Subtitled The Dramatic Adventures of a Slave Boy from Ancient Israel. Tobiyah's journey is primarily an illustrative tour of the ancient world (Assyria and Babylonia). In fact it is the author's familiarity with the mores of the period (700 B.C.) rather than the fictional events which makes it readable. The story is based on an attempt by the Babylonians to rebel against Assyrian domination. Tobiyah, a Hebrew slave in the court of an Assyrian lord, is sent to accompany a merchant bringing supplies to the lord's son at the front. Once the trip is successfully completed, Tobiyah discovers that those strange clanking purses really contained a fortune in gold and that he'd helped on an important secret mission to save the cause. For a slave, Tobiyah is treated with extraordinary tact and gentleness, and by the time he completes the round trip, he has his freedom and a handsome profit in gifts from both friend and foe. It is understandable that Tobiyah, who had grown up in the Assyrian court, should adhere to the gods of Assyria rather than to the faith of his dead parents. Less understandable is why he should suddenly be moved to go to Judah and accept his heritage as a priest of Israel. As personalities the characters are weak and illogical. However, they are convincing as representations of their world, and the well-visualized descriptions of the places they visit make this book suitable as historical reconstruction.