Angels at the Gate
This exciting historical novel tells the story of Lot’s wife, who, in the Bible, turns into a pillar of salt as she escapes the destruction of Sodom. Teenaged Adira poses as a boy, so that she can stay by the side of her widowed father, the leader of his caravan. She faces being separated from her father if her gender is revealed, which becomes more difficult as she grows older.
Their god, El, sends two messengers to travel with the caravan, the handsome warrior, Raph, and the moody intellectual, Mika. Raph and Mika bring with them great learning, mystery, and danger. Adira begins to fall in love with Raph, further complicating her struggle to hide her true identity.
Angels at the Gate details the difficult life in a desert caravan, and it explores gender roles among different cultures in the Middle East during the time of Abraham. Adira travels between many worlds, from the desert to the city, as a boy and as a woman, using the skills of observation and negotiation she learned from her father. Thorne explores how peoples’ land and livelihoods affect their relationships with their gods and goddesses.
The author has a talent for excellent characterization, such as the unpredictable Adira and the brooding Mika. The settings range from the lonely desert landscape to the crowded streets of Babylon. The story is so compelling that I could not wait until I could read the next part of the adventure.
The only flaw in the novel is that the pace slows dramatically after Adira bids farewell to Raph and Mika and does not pick up again until they return to the narrative. In fact, there is fairly one-dimensional characterization of Lot and his household. Adira’s time in Sodom is remarkably uninteresting, despite it being the inspiration for the novel itself.
Notwithstanding this lull, I highly recommend Angels at the Gate, a fantastic story about the mysterious woman who, until now, was simply a shadow among biblical heroes.
|Page Count||368 pages|
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