[Book Review] Masada: Thou Shalt Not Kill by Shimon Avish

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By Shimon Avish

Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous second Temple period, we meet Daniel. At the age of 18, Daniel is abducted by Sicarii assassins. Determined to survive, Daniel finds himself forced to abandon Jewish law and to follow the ways of his captors. Daniel finds himself encountering choice after choice, shaping him as a person and determining his destiny.

This novel is very well researched, creating an interesting narrative around a tragic period in Jewish history. I found the tie-in of the subtitle, Thou Shalt Not Kill, very interesting as the key protagonists struggle with choices between following the laws of the Jewish faith and doing what is necessary to survive. The author brings to life a very vivid depiction of the Jewish law Pikuach Nefesh – translated as ‘watching over a soul’; the law that states that preserving life supersedes practically all other laws.

Avish presents an action-packed narrative. I found this story unique as so much of the historical fiction I’ve encountered from this time period is told from a female protagonist’s perspective. This book has a different appeal given the military focus told from a male perspective. I enjoyed the contrasting point of view in this book.

I’d like to thank the author for a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Shimon Avish

SHIMON AVISH writes about significant events in ancient Jewish history. His work draws on his adventures in soldiering, farming, product design, cabinet making, political science, international business consulting, and living in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. He completed his doctoral degree in political science at Columbia University in the City of New York and was a Fulbright-Hays Fellow.

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