ESTHER by Nathaniel Norsen Weinreb


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This fleshing of Biblical bones takes on a contemporary tone with its emphases on the political struggles in the time of Xerxes, and again there are well integrated sketches of the characters in the story. Weinreb's Memucan, illegitimate grandson of Cyrus, is a schemer whose plot to depose Queen Vashti and replace her with a mindless queen is stayed in mid-flight by the choise of the wise and learned Esther from the virgins of the realm. Esther's guardian, Mordecal, warns Xerxes through her of Memucan's poisoning plot, when he aims to seize the throne. Haman, his professional spy, becomes a contender for this goal and betrays Memucan in transit. When money is required to build a war fleet, Haman sees his opportunity to avenge himself on the Jews (Mordecai has refused to bow to him and the Jews are convenient political scapegoats) and he turns on them, killing and plundering. Here Esther, who has kept her heritage a secret, goes upon Mordecai's command to Xerxes- on pain of death since she has not been called- to plead for herself and for her people. Xerxes is portrayed as the scholar above the soldier, too easily advised by the dubious men about him; Esther rages and reins in her love for him until the important moment....A probable seller, which should parallel The Babylonians and The Sorceress in its use of Biblical material for a popular market.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1955
Publisher: Doubleday