About the Book
In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness…
Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real.
In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil.
With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death…even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger.
The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.
About the Author
Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.
What I Thought
This historical fantasy is set in Poland. It opens with pretty distressing scenes and moves on to meld the trauma of the Holocaust with Jewish folklore and fantasy and explores questions of humanity and righteousness.
The main characters Uriel and Uwe and Major Brandt are all fully realised, the two adults being suitably conflicted. The prose is beautiful and the plot is intriguing.
A couple of slight issues that may be because I read an Advanced and unedited copy. The chapters were really long and there was some head hopping in some of the scenes, switching back and forth between character POV.
But to me this was reminiscent of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the Diary of Anne Frank, Pan’s Labyrinth and another film I can’t mention because it would be a spoiler. The blend of stark reality and fantasy adventure works well. Given the subject matter this is a fairly heavy read at times but the focus on the stories and mythology in The Book of Uriel adds a different layer of complexity.
Thanks to Dave at The Write Reads and the author for a gifted eARC for the purposes of an honest review. Do follow the rest of the tour using #TheBookOfUriel on Twitter/Instagram.
Today is my stop on the tour for this – and I have something a little different for you. Today’s review has been written by my mum. Growing up, my parents were always reading, so I entirely blame them for my book addiction!! One of dad’s go to authors is Wilbur Smith so when Tracy from Compulsive Readers had his latest I had to grab him a copy.
However little did I know that the topic of this one was Ancient Egypt which is totally Mum’s thing (I remember going to the Tutankhamen museum in Dorchester together). So she nabbed it first and poor dad has had to wait.
About the Book
A brand-new Ancient Egyptian novel from the master of adventure fiction and global number 1 bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.
In the heart of Egypt
Under the watchful eye of the gods
A new power is rising
In the city of Lahun, Hui lives an enchanted life. The favoured son of a doting father, and ruler-in-waiting of the great city, his fate is set. But behind the beautiful façades a sinister evil is plotting. Craving power and embittered by jealousy, Hui’s stepmother, the great sorceress Isetnofret, and Hui’s own brother Qen, orchestrate the downfall of Hui’s father, condemning Hui and seizing power in the city.
Cast out and alone, Hui finds himself a captive of a skilled and powerful army of outlaws, the Hyksos. Determined to seek vengeance for the death of his father and rescue his sister, Ipwet, Hui swears his allegiance to these enemies of Egypt. Through them he learns the art of war, learning how to fight and becoming an envied charioteer.
But soon Hui finds himself in an even greater battle – one for the very heart of Egypt itself. As the pieces fall into place and the Gods themselves join the fray, Hui finds himself fighting alongside the Egyptian General Tanus and renowned Mage, Taita. Now Hui must choose his path – will he be a hero in the old world, or a master in a new kingdom?
Don’t miss the rest of the epic Ancient Egyptian Series, River God, The Seventh Scroll, Warlock, The Quest, Desert God and Pharaoh, available now. And Wilbur Smith will return to Ancient Egypt in 2022.
What Mum Thought
The story of Hui is that of a young man on the cusp of manhood whose life is turned upside down by events beyond his control. This all takes place in Ancient Egypt at the time of the New Kingdom. The beliefs and superstitions of the time play a large part in colouring the attitudes and behaviours of the characters.
Our hero has many adventures and misadventures along the way and eventually meets up with the protagonists from a previous series of books. The reader would not necessarily have to have read the previous series to enjoy this story.
As a fan of stories of Ancient Egypt I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to any sequels in the future.
A huge thanks to Tracy from Compulsive Readers for the gifted copy for the purposes of this honest review. I’ve always been scared to delve in because of Wilbur Smith’s huge back catalogue but I might see about reading this one after Dad. Do check out the other spots on the blog tour too.
Since posting we were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Wilbur Smith – announcement here.