An assignment to retrieve a body that is rumored destroyed, two crossed swords in a hieroglyphic code and a series of plagues that trouble the land of Egypt — all this and more is deftly woven together in “Swords of Joseph” by M.R. Durbin.
Joshua and his friend, Caleb, are caught stealing straw from Pharoah’s stables and brought before him to be sentenced. The procedure is interrupted when Moses and Aaron enter the court accompanied by 12 strong Hebrew men.
Hours later, Joshua, of Ephraim, and Caleb, of Judah, find themselves in the home of Moses. Along with Gaddi, of Manasseh, they are asked to find the body of Joseph, so his bones can lead Israel out of Egypt. Later, two young women are added to the group — one of them a spy for Pharoah’s priests, the Bakari.
The assignment takes the group on a dangerous trek, followed from one Egyptian temple site or burial place to another by angry soldiers and Bakari priests intent on thwarting their mission.
Joshua not only finds Joseph’s body, he discovers a lot about himself and God. As an added bonus, he finds the strong, faithful woman he’s been looking for as a wife.
The novel is a well-written, historically well-researched, fast-paced adventure that brings the story of the Exodus to life. It’s a book that is hard to put down.
Told from a unique perspective, the novel can inspire re-reading the biblical account of the Exodus with renewed interest.
Author's notes at the end of the book share the historical background of objects, places and people described in the novel.
Although there is some violence and an implied sexual relationship, it’s a book that families with children age 12 and up would enjoy reading and discussing together. The book is available as a paperback or on CD.
M.R. Durbin, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born in Fort Ord, Calif. He received a master’s degree in education from Utah State University. After 30 years as a teacher, he retired and began a writing career.
Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.