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God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah (Living History Library) Paperback – January 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Living History Library
  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Bethlehem Books (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883937736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883937737
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JOANNE S. WILLIAMSON was born in 1926, in Arlington, Massachusetts. Though she had interests in both writing and music, and attended Barnard College and Diller Quaile School of Music, it was writing which became the primary focus for her car¬eer after college. She was a feature writer for Con¬necticut newspapers until 1965, when she moved to Kennebunkport, Maine and began to write historical fiction for young people.
In each of Miss Williamson's novels, now totaling eight with God King, she explores unusual historical slants of well-known events. In her first book, Jacobins Daughter, she tells a true story of the French Revolution; in The Eagles Have Flown, she presents a picture of Julius Caesar's time and gives a sympa¬thetic portrayal of Brutus. She has a remarkable knack for using her fictional characters and plot to make connections between real historical persons and events. In a time when history is often taught in bits and pieces these connections are a great help, not only to the younger reader, but to the older one as well. Her third book, Hittite Warrior, has been well received in its recent reprinting for just this facility in showing the inter-relatedness of the ancient Hittite, Hebrew, Canaanite and Greek peoples in the 12th century before Christ. In God King, written some years ago, but now published for the first time, similar fascinat¬ing connections are made for a later period in Israel's history.
Before God King (and the reprinting of Hittite Warrior), Joanne Williamson's last book to be pub¬lished had been To Dream Upon a Crown in 1967. The issue of this retelling of Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy coincided with the unfortunate decline in America of interest in intelligent historical fiction for young people. At that time, she returned to her second calling and taught music until her retirement in 1990. Now interest has been rekindled in her books and in those of other writers of historical fiction. This renewal should be a great source of sat¬isfaction to the many readers, young and old, who are discovering again the fasci¬nation of man's story throughout the ages.
Joanne Williamson died July 5, 2002.

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Customer Reviews

We were sad when it ended!
Elizabeth
Overall, this book is a good read for young folks (say, 10 and up) and adults as well.
Florentius
I love Joanne Williamson's books.
onebighappyfamily

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Florentius VINE VOICE on October 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
"God King" is a very enjoyable and readable historical fiction account of the early reign of Taharka, Pharaoh of Egypt whose dynasty originated in the kingdom of Kush in present-day Sudan. Young Tarharka is one of the many sons of Shabaka, God King of Egypt. He is neither the eldest nor the most accomplished, but the succession falls to him nonetheless. However, there are schemers in Egypt keen to take advantage of a young king's inexperience. Worse, the mighty Assyrian Sennacherib is gathering his power to the north. Only the Hebrew king Hezekiah holds out against the Assyrians.

In Taharka, the unwilling Pharaoh, Joanne Williamson has created a very sympathetic character. He is naive and trusting at first, yet learns to be strong, resourceful, and merciful. The melding of the scant historical record of the time with the Biblical account of King Hezekiah is skillfully done and the reader truly does get a feel for the time and place.

Overall, this book is a good read for young folks (say, 10 and up) and adults as well. I particularly liked the fact that the book was set in a historical period that is not well studied by your typical 12 year old. Hopefully, it will spur some interest in ancient history among the young. The book is also notable because though Taharka is Black, race never becomes an issue as it often so tediously does in more contemporary fiction for young people. For this reason, I almost hesitate to bring up the subject at all. Let it suffice to say that if more fiction were written from this perspective--where a Black main character is portrayed positively and the other characters are good or evil not based on their race but on their actions--race relations in the real world might actually improve.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Emily Stuver on August 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
God King is a wonderfully exciting and educational book. I and both my two children (a boy,12 and a girl, 10) enjoyed the plot-line. We have enjoyed several of Joanne Williamson's novels and have never been disappointed. Sometimes the history of the Old Testament can get a little dry, but Williamson really brought it to life. My children and I came away with a better context and knowledge of the times of Hezekiah and the culture of the Israelites.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a very good book. It is informative and realistic. It starts out with a young, lesser prince of Kush named Taharka. Then in a dramatic turn of events he was made the King of Egypt - and a god. But his scheming brother, Shabataka, suddenly takes over the kingdom; and Taharka flees to Canaan. There he meets King Hezakiah who is hopelessly fighting Sennecharib and his vast host.

It is sometimes a bit rough, though. The ending, however, is unexpected and surprising. Taharka's mercy, and Sennacharib's might against Hezekiah's God add up to a powerful children's story, and an interesting young adult story.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This was a cool book. It is about an Egyptian prince who was'nt as special as the other princes. But then he becomes a Pharoh and a so called god. But then his brother take's over the kingdom. Then Taharka left for Canaan with his friend Amos. This was no vacation. Because if they were caught they would be killed. He also meets up with two kings, the first king is Sennacherib of Assyria, and the second one is Hezekiah the king of the Jews. He has to chose which of them to join. Later he joins the Jews and King Hezekiah. It was a great story that will thrill you from beginning to end.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on May 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My kids--ages 8 and 6--listened with rapt attention and begged for more. The story was not just fun but helped draw a picture in my children's minds of what life was like at the time and placed other historical facts in context. We were sad when it ended! Though the book is probably written for older readers (10 and up), I recommend it as a read-aloud for children as young as early elementary, if they are able to listen attentively to a long story line. We had a great experience with this and other historical fiction by Joanne Williamson.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W Burroughs on July 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent resource for learning ancient history of Egypt, Israel and Assyria in the Old Testament context. My children of primary school age enjoyed this as a read-aloud.
Would be improved with a pronunciation guide.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Coming-of-age, coming-to-kingship, and a cast of African, Egyptian, Israeli, Corinthian, and Assyrian characters. Historical novel set in the time of Sennacherib's seige of Jerusalem.

Some scary stuff in the war -- they watch the fall of a beseiged city and the mayhem afterward, the impalement of the warriors (not gory at all, Moms), and the terrified captives being led away.

This book has a black Nubian king-Pharoah for a main hero -- plus, he's the child of a slave girl. It's great. My kids are pretty sheltered, but I have no qualms about reading this to them.

(Author's notes give the scripture references in II Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah for further reading.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Dunn TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 2, 2014
Format: Paperback
God King is written by Joanne Williamson and is the second book I have read from Bethlehem Books. The first one I read was Hittite Warrior by the same author. Like Hittite Warrior, God King is part of their Living History Library series. This book, however takes place in the year 701 B.C. during the twenty-fifth dynasty in Egypt, also known as the Kushite dynasty. For perspective on this time in history, Sennacherib was king of Assyria and Hezekiah was king of Judah during this time.

The story begins with peril and excitement. A young boy, Taharka, is on a crocodile hunt with his uncle Embutah and some slaves. Suddenly, a crocodile attacks and severely injures one of the slaves. Using his quick thinking and medical skills he has studied, Taharka is able to save the man. Normally, this kind of heroism would be applauded. However, Taharka is no ordinary boy. He is the son of the pharaoh, who is considered a god in Egypt. Touching a slave was a tabu and made young Taharka unclean. Even though he was one of many children of the pharaoh, and not even a particularly important child, he still knew he would be punished...little did he know what his punishment would be.

Taharka's "punishment" came swiftly. The pharaoh was dying, but before he died an ancient ritual must be performed to choose his successor. Everyone, Taharka included, thought it would be the older boy, Shabataka. Shabataka was groomed nearly his whole life to become the next pharaoh. In a cruel twist of fate, Taharka was "chosen," and his "punishment" was that he must become the new pharaoh. To him this felt like being forced to live in a cage, a prison sentence if you will. With his uncle Embutah and brother Shabataka as his guides, years pass and Taharka begins to get used to being pharaoh.
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