Tamar

Ann Chamberlin, Author
Ann Chamberlin, Author Forge $23.95 (463p) ISBN 978-0-312-85649-6
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 448 pages - 978-0-8125-2370-6
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Biblical history is brought vividly to life in Chamberlin's second novel (after The Virgin and the Tower ), a story of King David's court told from a woman's point of view. Tamar comes to Jerusalem as a child when her mother, Maacah, marries David. Maacah was a high priestess of the Great Goddess in the kingdom of Geshur, and Tamar, who possesses prophetic powers, was to be her successor; now they find themselves among people who worship one God and forbid the rituals of their old faith. Tamar continues to practice the rites demanded of her by the Goddess, whose loving and generous spirit is a far cry from the masculine and avenging God of Jerusalem. She also writes beautiful hymns of praise that Chamberlin suggests may well be the psalms now attributed to David. Maacah gives birth to Absalom, whom Tamar foresees will pose a threat to David's kingdom, but his parents adore the boy, and his half-sister can do nothing to prevent the tragedies she knows will befall them. Chamberlin's alternate version of the familiar Old Testament tale is thought-provoking and engrossing. The characters--historical and fictional alike--are believable, as are descriptions of everyday life in biblical times. (Mar.)
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