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Reviewed by Bruce Cook for Readers' Favorite
In his historical novel, As a Lily Among Thorns, Rudy Martinka has accomplished a milestone in documenting the life of King Solomon. His novel is unique in its historical and archaeological accuracy, its clear chronology of events, and its variety of perspectives on events during these historical times. I commend Rudy Martinka for telling his story through a first person account by King Solomon. Too often the third person approach to history makes for difficult reading. Martinka’s approach makes the story come alive.
He uses italicized passages in which characters relate historical and philosophical information that would be far more difficult to read if presented in standard format. Throughout this book, the author provides an impeccable description of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba during a visit the queen made to his palace. The text is replete with conversations between them in which she questions him regarding his background, riddles, and philosophy. These dialogues are invaluable in helping the reader understand the history and beliefs of the times.
The story becomes intensely personal and dramatic as a love relationship between Solomon and Bilqis continues. The juxtaposition of events in the story offers a clear account of what happened and when in a way that other historical accounts could not do. Many know something about King Solomon, the queen of Sheba, their son Menelik, David and Goliath, the Ark of the Covenant, or Solomon’s wise decision between two harlots who came to his court, both claiming to be mother of a child. But few have an idea of these stories in relationship to each other in time and place. This brings the story together in a way that the best novels do with their situations and characters.
A preface and epilogue give evidence of the careful scholarship the author devoted to the writing of this book. Here the scholarly and archaeological research that underpins the story is clearly explained. This book is a powerful statement and should be read by anyone interested in learning about the Old Testament and King Solomon.