I’m an into-the-details kind of person. Especially when it comes to people because I’m also a people person. I like getting to know a person, discovering what makes them tick, so to speak. Digging into who they are.
In my almost twenty years of teaching high school Sunday School, I often found myself pondering between-the-lines as I prepared lessons. As my class and I studied the heroes and heroines of the Bible, we did our fair share of imagining. We tried to put ourselves in the shoes of those faithful, committed yet human men and women.
- What was it really like for the very young Mary to find herself with child?
- How did Paul cope with the hardships and suffering he endured time and again?
- I can only imagine how very long those three days of fasting must have been for Queen Esther as she prepared to approach the king.
- And oh, how I would’ve liked to be a “stomach bug” during Jonah’s time in the whale!
How serious were their second thoughts? How sleepless were the nights as their minds whirled with questions and doubts and “what-if’s”? Who experienced stuff-your-face kind of stress and who suffered through can’t-swallow-a-bite worry? What did GOD’s peace and presence feel like as HIS all-powerfulness met their frail humanness?
Our own Vanessa Morton takes us deep into the well-known story of the fall of Jericho, in her recently released “Moonfall: Tales from the Levant”. This fictional account of the events from the book of Joshua is infused with the rich details a curious mind like mine longs to revel in. She brings to life the exotic culture of the ancient near east and illuminates the characters in a way that very much compliments the Bible’s rendition of this great happening.
As I strived to do when teaching my senior highers, Vanessa makes the novel relevant to today’s culture. The story reveals how young people living in the Bronze Age struggled with similar issues to those facing present-day teenagers – teen angst, political corruption, sibling rivalry, passion and the longing for a spiritual connection with our creator. As we follow “Moonfall’s” main character Rachav, we get a culturally accurate idea of what Rahab’s life may have looked like leading up to the important role she played in the Israelite’s journey. We get a clearer picture of this young woman spoken of only briefly in scripture.
Lovers of history will devour the intricate “world-building” in this mash-up of adventure/fantasy, based on historical and Biblical history. Biblical fiction enthusiasts will appreciate delving deeply into the hearts and minds of the players engaged in this history-altering event. Those who enjoy intricate tales rich with layers of detail will be keen on the story’s depth.
Fascinated by archeology and ancient history since middle school, Vanessa immersed herself for three years into the Late Bronze Age, researching original sources and university publications, interviewing scholars, and taking a private academic tour of ancient Jericho. The period and people became three-dimensional in her imagination. And her efforts paid off big time for her readers.
When she’s not writing stories—Moonfall is the first in a planned three book series or assisting the other Scriblerians with their stories—she might be found exploring ancient ruins. Then again she may be spending time with her husband and two daughters at their vineyard in east Texas.
What favorite Bible story would you like to see fictionalized?