King's Shadow

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

King’s Shadow is a Christian historical romance novel by author Angela Hunt. It is a fictional account of King Herod’s court, book four of The Silent Years series.

All I could say was ‘Wow’ after I finished reading this novel. I learned so much about King Herod at a time when the Jews were looking for a Messiah to rescue them. I was pulled into this breath-taking novel from the very beginning, and trying to pace myself I finished the novel in four days.

Each chapter focused on one character POV. My favorite character was Zara, who at nine-years-old was sent away from her mother to serve in King Herod’s palace. She saw the good and bad during her time at the palace and still had faith in God. She believed she was placed on the King’s court for a reason.

I recommend this book to fans of Biblical fiction. There is an author Q&A at the back of the book where the author states most of the book is based on fact. My only problem with the novel is that it seemed a bit long. The author also states if she had added all she researched the book would have been much longer. This novel can act as a stand-alone.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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This is the 4th book in a series, The Silent Years. I did not read any of the previous books and that really didn't matter. It can be a standalone book very easily. It is a fictionalized history story, but quite true to actual events. It is also a Christian fiction but not overly "Christian" or preachy, less than most of Angela Hunt's books, but still, God is displayed in Zara's life. Zara is the handmaid to Salome.

The characters are very well written and quite believable. The story seems very true to history and at times is quite gruesome as Herod could be very cruel.

The story goes back and forth between Salome and Zara and tells the story from two different perspectives. One, Salome the princess/king's sister, the other, Zara a Jewish handmaid.

I enjoyed the book. Towards the end, I was afraid I would not want to read the ending but I was pleasantly surprised. If you enjoy Biblical or historical fiction you will enjoy this book. Angela Hunt is a gifted author and I enjoy reading her books. This is no exception. I give this 5 out of 5 stars.

I requested and was granted this book through Netgalley to read and review. I was not required to give the review and the review is totally my honest opinion.
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After spending 15 years in his palace, I had concluded his determination was fueled not by love but by fear. Yet, I could also understand fear. I had known loss and terror.

I love this series of books by Angela Hunt as she introduced the quiet years in Jewish history. 400 years had passed between the Old Testament and the New. However, God was working in these years before Jesus was born. His people were anticipating the Messiah and they were waiting. I am always intrigued on Hunt's research for each book and how she brings historical facts and fiction to a worshipful finish. The King's Shadow is the time of Jesus' birth and the rule of Herod. A king that was fearful and violent. He had no boundaries and he could and would protect his throne and his rule. He killed his own children, wife, mother in law, and babies under 2 years old at a time in Bethlehem.

Two women come together, Salome the King Herod's trusted sister and Zara the young Jewish servant to Salome. The introduction to these women is deep and contrast gives you a deeper perspective of living as a Jewish woman and that of Royalty where family must stick together at all cost. Even though Salome and Zara came from different backgrounds, they had a mutual respect for each other. Their attitudes and loyalty propelled me to know each character more. What drove each woman to do what she felt was right and to the Lord. How Zara trusted in the Lord and how Salome trusted in brother and protected him. It was a different perspective as it made Herod more "human" but because he could, he was able to destroy anyone whom he feared. It made me think that we could be more like Herod then we would like to think. The only difference between him and me are laws. He was the law. It was a deep perspective on what happens when fear rules your heart. Insecurities and fear are very much linked together and can cause havoc on relationships and you find yourself living a life of turmoil. As always, I appreciate what Hunt teaches me about myself and our God.

A Special Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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I am a new fan of Angela Hunt's.  I have long been a Biblical Fiction fan, and her books came as a suggestion to me after I mentioned a similar author was a favorite of mine.  The King's Shadow does a fantastic job of placing you in the center of Herod's court, and the larger redemptive thread is woven throughout.  I am looking forward to reading more of her work.
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As the silent years come to a close, the story of Herod the Great is put on display.

Salome is sister to Herod the Great.  Her family is from Idumean descent, who the Jews believe are inferior.  Herod was placed in power by the Roman Republic as a puppet king to rule over the lands.  Salome is determined to protect and defend her brother with her life as he once came to her rescue.  Unfortunately, sometimes his choices make that difficult to do.  His decision to marry Mariamne, daughter of Alexandra whose father was Hyrcanus the previous Jewish leader who was a Hasmonean.  They always speak ill of Herod and his family and plot ways to get the kingdom back.  Their offspring prove to be no better.  Herod begins to rule emotionally, his decisions often swift and sometimes unjust.  What will become of the Jewish nation?

Zara is a young Jewish girl who is selected to be handmaid to Salome.  She learns to trust her mistress and do her bidding indiscreetly.  However, as she ages, she sees the bitterness and lack of trust begin to tear the Herodians apart.  She continues to live selflessly, hoping to one day have a family of her own.  

I have read a little into King Herod’s time, but have never delved as deep as what Hunt has just given me.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the historical timeline played out between Herod and Marc Antony of Rome with Cleopatra which lead to the battle with Octavian and eventually to Augusts Caesar.  I’ve dived much deeper into Roman history and was happy to see how well this all accurately connected.  As always, Hunt is a master historian that can easily weave the knowledge into her novels.  I haven’t found any book by her that I haven’t loved.  I also enjoy that she uses more minor characters from history to be her main characters so that readers get to witness the events in a first person setting.  I’ve heard of Salome, but more from the reference of Herodias’s daughter that ask for John the Baptist head on a platter.  So it was very interesting to see the story of her ancestor played out up through the birth of Jesus.  

I recommend this book to historical fiction lovers, biblical fiction lovers, and people who enjoy Hunt’s work!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.
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I am new to Angela Hunt’s books, and even though I was starting with the final book in her “Silent Years” series, I did not find it necessary to have read the others first. That being said, I certainly look forward to reading the first three books in this series soon!
King’s Shadow is set in the time period between the Old and New Testaments when King Herod was on the throne.  The story alternates between the perspectives of King Herod’s younger and only sister, Salome, and her handmaiden, a young Jewish girl named Zara who had previously lived with her aunt and handicapped mother.
Salome is extremely loyal to her brother, the king, and would do anything to help him stay on the throne.  She and their mother vigilantly watch for treachery against Herod, using spies and any means necessary.  In contrast, Zara, who came to the royal household as a servant at just 9 years of age, having lost her father in the war, sees the world very differently.  Deeply compassionate, she considers the hurt and struggles people may be facing and tries to understand them in that light.  Zara is drawn to study the Torah as she continually grows in her relationship with God. 
In a world where family member can turn on family member in a heartbeat, Salome and Zara forge a solid relationship of trust and respect that lasts through the years even though their positions and backgrounds are extremely different.
King’s Shadow follows the known historical facts of this time of great corruption and political intrigue while fleshing out what isn’t certain with a plausible, relatable storyline.  It is well-written with fascinating, multi-dimensional characters and vivid detail, making it a book that is hard to put down.
I heartily recommend King’s Shadow: A Novel of King Herod’s Court to anyone who enjoys Biblical fiction.  Many thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy.  The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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There were many things I liked and a couple things I didn’t like about this book. This is not my favorite genre so I’m sure that plays into my thoughts as well.

What I liked:  Especially at the beginning of the story, the author paints Herod as a normal man who cares for his family.  He usually comes off as a buffoon or an evil monster in books or movies. Of course, he changed a lot during the course of his life but I felt it gave a more balanced picture of him as a person, especially in his early years.

There are many lessons that can be learned.  If we pursue sin, it gets easier and easier to compromise our beliefs. If we keep going against our conscience, or the Holy Spirit’s urging, that voice gets quieter.  This book also showed the power of a quiet, godly life lived out before others. It matters.

What I didn’t like:  It was too long. The book is 384 pages long and covers all of Herod’s adult life. I’ve read very few books that cover a long time period and kept me wanting more. In fact, I can’t think of any.   I understand why it was done since this series is covering the 400 silent years between the Old and New Testaments but it dragged a bit for me.

Of necessity, because of the subject matter, it was full of politics. I really don’t like politics. Again, this is probably more of a statement about me than about the book.  The story is full of drama, intrigues, betrayal, alliances, etc.  While Hunt handled it all well, it was just too much for me.

If you like historical fiction and politics, I think you’d like this book. It was well written and thoroughly researched.  Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

The Silent Years series:

Book 1:  Egypt’s Sister

Book 2:  Judah’s Wife

Book 3:  Jerusalem’s Queen

Book 4:  King’s Shadow
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This possibly the hardest book of Hunt's to review. If you've read my previous reviews of her books set during the 400 Silent Years, you know they are packed with truth of the Messiah and history (and fiction) of the culture and times of the Jews and the countries around them. This book is no different, except that it is more complex in political and relational ways. Salome is King Herod's sister, and the person he trusts the most. Herod is placed on a precarious throne: under Rome, but in command of the Jews. Herod must appease both culture, nations, and religions in order to survive. His sister is perhaps the most important person helping him do just that. She and her servants are his eyes and ears, and no matter what she remains loyal to him. I found this special to see in a sister. Usually we read stories about wives or husbands or friends showing that kind of selfless loyalty, but not often do you see a woman who is hated by many, but clever, diplomatic, and able to serve the interests of the palace and Jews.

This is a time of turmoil and chaos. There is constant death even in the palace, as families vie for the throne and murder each other in order to gain it. Relations with Antony and Cleopatra are also a large part of this story, at least from a distance. The weight of ruling a nation weighs on Herod and Salome also bears that weight with loyalty and grace. Though neither would be considered believers in the God of Israel, Herod is half Jew, and therefore performs sacrifices and celebrations as the Jews do, but without heart.

Zara begins the story as an innocent girl growing up in a typical Jewish home. Soon Herod and Rome's men bring disaster and pain to her family and she matures quickly as she faces death and uncertainty. At a young age, she is betrothed to a sandal-maker's son: the best option to make sure she was at least provided for if anything should happen to her family. However, she is clever with her hands, and God has another purpose for her life. Soon she is brought to Herod's court as Salome's servant. She has freedom of movement within the palace, and performs important work for her mistress.

Herod's decline begins with his execution of the wife he adored (but couldn't trust). His mother-in-law is ever-scheming for ways to have her line on the throne. Zara is forced away from her family to work in the palace, and Salome is loyal to a fault to her brother and his work. Yet in the fear, uncertainty, and broken dreams of them all, God is preparing His nation for the Son he will send. Herod, too, is an instrument in God's hands, whether he realizes it or not, and Zara begins to search and find out who this HaShem is to her personally. And in the end we see the hope of the Son of God come to us: Immanuel.

I feel like this book didn't have much hope in it. It was a time of turmoil and death and scheming royal families. It's heartbreaking, but I think Hunt did well with what she had. Under the shadow of the King's court, God placed His Son. Here's to the fourth and final book of the Silent Years series!



*I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
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This is a story about King Herod's court. About his wives, sons, brothers and sister.
It is written about the time of the Prophets and the coming of the Messiah. It tells of his character, his challenges and his greatest desire.
Herod had married again. This time to Mariamne. Her mother Alexandra is not a great fan of Herod. Hey and get daughter, the kings wife will try to find ways to overthrow him and have one of her sons become king.
All King Herod desires is for the people of Jerusalem to live and honor him. He has done so much for them. Lowered taxes during a famine. Helped feed them during this time. Restored their temple fore them. Nothing he does endears him to them. He is barely tolerated. 
He has killed wives, sons, brothers. So many to be assured he will remain king. The only one who has been true and stayed by his side is his sister, Salome.
Now he learns that a new king has been born. A king of the Jews. He has sent his army to slaughter all the boys under two years of age. No one will take his being King away, even if he is at the end of his life.
An intriguing story. It was interesting to see what palace life may have been like during this time in the home of King Herod and his family. There was a lot of distrust, and animosity and the palace was not a calm and peaceful place.
Well written.
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Watch your Back!  Salome was the only sister of King Herod, and lived with him in his Jerusalem palace.  Despite Herod ruling with an iron fist, Salome was his biggest fan.  She constantly rationalized his bad behavior saying it was the result of his people not appreciating, and loving their king.  Zara, who lost both parents because of their part in an uprising against Herod, becomes Salome’s handmaid—at the tender age of nine!

Although Herod is remembered as a brute, the author humanizes him, and shows him as a misunderstood ruler, at least in Salome’s eyes.  But his story cannot be told without the inclusion the many murders he was responsible for, including a number of his family members. 
 
Zara was the one bright light in this tale.  She serves Salome well, without blaming her for the loss of her family.  Eventually, she meets Ravid whose teachings bring her closer to God, HaShem.  Other than the time she spent supporting Herod, Salome was a very self-centered individual.

Herod was a troubled person who lived a disturbing life, which was the over-riding theme of this story.  That shines through no matter how human the book tries to present him, even if that was his sister’s opinion.  Biblical history fans will enjoy the thorny story in this 4-star book.  

Bookreadingtic was provided with a complimentary copy of King’s Shadow for the purpose of review.  I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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This author has pulled off another great read!! 
A must for Biblical fiction readers!! I'm sad that it ended.
This book will leave readers thinking about it and what it entailes long after you've finished it.
I love Angleas style of writing. I love how she puts a lot of thought and research into her novels to make them what they are!!
I enjoyed that it was told in 1st person by Salome and Zara by flipping back and forth between the two women. 
I learned a lot in this novel about how Herod came to power. How terrible it must be to want love and never received it. Poor Herod. A sad and jealous man if there ever was one and so very empty.
I enjoyed that it was told in 1st person by Salome and Zara by flipping back and forth between the two women. 
I don't think I would want to be the court of anybody. It's too dangerous!! My one true king is Jesus Christ! How blessed it is to be a child of God.
My thanks to Netgalley and Bethany House for a copy of this book. No compensations were received and all opinions are my own!!
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I really wasn't sure if I was going to like this book or not. I have read several of Angela Hunt's books, but they have all been set in present day. I decided to step out of my reading box and give this a try and I'm glad I did! When I think about Bible Times I guess I have a disconnect of not thinking of them as real people with thoughts much like I have. Yes, the times were vastly different, but their emotions, wants and needs are alot like ours. So in that respect it was a real eye opener for me to realize that Bible era people were a lot like me! I thought it was interesting learning about the history and the traditions. I definitely couldn't go through one of their never ending wedding celebrations! This was not a light read, meaning I would read some and then need to take a break from it so I could understand and process what I read, but I enjoyed it!
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King's Shadow by Angela Hunt is the final book in the Silent Years series. It was not only entertaining, but it was a fascinating look at Herod the Great and his descent into madness.

The author focuses on two main characters, Salome (Herod's sister) and Zara, Salome's handmaid. Both are telling the story from their perspectives, giving insight into the dangerous inner workings of a royal court, run by a man who had spies everywhere. Salome recounts how besotted Herod was with his new wife Mariamne and at first, you like Herod and picture him as just another man in love. But that soon changes as Herod's spies present him with evidence from various sources looking to unseat him from his throne. 

I had researched Herod for a Bible study I had done on Daniel. It was interesting to see how the author took all this information and created such an intriguing story. 

Now if you think because of Salome's name this is the same Herod who asked for John the Baptist's head on a plate, you would be wrong. This is way before that ever happened, during the time of Antony and Cleopatra, who are just two of a host of Biblical and historical figures that appear in this book. 

The ending of King's Shadow makes me wish it had continued, but alas, this was about those silent years when the Jewish people did not hear from the prophets of God. If you have not read any of the books in this series, do yourself a favour and pick them up. While they all read as standalone's, this is a series you want to read in its entirety. Ms. Hunt is adept at bringing Biblical figures and history to life. You will find it hard to put this book down.

I highly recommend King's Shadow!

I received this book from Bethany House through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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Angela Hunt is an all time favorite author of mine. I love her writing style. This series has been fascinating. I knew a little about the time period between the Old and New Testaments from history class, but she has really made these characters come alive. This final installment about Herod's family has been one of my favorites. Salome is an interesting and complicated character, and I loved her handmaid, Zara. If you enjoy ancient history, you will love The Silent Years Series. Highly recommended.



I received a free copy of this book for review.
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King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court is book four from Angela Hunt's series, The Silent Years. I have enjoyed every book I have read by this author in the past and this one does not disappoint. I thought it was a great read. 
I highly recommend King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court and I am giving it five plus stars. Readers who enjoy a clean read, as well as, Biblical Fiction should definitely pick this one up.
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This author has a unique way of taking historical facts that I might have overlooked and turning them into the intriguing backgrounds of her novels..  As I began reading the first chapter, I was not quite sure I was interested enough to finish the book.  But I kept reading, and I’m glad I did.  Angela Hunt brought that time period of Biblical history alive for me.  I was caught up in the palace intrigue, but also understood much more clearly the plight of the Jews under Herod’s reign.

Viewing this story through two completely different viewpoints was absorbing.  Salome, the sister of King Herod, lives her life to protect Herod and his reign.  Zara is a Jewish girl, who, at the young age of nine years old, becomes Salome’s personal attendant.  Zara views everything that happens in the palace through the eyes of her faithful Jewish upbringing and the Torah.  She quickly learns how to survive in a household that political enemies are literally around every corner and it’s difficult to know who to trust.  

As this story follows the years of Herod’s descent into near madness and much tragedy occurs, things become much more dangerous for both Salome and Zara.  When the magi come to Herod  about the birth of  “the new King”, Zara, her husband, and their new baby boy are in harm’s way.  The ending to this story was surprising and very special.  

The gritty realities of Herod’s reign might make this book a little edgy for some readers.  The author handles everything in an appropriate way, but it’s still grisly at times, especially the death of Herod’s wife. This book needs to be read by no younger than the “young adult” category.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.
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Usually, I love Angela Hunt’s novels. Judah’s Wife and Jerusalem’s Queen were breathtaking and thought-provoking novel. However, this third novel was not compelling enough for me. This may be due to Salome. I found her to be very judgmental and critical of others. I did find her maid Zara to be more likable. Thus, I think I would have enjoyed this story better if it was told from a different character. Still, I recommend this for fans of Ginger Garret, Jill Eileen Smith, and Joan Wolf! Full review to come!
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This is a well researched and well written story. It gives us an amazing look into what Herod's court might have been like. There are lots of historical details woven into this story, but it does not bog down the plot any instead adds authentic flare and live to the story of these two women. 

The story is told in first person and switches back and forth between two women, Salome (Herod's sister) and a Zara (a Jewish servant). The story does a great job showing what life is like on both ends of the social status, giving us a broader more in depth look at what life then was like. 


An engaging and interesting story, A must read for anyone who loves Biblical fiction.
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I adored Angela's book about Joseph in Egypt. This one I'm not too keen on. It switches points of view so often my head was spinning. I really hate that. However, Hunt is a good researcher and I plowed on.

There are a LOT of great reviews of this story so I won't tell you what it is about. Characterization was not up to Hunt's normal quality. It was often difficult to remember who was telling the story, and it is hard to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to see whose POV I was into. So I gave up. Keep that in mind when you see I gave it 3 stars. 

This review has been placed on Goodreads, on my blog, facebooked and tweeted.
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The King's Shadow is Book 4 of The Silent Years Series. This is a series that doesn't have to be read in a particular order. The silent years refers to the period of time between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament when God did not speak to the Jewish people.

There are two main characters in this story. One is Salome, the sister of King Herod. The second is Zara, Salome's handmaid. Salome is a selfish and resentful woman. Zara is a child at the beginning of the story. She grows into a selfless and compassionate woman.

Salome loves her brother, King Herod. She tries to help him keep his power safe. She hates the king's wife and mother-in-law who are always gossiping and plotting against her and eventually the king. There is a lot of intrigue revolving around the king's sons. Affiliations with Marc Anthony help the king stay in power but his power is threatened by Cleopatra.

When King Herod took the city of Jerusalem, Zara's father died and her mother was paralyzed. Zara was given the opportunity to become the handmaid of Salome when she was just a girl. She learned how to please her mistress and learned the inner workings of the court. When she grew up,  she wanted to have a family of her own.

I really enjoyed this story. It brings a lot of insight into what it might have been like in King Herod's court. Zara was a nice counter-balance to Salome. I thought the ending was very appropriate.

I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.
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