Fireside Fridays ~ Hittite Warrior

{Note: Yes, I know I promised to reveal my favorite female characters, but there was some other things I wanted to do first.  I just read this book that I had to share with you right away, and next week I’m doing a Valentines-themed special.  After that, though, I’ll give you the promised post.  In the meantime, you can speculate who my favorites will be in the comments.} 

hittite

Title: Hittite Warrior

Author: Joanne Williamson

Genre: Historical fiction

Age level: upper elementary school

I’ve read multiple quotes that all say the same thing: If you want to truly influence a reader, use a story.  Telling them straight out, “Believe this!” won’t work as well, and neither will time lines, facts, and data sheets.  For some reason, it’s stories that stick around the longest and penetrate the deepest.  It’s stories that incarnate truths and bring history to life. Joanne Williamson’s Hittite Warrior is proof of this.

I picked it up because I didn’t have any fun books to read at the time. Many people had recommend it to me, and I figured it would be nice to take a break from longer, more intense books.  I expected it to whiz by, and it did, but not because it was written for children.  I couldn’t put it down because it was simply captivating.

Uriah the Hittite watches as his home is burnt by the invading sea-people—the Greeks.  He witnesses his father finally stand up to their invaders and be killed by their hands.  As he dies, he begs Uriah to promise to find his friend in Canaan: Sisera.  Uriah sets out the next day to fulfill his vow to his father, but he gets sidetracked in Tyre, where he meets a strange man, Jotham the Hebrew, and learns of a strange custom: child sacrifice to the god Molech.  A few weeks later, he and Jotham are fleeing to Canaan with a small child, with the wrath of  Molech threatening them from behind and the tension between the Hebrews and Canaanites looming over them in front.  Uriah does eventually find Sisera, though not in the way he suspects, and not before he meets two people that  challenge all he’s believed: the seeress Deborah and the warrior Barak.

One of the first things I noticed about the book was how it kept up the suspense.  I confess I had a rather superior attitude toward it at the beginning—it’s a kid’s book about Bible times, how can it be that interesting?  I ended up staying up late to finish it.  A significant part of the suspense was the chapter endings.  Some would end in the middle of tense action, others finished with Uriah’s inner turmoil, and some concluded with an ominous foreshadowing that all but forced me to turn the page.

Another one of the book’s highlights was the characters.  I was impressed at how each character was so different and distinct, especially when many of them only appeared for a few chapters.  Part of the reason for this was how Williamson used differing cultures and religions to make each person stand out.  Lady Meri, the Egyptian who longed for the return of the true Pharaohs, Samuel, the Hebrew who was fiercely protective of his people and suspicious of outsiders, Haruwandulis, another Hittite who was deeply superstitious and devoted to his gods.  By weaving each of these nations into the story through the characters, Williamson imprinted defining characteristics of each culture into my mind forever.

The plot, too, is masterful.  I loved how it was moved along both by Uriah’s actions (he decided to go fulfill his vow to his father) but also by the cultures around him and circumstances he couldn’t control.  I was amazed at how Williamson was able to use the various tensions between nationalities to complete and even broaden Uriah’s quest.  At first, I wondered how he was ever going to find Sisera, since he kept getting stopped, first in Tyre, then with the Hebrews.  Then I realized that his meeting Sisera would have been impossible, were it not for the events that happened during those delays.  Furthermore, those hinderances revealed the wider problem—Uriah’s quest for truth and faith.

If you are looking for a quick yet intriguing read—if you want to learn more about ancient civilizations without reading a textbook or listening to a lecture—if you want to simply enjoy good storytelling and be edified through words—read this book.  It’ll be worth it.

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4 thoughts on “Fireside Fridays ~ Hittite Warrior

    1. Huh, and then WordPress said you started following me—which you were obviously doing before now. *rolls eyes at WordPress*
      Anywho, thank you! Haha, I have one of those lists too. If you read it, tell me what you think. =P

      Like

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