This is the inaugural debut of my new column Time to Relax, which is published monthly in print in Transitions magazine. It’s actually not a completely new column but a merger of my coffee and book reviews. I hope you enjoy…
A book review of Day of War by Cliff Graham
One of my favorite genres is historical fiction, especially that of a Biblical nature, but only if it’s well-written. Believe me, there are some really horrific novels out there that claim to be in that particular genre, but really come off as more of an attempt at fantasy or speculative fiction.
Good historical fiction makes dry facts and figures come to life. It makes the historical accounts believable and gives them feeling and emotion, which they so completely lack in the history books. Good Biblical fiction is the same. It helps us see the Biblical characters and stories in a more personable light. I really enjoy reading Biblical fiction alongside the same accounts in the Bible. Between the two I can get a very real understanding of the Biblical text.
So what makes good historical fiction? It has to be researched. Writing off the cuff without putting in the legwork presents a cheap flat view of things. Well-researched writings in regard to the actual incidents, true facts, and various historical interpretations of the facts create a truly compelling and educational text.
The single best historical novel I read this year was Day of War by Cliff Graham. It details the account of David and his mighty men from the Bible passages found in the books of Samuel and Chronicles. I have a certain affinity for these texts because both myself and my two eldest boys are named after David and two of his mighty men Abishai and Benaiah. Because of that, I’m highly interested in learning more about them.
This book is among the best Biblical fiction books I’ve ever read. The level of description in the text and the willingness to describe unsavory battle scenes and life as a warrior rank unmatched. Most people assume a book written from Biblical accounts has to gloss over anything unsavory. Not true. God didn’t do that in the Bible. We don’t have to do it in fiction.
Because of my interest in the author and his writing I’ve checked out his story a little further. He meticulously researched the topic, the scenes, and the people involved. I’ve seen videos of him visiting the sites in Israel mentioned in the book. He talks at length in interviews about his research and heart for the subject matter. His resume as a writer also goes far beyond the ability to type. Graham is a warrior himself, having served with distinction in the United States Army as a Chaplain.
If historical fiction or Biblical fiction are among your interests, I would highly recommend Graham’s book and the soon to be published sequel to it. Great news as well…there’s a movie in the works based on this book!
A little taste of Mayorga Coffee
Going on the premise that if you have time to read, that you also have the opportunity to enjoy a good cup of coffee, I’d like to recommend one to you. I ran into the Mayorga Coffee tasting crew at Costco. The guys were super nice, and when I contacted the company to talk, the excellent customer service extended there as well.
They sent me three big bags to try out- Cafe Cubano, Roastmaster’s Blend, and Nicaragua El Recreo Estate. All were very excellent. I do have to say that my favorite was the Nicaraguan coffee. There was a hint of toasted almonds in it that went well with my method of sweetening my brew with honey, like liquid honey almonds in my mouth. It’s also a medium roast, which I tend to enjoy more than the darks. I also have a certain affinity for single origin coffee. This one comes from an identified estate that is also Rainforest Alliance Certified.
You can find their coffees at Costco and also at mayorgacoffee.com. A couple of cups would make a great addition to a sit-down time with an awesome book.