Author: Dana McNeely
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Series: Whispers on the Wind #1
Release Date: February 18, 2021
He is destined to be high priest—but at what cost to those he loves?
In ancient Samaria, Aban anticipates his rites of passage with excitement and dread. He yearns to join the priesthood of Ba’al Melqart, unlock the power of the rain god, and hear the deity’s voice. He’s been warned the licentious ceremony can take a dangerous turn, but as eldest son of the high priestess, he holds a privileged position. If he can make it through the ceremony, one day he’ll rise to high priest.
On the eve of the rituals, Aban’s mother confesses a dark secret about the bloody sacrifice demanded by Melqart. Aban may have escaped the flames, but if he is to save his brother, Aban must take his destined position of power as soon as possible.
When the mysterious prophet Elijah interrupts the rites, overturns the idol, and curses the land with drought, Aban’s world is shaken. The current high priest and the king appear powerless, but even more confusing is the fact that the rain god does nothing.
Against his better judgment, Aban conceals the strange prophet’s whereabouts, forfeiting the high priesthood. Now an enemy of the relentless Queen Jezebel, Aban has little time to question his fading commitment to Ba’al Melqart as he and his loved ones flee. But the conflict in Samaria is much larger than just a high priestess and her sons. Soon, Aban will have to choose a side in Yahweh’s war against the Ba’als—and it may cost him his life.
Reviewer: Linda Klager
I loved the beautiful cover of this book, and I really wanted to read a new author. I was not disappointed.
The author did an excellent job telling a fictionalized version of the story of Elijah, the prophet of Yahweh. Oh, what Elijah needed to do in serving the LORD! I could picture more clearly the Bible Story because of Dana McNeely's narrative.
Aban was the firstborn son of Mara, priestess of Melqart. He was getting ready to be initiated to become a high priest. Aban had doubts because he had seen much evil and pretense by other high priests. All of a sudden, Elijah, the true prophet of God, shows up. Elijah told King Ahab that no rain would fall for 3 1/2 years because the people of Israel have forgotten Yahweh and worshipped false gods. King Ahab is the most wicked king in history. Elijah looks at Aban, and Aban realizes that he must leave the initiation ritual and follow Elijah. Aban has a hard time keeping up with Elijah. And, when questioned by soldiers about Elijah's route of passage, Aban gives the soldiers false information.
Because Aban has left the ritual, he is hunted down by Jezebel, the wicked wife of evil King Ahab. Jezebel wants Elijah dead and kills many of Yahweh's prophets. Some of the prophets narrowly escape Jezebel's schemes. Aban is taken in by followers of Yahweh. Aban wants to go back to Samaria to rescue his mother and his little brother. These followers of Yahweh decide to aid his rescue attempt.
There is much danger lurking - it is hard to know who to trust. Many people turn on others.
Throughout Aban's life, God was with him. We can all be thankful for the LORD God's guidance in our own lives.
I really liked that at the beginning of each chapter, the author included Scripture from the Holy Bible. It was like an introduction to what was happening in the storyline. I love reading my Bible, and this book helped me understand more fully the true story of Elijah. I also liked the fact that Elijah and even Jezebel depended on ravens. That is very interesting because Elijah was so moral, and Jezebel was so immoral.
If you like Biblical fiction, adventure, dangerous situations, a bit of romance, and family life, you will enjoy this book.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Rain is a beautifully written debut novel from Dana McNeely that masterfully tells Elijah's story as he receives his call from God.
Seen through the eyes of Aban, a temple acolyte committed to serving the idol Ba'al Melqart, we get an insightful and descriptive idea of idol worship during that time. On the eve of Aban's indoctrination as a priest, Elijah appears in the temple. He pronounces a curse on the land, overturns the idol and leaves. Stunned and curious by this turn of events, Aban follows the stranger out of the city, forfeiting his chance at becoming a priest and unknowingly putting the lives of his mother and brother at risk.
The story proceeds at a nice clip, and it is tough to put down. Almost all aspects of Elijah's ministry are covered. I loved how seamlessly the fictional characters of Aban and Mara are reimagined as pivotal biblical characters in this story. The theme of redemption and trust is strong in this book, and its message a good one for people during this never-ending pandemic. This well-researched novel came to life and showed God's power over evil and the lengths He will go to win back those who have fallen away from Him or have never met Him at all.
A worthy read. I highly recommend it!
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