King's Shadow

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

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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It took me a little bit to really get into the story, but once I did, I was hooked. King’s Shadow follows the of Salome, King Herod’s sister, and Zara, a fictional handmaid. In other stories about Salome, she is usually portrayed as the villian, while Mariamne, King Herod’s wife, is portrayed as the heroine. But in this book, the roles were switched. And it’s a great reminder that perspective is everything.
Hunt breathes life into Salome and Herod, and many other historical figures, while staying true to the cultures and customs of the time. This made me love the story even more. It really opened my eyes to what life was like in ancient Israel. Filled with devious plots, court politics, and sibling loyalty, this book will grip you with the need to know more. King’s shadow is the perfect book for those who enjoy biblical fiction and court intruige.
NOTE: I received a copy of King’s Shadow from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley.
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King's Shadow
A Novel of King Herod's Court

by Angela Hunt

Bethany House

Bethany House Publishers


Pub Date 06 Aug 2019

I am reviewing a copy of King’s Shadow through Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley:

There are two women who occupy a place in Herod’s Court.  There is Salome, the King’s only sister is resentful woman who has been told she is from an inferior race, a people that God will never approve of or accept!

Zara, the second woman of King Herod court is a lowly handmaid that serves Salome.  The difference is that where Salome sees spies and treachery, Zara sees people who are hurting and in need of understanding and compassion.

Both Powerful and powerless Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless
both of these women struggle to reach their goals and survive in Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

I found Ming’s Shadow to be a powerful, Biblical Era Novel, with strong accurate portrays, and therefore believe it is worthy of five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This is the final book in The Silent Years series.  I have read a two of the previous books.  You do not need to read them, but some characters do appear and/or are mentioned in this book.

There are two main characters in this book Salome, the younger sister of King Herod and Zara, a young Jewish handmaiden to Salome.

Salome cares deeply for her brother and she would do anything for him.   When Herod marries Mariamne, Salome tries to be happy for her brother.  But Mariamne's mother (Alexandra) hates Herod and wants her son to sit on throne.  Conspiracies abound in Herod's court and Salome counsels Herod on the steps he should take.

Zara is very young when Jerusalem is attacked. In the attack her father is killed and her mother left paralyzed and unable to walk.  Life is difficult, so when the opportunity to serve as Salome handmaiden arises, Zara leaves her ailing mother and aunt behind.  Zara cares for Salome.  As she gets older, Zara begins to attend Torah teachings and meets Ravid, a passionate teacher.  

There is a lot of palace intrigue and plots abound.  We soon learn that Herod will do anything to keep his crown secure.  Killing his brother in law, wife, and children if they are seen as a threat   Herod worked hard to keep the support of the Roman empire and took on many building projects including expansion of the temple.

I found this story very engaging.  The characters are interesting, the setting - especially the time period - was fascinating.  Salome as a character brought humanity to the character of Herod.  She also showed how much influence women had in their households.  The character of Salome experienced a lot of growth as the story progressed.  At first she would do anything for Herod, and by the end she desired to be honest most of all.

Zara added a lot of colour to the story.  Through her character we could see different aspects of Herod's court.  How life was like for a Jewish woman.  When Zara married, we got to witness her desire for a baby  and how the years past without one .  

I really enjoyed this book and loved the ending.  I hope you take the time to read this book as well.
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As you can tell by all of my Bible reviews, reading the Bible is definitely a passion of mine. I truly love God's word and find it fascinating. I am also drawn to Biblical fiction because it brings the stories to life in my mind even more. The King's Shadow, by Angela Hunt, is a fictional account of King Herod the Great and his sister, Salome.

Before I get any further, can I just say that Herod "the Great" was a pretty disgusting man? He had the love of his life, his wife Mariamne, and her sons, executed. He may have played a role in the "accidental" death of Mariamne's brother, and he had various others killed in his struggle for power and due to his own paranoia, including all of the babies under the age of two in Bethlehem because he had heard that the Messiah was that age (Jesus). What a guy!

The King's Shadow tells the story of Herod's reign, through the eyes of his sister. She loves Herod, but by the end of the book, even she is realizing how crazy Herod has become. The story was told from Salome's viewpoint, and from the viewpoint of her slave, Zara (a fictional character). I enjoyed Zara's story, and watching her grow from a shy nine year old girl into a woman of God who married a Torah teacher. Reading from Salome's viewpoint, and seeing firsthand how Herod's family destroyed itself from the inside out was like a train wreck that I couldn't look away from. What a soap opera! It was hard to put this book down, and I finished it in two days. The ending had me cheering for Zara and for Jesus, that they and their families escaped the clutches of that mad man!

If you are interested in Biblical fiction and history, this is a book that you will want to check out! It definitely made me appreciate living in a democracy!
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Interesting Biblical fiction detailing the lives of two women trying to stay alive in the time of King Herod.  Very accurate, Biblically - as much as possible.
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King' s Shadow tells a bit of history I knew nothing about. It was obviously well researched and is well written. I did get confused at times with the characters and situations, but I think it's because I have no reference point. I enjoyed this story and learned a lot about Herod's Court and the people who occupied it. Really fascinating historical fiction. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Author Angela Hunt's King's Shadow is a chatty book that tells about all the doings of King Herod's court. Different characters off their view of Herod's court and his interactions with Roman figures such as Marc Antony or Octavian. Tossed into the mix of the story is how Cleopatra's love affair with Marc Antony affects Herod's court. Overall, Hunt's book is a well-written one and while fictional her book does give insight into what might of happened during the time of Herod. 

The only drawback of her book is her characterization could have been a bit better. I had some difficulty tracking what character was telling their part of their story in her book.


Review written after downloading a galley from NetGalley
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KING'S SHADOW by ANGELA HUNT is a well researched historical novel which deals with the life of Herod up until the birth of Christ, and Herod's death, as told by his sister Salome.
I find it most interesting that the author has shown the strong family ties between Herod, Salome, and their mother, and Herod's humanity through the eyes of his sister, who devoted her life to him. It is sad to think of a king who wanted to be loved by his subjects so badly, and who was so afraid of losing his throne that he had his beloved wife, Mariamne, and his three oldest sons executed for treason.
I like the story of Zara, Salome's handmaid, who was loyal to her mistress, and who was cared for by her in return. I like Zara's hunger for the truth of God's word and her growing relationship with Hashem.
I will not tell you any more, as I do not want to spoil the read for you, but I cannot recommend the book highly enough for anyone who enjoys biblical history.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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This is the story of King Herod’s reign in Judea as told by his sister Salome and Salome’s servant  Zara.   Angela Hunt brings the story to life with details and history that we might not be aware of.  We can find out a lot about Herod in the Bible, but all the little cultural details flesh out the story into something quite wonderful.  We meet other famous characters like Octavius and Mark Antony and Cleopatra.  I had a better understanding of the time leading up to Jesus birth after reading this book.  From the time Moses led the children of Israel into the Promised Land until the birth of  Jesus, a lot of infighting and just unbelief and disobedience on the part of the 12 tribes led to some nasty situations and political intrigue was rampant (much like today).  If you want to know more about King Herod, this would be an excellent book to read to find out.  I highly recommend it.  

I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was so fascinating. It takes place in the tome between the end of The Old Testament, and when Jesus was born. This time was never written about in the Bible so I was intrigued by what transpired. I loved getting to know more about Herod, since he was key in Jesus's upbringing and that part if the Bible. 
This book was well written, researched, and organized. It was laid out well so I never got confused when it switched perspectives. It was always at the beginning of a chapter and was labeled. 
This is the last book in this series and though I didn't feel like I missed a lot by reading this as stand alone, I do wish I had read the previous books first. They were referenced and I got a bit confused. It wasn't a huge deal, but would have made this more enjoyable. 
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Biblical Fiction.
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4.5 stars for this biblical historical fiction novel. This is the last book in the "silent years" series, which details the 400 years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. While this one can be read as a stand-alone and the story enjoyed, I think it's best to read the other books first as some of the events referred to in this novel are fleshed out in the previous novels. If I opt to re-read this one, I will read the others in advance in close succession. As I've read this series as it's come out, I was struggling to remember details of the events and people in the prior books and so some of the scenes felt a bit more tedious to me. If you do opt to read the prior books first, I would recommend them read in chronological order rather than series order - starting with Judah's Wife (book 2), then Jerusalem's Queen (book 3) and finally Egypt's Sister (book 1). Cleopatra plays a role in this book, so reading her story right before would be most helpful.

This book is in first person perspective, switching points of view between Salome (Herod's sister) and Zara, a young Jewish girl who becomes Salome's handmaid. The changes in perspective are not at all confusing as both characters have a very different voice. Also, they are named at the beginning of each chapter (and never change within the chapter), so as long as you pay attention to the chapter headers, that helps as well. This book details the story of Herod's reign and the time leading up to the birth of Christ. Since the Bible doesn't speak to that time period, I've not really read anything about this period or about Herod in general, so it was fascinating to see what made him tick and why he responded to the wise men's tale of a baby king so harshly.

All in all, this was a fantastic historical fiction piece. I would strongly recommend to lovers of Biblical Historical as well as anyone who wanted to know more about that time in Judean history. Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for an advanced e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to write a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.
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