The Bible, a critically acclaimed book that is well-known throughout the world, actually makes good literature, especially for adults. You've got political intrigue, adultery, drama, love and a whole plethora of themes in just some 1,500 pages (average estimate). However, besides the well-known stories of its take on the creation & the end of the world and of a demi-god who walked the earth, this book has a number of characters that are rarely mentioned in the homilies of priests on Sundays.
Take, for example, Ehud.
Judges 3:15 (from Holy Bible: New International Version)
"Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite."
The story of Ehud, the hero of this short story's work, is condensed in 19 short verses in the Bible. It tells of his purpose, his actions, and how he carried on his task as “deliverer”. His story there is given as is – straightforward and simple. This book gives breath and form to this left-handed unsung hero.
I love how the first-person viewpoint of this story gives us so much more to work on than his 19-verses-of-fame. Through Ehud’s eyes we see not only his thoughts on his supposed role, but also his everyday life, his people, his land. He finds a tiny clover amongst the weeds. He feels awkward in his dignitary clothing. He is humbled by the touch of a man with the markings of the Men of Valor. These little things bring life to a faceless, unknown character, whose existence might have just been very important in the history of the Israelites as Jacob and David were.
The storytelling is spot on, although I felt overwhelmed by a number of seemingly unnecessary details here and there. (In particular, I’m talking about the scene with the Iron Forger. Although I had to admit that such details, such as that of the sycamore apple, did very much help in bringing a scene forward.) However, the pacing is balanced, driving us on with an upbeat take of a thrilling action scene, while quietly, furiously taking us through an unnecessary long talk with a foolish leader.
There is not much to say about a short story such as this, but I AM very interested in the book this story is allegedly to be a part of. The concept is definitely interesting, and well-executed. It’s a great read, while not exactly religious in nature.
(Outtake: After reading Ehud’s story as noted in the Bible, another faceless hero is mentioned. “After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.” That is all that Judges 3:31 has to say about him.)
An Assassin's Tale by Reev Robledo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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