City of Refuge, by Valerie Farber, is a Bible-based adventure story suitable for all, teens to adults. Through extensive research, the author successfully combined historical, anthropological and Biblical details with believable characters.
As a long-time resident of Shiloh, I was especially interested in Farber's description of my hometown during Biblical times, when it was the Capital of the Jewish Nation. As the novel's main characters, Bat-Shachar and Tzuriel, flee to the City of Refuge, they join the pilgrims who visit Shiloh. As the plot unfolds, one learns much about day-to-day life during biblical times.
City of Refuge is an adventure story, with family dynamics, medical and apprenticeship issues, and a plot filled with twists and surprises.
The main characters are Jewish, but they find themselves in a pagan, enemy city from which it's difficult and dangerous to escape. And of course, the title, City of Refuge, hints very broadly that somebody inadvertently, accidentally, gets killed - as Jewish Law dictates that in a case of involuntary manslaughter, the killer must flee to a city of refuge.
Whenever I've learned the laws about fleeing to a city of refuge, I've wondered how the dead person's family feels about the fact that the killer is protected. The book conveys the deep human emotion at stake in an accidental murder case.
Farber also shows how the Priestly families, which had no land to provide financial support, lived.
Valerie Farber is an MIT alumnus and now lives in Hashmonaim, Israel. For purchase information, click here.