cover image To Dwell Among Cedars

To Dwell Among Cedars

Connilyn Cossette. Bethany House, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-7642-3434-7

Cossette (Until the Mountains Fall) introduces siblings caught up within early biblical conquests in the excellent launch of her Covenant House series. Arisa and Lukio, Philistine siblings whose mother died giving birth to Lukio, are left by their grieving father with an indifferent aunt and uncle, who put Azuvah, a Hebrew slave, in charge of their upbringing. Seven years after the Philistines defeat Israel in battle and take the Ark of the Covenant, a plague befalls the region, and Arisa and Lukio find themselves reliant on a dangerous, narcissistic cousin, who is the only remaining member of their family. Enabled by Azuvah, the pair escape the cousin’s home and, as directed by Azuvah, follow the Ark as the Philistines return it to Hebrew control, who they believe God meant the Ark for. An eight-year time jump reveals the siblings have been adopted by a Levite and have changed their names to Eliora and Natan: Eliora embraces the Hebrew culture, while Natan struggles with his outsider status. After Ronen, who as a child before the Ark was originally taken knew Eliora and Natan, resurfaces, he and Eliora have an immediate romantic connection, but struggle with issues of trust, acceptance, and faith as factions spar over the fate of the sacred Ark. Despite a predictable outcome, Cossette’s propulsive biblical drama has moments of high suspense and intrigue. Fans of Tess Ashfar should take a look. Agent: Tamela Hancock Murray, Steve Laube Agency. (Dec.)