Reviews for The Stone of Ebenezer, Book I: Trilogy of Kings Saga
Think Tolkien. An ancient land and people with a proud heritage are threatened by sinister forces. Their one hope—their sacred relic—is captured by the enemy, and their soldiers retreat, defeated and humiliated. Shadows overtake the land as bright dreams fade and hope wanes. Enter a young hero, eager to prove his mettle, who finds himself tested for more than courage in battle. Unlike the fantasy tale of Middle-earth, however, this tale is rooted in the true story of ancient Israel, told in epic fashion that brings to life famous Bible characters such as Eli the priest and Samuel the prophet. The author’s meticulous research, vocabulary of ancient Hebrew terms, and respect for holy scripture combine with her melodious writing style to craft a narrative artfully embellished with fictional details and sure to please lovers of Bible history who also enjoy historical fiction. Judith Ingram author of Moonseed Trilogy
Vividly descriptive tale of biblically-based historical fiction. Inspired by her love of antiquity, archaeology, and biblical history, Susan Van Volkenburgh employs prose, to which she lends an archaic flair, to recount the stories told in the Book of First Samuel. Within her novel, "The Stone of Ebenezer", she weaves characters, both fictional and historical, together in a biblically-based fictional story, while including touchstones of historical events to set the scene for vivid battles, treacherous journeys, lives affected by the ravages of war, and even a touch of romance. Her audience will be delighted as they become familiar with some of her more memorable characters, as she utilizes each of these unique individuals as a vehicle by which she endeavors to enlighten the reader about events that occurred in ancient times. Vividly descriptive details of the surrounding terrain, the common attire of the time, and the customs involved in daily living provide an air of authenticity to "The Stone of Ebenezer" serving to captivate and illuminate the reader in an entertaining fashion. Reader
I loved reading this book! It was so exciting to read about what happened in the book of Samuel in a way that I could vividly imagine the scenes. I loved hearing the stories from the perspective of God's chosen people and also the perspective of the Philistines. It is obvious this author did her research! I loved it that it's a good book for any age and has all kinds of exciting things in it. I can't wait for the second book of this trilogy ! Deborah O. Barton
This is an amazing, accurate, novel. It is filled with excitement and intrigue. I gleaned much from reading this book. Susan is a gifted writer and I wait with anticipation for the next part to arrive at the bookstore. Rev. Judi Wiegman
Begin a journey with Susan Van Volkenburgh back to the time of 1 Samuel in her debut novel The Stone of Ebenezer. Tread the ancient lands of the Israel and Philistia through a novel replete with descriptive prose. Before you begin, let me say, I've yet to come across a biblical fiction novel so saturated with scripture and biblical history.
Within the first few chapters, it became evident that The Stone of Ebenezer was written from the heart of an educator. Van Volkenburgh does not limit the scope of her story to the book of 1st Samuel, but chooses to illustrate God's protection over his chosen people by including historical accounts of God's deliverance. These include, but are not limited to deliverance: from Egypt (Exodus), into the Promised Land (Joshua), and from the hands of both the Philistines and the Cannanites (Samson, Barak & Jael from the book of Judges). At times, the flashbacks coupled with generous descriptions of the territories weighed down the tale. Nevertheless, their inclusion gave a sweeping view of God's redemptive power.
As far as characters go, Nagad was my favorite as he was the most thoroughly developed. I also liked the way the author switched back and forth, recounting the events from both sides. While the ark lingered in Philistine territory wreaking havoc, I was reminded of how God does not need me to accomplish His purposes, but rather He allows me to witness and participate in His work. Overall, the struggle against our flesh (the desire to do things our way) and how we need to humble ourselves so that God can act on our behalf are some of the messages I cherish from the book.
Generally it's easy to recommend an audience to whom I think would enjoy a particular title. This one was a little tougher. If you tend to lean towards titles with a romantic flair, this may not be the book for you, because love didn't enter the scene until 2/3 of the way into the book, and even then it's not a driving factor for our hero. I believe this title would appeal to readers with an academic leaning: history buffs, bible teachers, and even high school aged students as long as their parents approve of wartime violence. Shelf-Esteem
Nagad’s life was perfect until torn apart by war. Now, haunted by his past, this young conscript must face the enemy in battle. As nations collide in a fierce conflict for dominance, more is at stake than the survival of a race. The outcome will prove whose god reigns omnipotent. In this vivid, accurate account of biblical events, Nagad’s people must endure treacherous journeys, bloody battles, and God’s judgment in their quest for ultimate victory.
The Stone of Ebenezer by Susan Van Volkenburgh is an historical, Biblical fiction story. Susan did an excellent job of writing the story true to scripture and simply adding some specific characters that the reader can care about and cheer for. She did an excellent job with her setting and keeping the real Biblical characters true to form.
I enjoyed reading how some characters recognized the actions of the one true God and others could not see until they were facing fear of death, and even then, some could not see. I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical, Biblical fiction. I would like to read the next book of the series when Susan releases it. K F Barr
Great biblical fiction. Very accurate and well-researched. I cannot wait to read the next in the series. Chris Allaire