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I can't be with those who throw stones at women and children.It's beyond me.Beyond my love for Ezra.Beyond my respect for God.
In 397 BC, in Susa, the opulent capital of the Persian empire, where the Jews are living in exile, young Lilah is destined for a happy life: she is due to marry Antinoes, a great Persian warrior well known at the king's court.But her beloved brother Ezra, with whom she has been close since childhood, is opposed to this marriage with a foreigner.If Lilah insists, she will have to renounce Ezra, and that is something she cannot do, for she senses that he has been chosen by God to lead the exiled Jews to Jerusalem and, after centuries of displacement, revive the laws of Moses: laws which promote justice and give human life a meaning.
Abandoning the promise of a golden future, Lilah urges her brother to leave for Jerusalem and gives him new hope that a return to the Promised Land is possible. But Ezra, blinded by faith, orders the rejection of all foreign wives. At the risk of losing the one person she still has left in her life, Lilah opposes her brother's fanaticism, thereby ensuring the survival of the women and children condemned to leave the city. But her opposition comes at great personal cost . . .
Lilah concludes Marek Halter's trilogy about Biblical heroines. Sarah, Abraham's barren wife, brought her personal destiny to bear in the creation of a new religion. Zipporah, Moses wife, fought against racism and exclusion. By speaking out against religious extremism, of which women are the first victims, Lilah proves herself a champion of freedom.
In his final installment of the Canaan Trilogy (Sarah; Zipporah), Halter ambitiously tackles portions of the complicated biblical book of Ezra, which centers on the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple and calls Israel to ethnic and religious purity. In the Persian town of Susa, the beautiful Lilah dreams of marrying her Persian lover and childhood sweetheart, Antinoes. However, her beloved brother Ezra, who has immersed himself in studying the laws of God, refuses to approve of their union since Antinoes is not a Jew. As the story unfolds, with scenes full of rich detail, Lilah becomes the unlikely instrument of gaining royal approval for the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the holy city. However, once there, Ezra orders all non-Jewish wives and children driven away in what is surely one of the most heart-wrenching episodes directly from scripture. A horrified Lilah repudiates her brother and leaves with them. As the cast-off women wander unprotected outside the city, rape, murder and mayhem ensue. (It's confusing that Lilah narrates one violent scene, but readers are unsure how she survives it.) As in Sarah and Zipporah, there is plenty of highly charged sexuality and some imaginative storytelling. Unfortunately, as with its predecessors, the story trails off, and the ending is unsatisfactory.