||Tom Howard Books
||June 22, 2006
A novel, based on chapters 11 and 12 of the Bible's Third Book of Kings, detailing the adventures of Jeroboam, the first king of Israel, during his exile in Ancient Egypt.
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John Howard Reid
IN ALL HIS GLORY
This novel was one of those chosen in a world-wide contest to select six unpublished works of fiction to launch a new publishing company. As the contest was free for everyone to enter, it attracted over 3,000 manuscripts from all over the world. Unfortunately, after the six winners were announced, and all the work of proof-reading and correcting finalized, the firm decided not to enter the publishing field after all, but to stay within its long-established sector of the retail book market.
So what we have here is not your usual self-published book with all its typical lack of expertise in most areas such as writing, type-setting, design, lay-out, cover art, etc., but a manuscript that went through all the professional stages of a one-in-500 selection process, meticulous editing, extensive re-writing and exhaustive proof-reading--in fact all the stages of a professional book publisher bar actual publication.
I don't like to sing my own praises, so instead I'll quote the publisher's professional proof-reader from whom I collected the novel for the FOURTH time. I said to her on this occasion, "I guess you're heartily sick of IN ALL HIS GLORY right now."
"I'll tell you something, John," she replied. "IN ALL HIS GLORY is the most exciting novel I've ever read and I never get tired of reading it and re-reading it. Every time is just as thrilling and exciting as the first."
"I take it you're fascinated by Ancient Egypt then?"
"I tell you, John, that normally I'm not interested in Ancient Egpt at all. I don't like historical novels because I can't get into them. They don't relate to me in any way. But with your book, IN ALL HIS GLORY, the characters are so real. They live and breathe. And you become so involved, you just can't wait to turn the page."
There is a lot of prejudice against the Israelites in Egypt, but you learn to live with it.
Even when you don Egyptian clothes to go into the marketplace, people still point their fingers at you and jeer at your accent when you try to speak some of the words you've mastered during your year's stay in Thebes.
Sometimes you feel so dispirited and homesick that you stay in your room for weeks at a time. You keep your back to the window to blot out the sight of the brown River Nile and the thin strip of green on each side of its muddy course. You put your fingers in your ears to smother the sound of the guttural shouts of the oarsmen on the prows and the jangling singsong chants of the slaves on the king's galleys. You stop up your nose to blot out the smell of burning charcoal and fried frogs' legs and cockroaches sizzling in rancid oil. You long for the sight of a tree and you miss the chirrup of the sparrows and the call of the hoopoe and the sigh-sigh of the turtledove.
You are a stranger in a strange land, an alien whose dreams are the not the dreams of the people around you -- whether they be the richly clothed servants of Pharaoh; or the loin-clothed tillers along the strips of mud-caked fields; or the sinewy oarsmen at the helms of their boats; or the be-turbaned, striped-gowned traders in oils and spices; or the white-robed bakers of small-loafed crusty breads and fingered date cakes; or the sellers of rose-flavored, sweet-tasting water -- peddlers in short brown tunics with their trumpets slung over their shoulders. You have nothing in common with any of them or their customers. Their hopes are not your hopes, their dreams are not your dreams, their pleasures are not your pleasures, their land is not your land. Only in their sighs and in their sorrows is there a point where their lives touch yours, is there a thread along which a mutual sympathy can grow and flow and be nurtured for a minute, for a second until the thread is cut and all of us retreat into our own shells of existence.
"I am looking for a slave," I declared.
"Not a runaway slave, I hope."
"I want to buy a slave."
"I have just the one for you, good master... She would warm your bed of a cold night and winnow your ears with the sighs of summer love!"
"No! I would buy a man."
"Ah! I have here such a man, a scholar, learned in six languages. He would tutor your children."
"I have no children."
"Well, I have a man who is used to the field and the plow and knows the seeds of a hundred herbs."
"I want a strong man. Have you no man who is used to the sword in his hand?"
"I do, my lord. But he is not for you. He is a dangerous man."
"I shall buy him."
The Catholic Weekly, July 8
INTRIGUE AND MURDER
"In All His Glory" is set in Ancient Egypt during the reign of the usurper, Pharaoh Shishak. It tells of the stormy relationship that ex-Governor Jeroboam of Israel had with the pharaoh and his daughter when he was living in Egypt as a refugee.
Prolific murder mystery writer, John Howard Reid, presents his readers with a plot involving intrigue, murder, suspicion, temple ceremonies, riots by striking workers. grave robbery and entombment.
Marti Melville writes:
Lifted from the ancient pages of The Book of Kings, the story of Jeroboam as he dwells in ancient Egypt is brought to life in John Howard Reid’s novel, "IN ALL HIS GLORY."
With splendid detail, the reader is transported back to the days of the Pharaohs and submerged into the ordeal of life as a Jew in hostile desert lands, an outcast from his own country, struggling to survive amongst Egyptian royalty. John Howard Reid has obviously done his homework as is evidence by the detailed description of ancient Egyptian culture, biblical tradition and the interaction of both cultures centuries before Christianity’s birth as a religious movement.
The story is compelling and moves the reader along at a steady pace, urging one to read to the end. As is typical for John Howard Reid, the story delivers an unexpected twist within the final pages. Pondering the contents of the epilogue allowed me to pleasantly imagine the probability of Reid’s story just told. Details are full and vibrant in pieces. For brief moments, the reader rides a roller-coaster of rich information which then dips to deliver scant data before turning to a new subject, leaving one to wonder “what just happened”. Opportunity to paint an unseen image of architecture, mannerism or culture are lost as the author seems to rush on to the next event, occasionally leaving the impression that the plot has been replaced by a series of scenes. Just as frustration builds due to unquenched thirst for detail, the description lifts once again carrying the reader on to view a new picture painted of life amongst the pyramids.
The main character, Jeroboam, dances between dialogue spoken from ancient tongue and modern-day figures of speech distracting the reader from the experience intended by the story. Use of occasional vocabulary pulled from the author’s probable reference to a thesaurus also causes a shift in the flow of the story. However, these minor deterrents do not detract enough to cause loss of interest in “what happens next” in the readers mind.
I recommend In All His Glory to anyone looking for an enjoyable hypothetical historical fiction. The novel is an easy read, provides gentle entertainment and a quick escape. Recommended for all ages Young Adult and older.
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Reader Reviews for "In All His Glory"
|Reviewed by Branch Isole
|"In All His Glory" by John Howard Reid brings to life two prominent historical figures in this understated biblical background era story, unique in its blend of antiquity, murder and suspense.
Set in the cities of Thebes and Necropolis this fast paced tale employs a linguistic presentation as if the reader were overhearing words spoken at the temples of Karnak and those in the Valley of the Kings in glorious Egypt 3000 years past.
The fragility swirling around royal court life is punctuated by intrigue of cross and double-cross between characters, in a time and place where the afterlife was a powerful lure in the psyche and lives of people.
One feels the blowing dust and grit experienced by the protagonist Jeroboam, as he contends with desert sands and heat, the lush beauty of the Nile River and conspiracy, at every temple corridor turn.