Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tracy Higley's Garden of Madness ~ Reviewed

By Tracy L. Higley
Published by: Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN# 978-1401686802
400 Pages

Back Cover: The untold story of King Nebuchadnezzar's daughter
For seven years the Babylonian princess Tiamat has waited for the mad king Nebuchadnezzar to return to his family and to his kingdom. Driven from his throne to live as a beast, he prowls his luxurious Hanging Gardens, secreted away from the world.
Since her treaty marriage at a young age, Tia has lived an opulent yet oppressive life in the palace. But her husband has since died and she relishes her newfound independence. When a nobleman is found murdered in the palace, Tia must discover who is responsible for the macabre death, even if her own freedom is threatened.
As the queen plans to wed Tia to yet another prince, the powerful mage Shadir plots to expose the family's secret and set his own man on the throne. Tia enlists the help of a reluctant Jewish captive, her late husband's brother Pedaiah, who challenges her notions of the gods even as he opens her heart to both truth and love.
In a time when few gave their hearts to Yahweh, Tia must decide if she is willing to risk everything-her possessions, her gods, and her very life-for the Israelites' one God. Madness, sorcery, and sinister plots mingle like an alchemist's deadly potion as Tia chooses whether to risk all to save the kingdom-and her family.
Review: After reading this author’s last book Pompii, I anxiously awaited her new book, Garden of Madness and was thrilled to receive a review copy of it. Tracy takes a look at Nebuchadnezzar in the mad years and various take over plots woven into the story along with some unexplained murders.

I recommend reading the author notes BEFORE you start reading the book. It was good to know what was real and what wasn’t. It was interesting to read about the mystery of the hanging Garden where the king spent most of his time in her book. The reader also gets a glimpse into the author’s passion for history in the notes and what she hoped to accomplish in the novel.

Tracy says, “All of this is fascinating to those of us who enjoy history, and who love the tales found in the book of Daniel. But we love them for a reason. There is more at work here than scheming politicians and even more than dreams and visions and miracles. There is truth for our own lives, as we line up our own personal stories with the One True Story. We have been accustomed to seeing Babylon as evil, and certainly it was filled with darkness. But we must remember that for most of us, we are Tiamat – children of chaos who have been welcomed and grafted into God’s family, out of the darkness. Even before Jesus walked the earth, God was calling all nations to himself, using Israel as a blessing to those nations.”

Here’s one of the things the author hopes you catch…”The themes of pride and divine sovereignty are weighty within the book of Daniel, and I attempted to examine them within this novel, from the perspective of the Jewish Pesdaiah as well as the pagan Tiamat. While God allows free will and the consequences that follow, His sovereignty is total and ultimate, and as such it often takes us places we do not want to go and perhaps do not understand. We can spend our lives railing against His sovereignty, running from it. Denying it exists, or pride fully trying to control it, but in the end of the only path to true joy is to embrace it….”

This author captures the reader’s attention from the start. Crazy things happen as people plot, manipulate and try to force their way into a powerful position and seek control of the kingdom. Murder, betrayal, secrets and rumors. What’s real and who does Tiamet trust while her father is mentally unstable to communicate or receive her love and protection. This is a book that will cause you to seek out scripture to get more insight into this king’s life.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

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