he said at last. “Promise me. …You must go south…to the land of Caanan. …There is a man there. A man…called Sisera. He will help you. …Promise.”
Uriah promised. And his father died. After burying him according to their traditions, he left his homeland and began his journey south—a journey full of trouble. Through his travels, he met the son of a merchant from Tyre, who convinced him to stay with him for a while. He also meets Jotham, an Israelite.
Settling in with the merchant’s family he learns all about how life in Tyre is—including the fact that their greatest god, Moloch, demands human sacrifice. When the city becomes in danger of going to war, and a child is chosen for the sacrifice, everyone in the city holds their breath. The child is the first-born son of a high-up man in the city, and a cousin of the merchant’s family. Then, on the morning the boy is to die, he disappears. After a frantic search, the temple soldiers cannot find him—and, while searching in a warehouse, Uriah stumbles upon him. He must decide whether to save the boy’s life—and risk losing the only friends he has in the world, or whether to turn him in—and forever live with the guilt.
That’s only a small portion of the story. This also tells of the unforgettable battle fought between Israel and Sisera, bringing the characters of Deborah and Barak to life. Pulling together many different threads of history and story, Joanne Williamson has written a carefully-researched story that will entertain, inspire, and stick in your memory forever. I loved learning about the Hebrews, the people of Tyre, and Sisera, and this book tells the history in a real way while giving a solid story as well. I believe young adults aged thirteen and over will especially benefit from this book. It’s one that—while written well—isn’t for readers younger than that. Adults will also highly enjoy the story.
WARNING: This book has a few things in it some parents may not appreciate, although I did not find them offensive. Here are the places I have found: He kills a man on page 17. Page 48 has a description of the god Moloch. Chapter 20 is all about a battle. Pages 213 and 214 have a fight and a man being killed. Also, throughout the book, we noticed at least one historical inaccuracy, and a Biblical inaccuracy (a character, not even an Israelite, is shown looking into the Holy of Holies—which according to Old Testament teaching, would not only not have been allowed, but he should have died).
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults
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Olly Downie says
Thanks Esther, a great review.
I just found this in a bag of old books belonging to my father.
Its not exactly my genre but I’ll tuck it away for a down time read.
Esther Filbrun says
You’re welcome, Olly! I enjoyed the story–it’s a good adventure story, as well as bringing Bible times to life a little. Too bad it isn’t all Biblically accurate, but it’s an enjoyable read all the same.