Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Shifting Sands Life in the Times of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad by Kathy Lowinger


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The stories of three young people who experience the tumult -- in three eras -- as new religions are about to be born.
Dina is a slave, a weaver for the royalty of Ancient Egypt. Summoned to the royal chamber, Dina learns she will move south with the Queen and the Pharaoh to a bountiful oasis, but far away from her family and her Jewish faith. When Moses, a Hebrew who has defied the Egyptians, comes to visit, Dina must make a choice between the predictable life of a slave, or an uncertain one that promises more by following Moses into the desert.
Fifteen hundred years later, Rome's oppressive rule has impoverished young Mattan's family. He sets out from his home in Nazareth to make his own way, joining forces with an old trickster, to eke out a living performing around Galilee. When they come upon a man preaching in Capernaum, their lives change forever as they become followers of Jesus.
Around 622 A.D. Fallah, a Bedouin boy, flees from his desert home to break out of the grip of the blood feud that killed his father. Though he becomes a successful poet in the marketplace of Mecca, he and his brother are condemned to live forever as outsiders in a society dominated by a powerful tribe. Muhammad and his Companions offer them a different future -- if they are brave enough to grasp it.
Drawing on both the historical and the imagined, Shifting Sands brings the past to vivid life. These stories expertly recreate how life might have been for young people living in the time of three of the world's most important figures. Informative sidebars and full-color illustrations add historical flavor.

MY TAKE:
If you like fiction that includes famous figures, you might enjoy this one.

In Shifting Sands Life in the Times of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, readers are introduced to three people who lived during the times of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, respectively. The story focuses on these individuals' lives and touches upon how they meet or come to know Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

I liked the premise of the book so I was excited to read this one. I liked that you really get a sense of life in those days. I also liked that the notes at the end of the stories and the books helped readers gain a better understanding of the men and the religions mentioned.

Since I'm a Catholic, I was already familiar with the stories of Moses and Jesus. Perhaps that's the reason why I didn't find the first two stories as interesting as the third one. I took a course on world religions in college so I was familiar with Mecca and the Kaaba. However, I've already forgotten the rest of the story and it was nice to read about the prophet Muhammad's life.

Thanks to NetGalley and Annick Press Ltd. for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It helps you learn a little bit about Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  2. The stories seem well-researched.
  3. The plot twists are interesting. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some parts may feel a little boring if you already know the original story. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
I tried to take it all in: the rowdy cries of the shopkeepers as they set out their wares for the day, the sharp, sweet smells of spices, the reds and blues and rich yellows of bolts of cloths, the mounds of dried fruits that made my mouth water. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to learn about Judaism, Christianity or Islam.
  2. You like historical fiction.
  3. You want to see what life was like during the times of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad.

RATING:
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