BABYLON by Anthony Esler

BABYLON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wonder Woman in Bible-land--as Leah, granddaughter of Moab, Jewish exile in Babylon in the sixth century B.C., snaps power buttons on and off and spins more deals and more wheels than Ezekiel ever dreamed of. (This tale abounds in prophets, including Jeremiah and Isaiah, who doubles as Leah's cousin and lover--wow!) Leah's kin, including young brother Daniel of future den-and-lion fame, are surprisingly well-off merchant types in exile; but then Leah falls in love with Nabunasir, son of a priest of Marduk, and when Nabu is sent off to Tema to be the aide of fattish, fierce, formidable Prince Belshazzar, Leah marries cousin Aaron. The young merchant couple is soon doing nicely--but Aaron is quickly killed by an unknown assassin (Leah suspects returning lover Nabu), leaving Leah to become top trader of the Babylonian Empire and to share an idyll with Aaron's brother Isaiah, who has always loved her. Happily ever after, right? Wrong! Because now along comes Cyrus, King of the Persians, to take Leah prisoner and wallop the forces of King Croesus (""They say he is very rich""). Leah saves Croesus and his city with Cyrus' okay (he's a good chap, really) and it's back to business--while over at Belshazzar's place, Daniel has been interpreting dreams and Isaiah has got religion. Eventually mean Belshazzar is outwitted by Leah and killed by Nabu, Leah helps Cyrus' Persian hordes to take Babylon, and it all ends with Leah and Nabu and the whole mishpachah leading a march to Jerusalem. With silly historical touches abounding (best line: repentant child confessing ""I broke two books"")--likable, fast-moving hokum.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1980
Publisher: Morrow