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Rain cover art

Rain

By: Dana McNeely
Narrated by: Joseph Robert Courtemanche
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Summary

He is destined to be high priest—but at what cost to those he loves?

In ancient Samaria, Aban anticipates his rites of passage with excitement and dread. He yearns to join the priesthood of Ba’al Melqart, unlock the power of the rain god, and hear the deity’s voice. He’s been warned the licentious ceremony can take a dangerous turn, but as eldest son of the high priestess, he holds a privileged position. If he can make it through the ceremony, one day he’ll rise to high priest.

On the eve of the rituals, Aban’s mother confesses a dark secret about the bloody sacrifice demanded by Melqart. Aban may have escaped the flames, but if he is to save his brother, Aban must take his destined position of power as soon as possible.

When the mysterious prophet Elijah interrupts the rites, overturns the idol, and curses the land with drought, Aban’s world is shaken. The current high priest and the king appear powerless, but even more confusing is the fact that the rain god does nothing.

Against his better judgment, Aban conceals the strange prophet’s whereabouts, forfeiting the high priesthood. Now an enemy of the relentless Queen Jezebel, Aban has little time to question his fading commitment to Ba’al Melqart as he and his loved ones flee. But the conflict in Samaria is much larger than just a high priestess and her sons. Soon, Aban will have to choose a side in Yahweh’s war against the Ba’als—and it may cost him his life.

©2021 Dana McNeely (P)2023 Mountain Brook Ink

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The depth of detail around Bible account

Fascinating to think more deeply about the way of life in the times of Elijah in Samaria. How the people lived. The terror of offending the Queen. Lovely weaving of personal story of one boy and his growing up with the tempestuous journey of the prophet. Lots of memorable characters. A good read for getting a feel for life in those times, what they ate, how they travelled, how they lived. How fragile life was. I will not forget the terror and awfulness of the sacrifices. Interesting to learn of tricks used by Ba’al priests.
A boy pledged to Ba’al god discovers the true God for himself. I did find the American accent of the reader difficult to follow at times and misheard many words. It is difficult to give different voices to such a range of characters and it did not always work. Others may not agree.
A very eventful and engaging book.

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Great book!

Great book for those who love Biblical fiction! I enjoyed the way the author took both well known and obscure Bible characters (and even the ravens!) and explored how they might have interacted and experienced the events of the time! The book is clean, but I would recommend listening with headphones if you have small children nearby because the book does deal with some of the things that went along with Baal worship: temple prostitution (male and female prostitutes) and child sacrifice. Overall, I loved the book and I expect I'll listen to it many times!

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Great Biblical fiction, well read

In Rain, Dana McNeely draws us completely into the land of Israel at the time of Elijah the prophet. The background is meticulously researched; nothing about this story felt unrealistic.

The opening chapters are powerfully arresting and set the stage for both Aban's journey and Elijah's. The narrative alternates between these two characters, though it is primarily with Aban.

I loved the characterisations, particularly of Elijah. The way the story shows us his faith journey is excellent – nobody is perfect, not even the Old Testament’s most famous prophet! The grace shown to Aban, his mother and Hiel also demonstrate Yahweh’s heart for redeeming the penitent.

‘Rain’ asks hard questions as we see a drought take over the land for many years. Yet, the way that the justice and jealousy of Yahweh are woven into it is skillfully done.

This is narrated really well at just the right speed to follow along and catch the nuances of the text and is of high quality.

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