About the BookBook: Balaam’s Curse
Author: C.L. Smith
Genre: Biblical fiction
Release Date: 2016
Unfathomable evil grips the ancient homeland of the Children of Israel. When Yahweh, Most High God, led his people out of slavery in Egypt to confront it, they failed miserably and spent the next forty years wandering homeless in the desert. Now they are ready to try again. But before they can cross the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, the prophet Balaam is summoned from Babylon to stop them. Joining forces with supernatural powers, he unleashes a plot so twisted that the name of Balaam is used as a synonym for seductive evil a thousand years later in the Book of Revelation.
Aided by the ruthlessly ambitious Princess Cozbi, the prophet gathers a coalition of five Midianite kings who will stop at nothing to defeat Israel and prevent a crossing that will change the world. Balaam’s Curse, Book One of The Stones of Gilgal, is an epic telling of the resulting deception, revolt, plague, and war. Familiar biblical characters—Moses, Caleb and Joshua—stride through this tale of mayhem and miracles. But this is the coming-of-age story of the next generation, young people nurtured in a simple wilderness life who suddenly find themselves caught in a vortex of violence and upheaval beyond anything they could have imagined.
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I have always shied away from Biblical Fiction, mainly because I didn’t know how to feel about authors fictionalizing the Bible. But I signed up for this tour because the book sounded interesting and I wanted to broaden my horizons. And I was actually really excited to read it.
Despite all of this, I still struggled reading the book because it was Biblical Fiction. However, I still enjoyed the story and am glad that I signed up for the tour. The author clearly did her research and studied the Bible for the book, which I appreciated. And it was interesting to read about this time period of the Israelites.
I believe, too, that it was a good book to read, especially during such a time of uncertainty for us right now. It reminded me that God is in control and we need to put all our trust in Him.
I’m not sure if I will read another Biblical Fiction book, but I did like this one. C.L. Smith is a very talented author, and if you are someone who likes this genre, I would recommend it.
I had received a copy of this book as part of the Celebrate Lit Blogging Team and was required to give an honest review.
About the Author
C.L. Smith, retired junior high school English and history teacher, former missionary, and lifetime student of the Bible, has been captivating audiences around the world for years with the timeless thrill of biblical tales. More than twenty years ago while reading the books of Joshua and Judges, Othniel caught her attention and then his future wife, Acsah. They are only mentioned in a few short verses, but there were a lot of possibilities embedded there. They lived through an exciting era peppered with some other fascinating minor characters of the Bible. The more she thought about them, the more it seemed they were begging her to tell their story. Well, Acsah was. Othniel didn’t say much. He’s pretty quiet. But they convinced her that their impressive and important story had been buried too long among the spectacular events of the time of Joshua. It was about time someone told it. The idea for a biblical novel quickly grew into The Stones of Gilgal series. Balaam’s Curse was published in 2016, A River to Cross in 2017, and Trouble in the Ruins in September, 2019.
More from C.L. Smith
The light of God’s love dispels the darkness obscuring the era of Joshua and the violent conquest of Canaan. Be inspired by this epic series of biblical novels illuminating the murky mists of ancient time with truth applicable to modern life.
The first book of the series plunges the reader into a nightmarish tale of terror instigated by an evil prophet from Babylonia. If you think you remember the story of Balaam and his talking donkey from Sunday School, think again. When God puts words of blessing in the prophet’s mouth, thwarting his attempt to curse Israel, Balaam joins forces with supernatural powers in a scheme so twisted that his name is used as a synonym for seductive evil a thousand years later in the Book of Revelation.
Forming a coalition with five Midianite kings and the ruthlessly ambitious Princess Cozbi, the evil prophet unleashes a deadly plot against the twelve tribes of Israel. He will stop at nothing to prevent them from crossing into the Promised land to claim their inheritance. This is a gripping tale of the seduction, revolt, plague, and war that traps the Children of Israel in the Valley of Acacias east of the Jordan for months. Well-known Biblical heroes—Moses, Caleb and Joshua—stride through its pages, but the story unfolds primarily through the eyes of the next generation, young people born and nurtured in the simple wilderness life of the forty-year Wanderings. Suddenly, on the brink of their new life in the Promised Land, they find themselves in a life or death struggle that tests their strength and batters their faith before they’ve even crossed the river.
The Story Behind the Story
This series of biblical novels began with a new interest in Othniel, the first of the biblical hero-judges. His love story with Acsah and his heroic adventures are summarized in only a few words of scripture, but I saw a lot of possibilities embedded in those brief verses. Digging deeper, I realized that Othniel and Acsah came of age during the turbulent era of Joshua along with a handful of other fascinating minor biblical characters. The more I thought about Othniel, Acsah, and friends, the more I was convinced that their impressive and important story had been buried too long among the spectacular events of the time of Joshua and it was about time someone told it. The result is the six-part Stones of Gilgal saga showing how the obstacles overcome in their youth shape each character for their ultimate roles in the story of the settlement of Canaan. The series ends with Othniel rising to
save Israel from an oppressive enemy as the first and most noble of the hero-judges.
The Dark Side
The Stones of Gilgal saga includes several “tales of terror,” dark episodes standing in juxtaposition to some of the Bible’s most dazzling miracles. I see these stories as dark and light puzzle pieces, making sense only when viewed within the framework of the Great Cosmic War. Whether read as ancient history or truth-teaching myth, these incidents are chapters in the epic story of the entire Bible, a good God working to save humanity from the forces of evil.
Six of my characters are minor but real characters found in scripture who lived during the era of Joshua, experiencing the transition from the Wilderness Wanderings to the Promised Land. They all crossed the Jordan, witnessed the fall of Jericho and the sun standing still at a word from Joshua—life-changing events that prepared them for leadership roles in the book of Judges.
- Othniel, who becomes the first hero-Judge of Israel
- Acsah, only daughter of the heroic Caleb
- Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, future high priest
- Jonathan, grandson of Moses whose story appears in Judges 17-18
- Salmon, prince of the tribe of Judah, who appears only in genealogies as the husband of Rahab
- Rahab, the courageous Canaanite harlot not only saved by faith but honored with a place in the lineage of King David and Jesus Christ.
- Plus Abihail, fictionalized daughter-in-law of the biblical Achan
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 20
For Him and My Family, March 21
Texas Book-aholic, March 22
My Devotional Thoughts, March 23
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 24
The Forgiven Former Feminist, March 24
Inklings and notions, March 25
Betti Mace, March 26
For the Love of Literature, March 27
Mary Hake, March 27
deb’s Book Review, March 28
Rebecca Tews, March 29
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 30
Bigreadersite, March 31
Emily Yager, April 1
Batya’s Bits, April 2
To celebrate her tour, C.L. is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.