Thursday, February 5, 2009

As the Eagle, Flies the King by Wendy McNeice

UPDATE: After I originally posted this review, I received communication with the author. She clarified a couple of things for me, that helped me greatly to understand more about the book, that will serve to ease any misgivings I may have had. First, I did not know that the target audience was young adult, which explains what I thought of as simplistic or convenient. Second, she mentioned this book being similar to a screenplay and I immediately said, yes, that's what it is that bothered me - not that it was wrong, I just didn't grasp that and it totally threw me! So, yes with these clarifications, I would recommend the book and I do look forward to the next one!


I just finished the book As the Eagle, Flies the King by Wendy M. McNeice. It is the first book in the series Redemption Coming. If I am to be honest, I must say that I really struggled with this book. It is a historical book (with a touch of romance) from the time of when the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon.

A young Jewess was to be forced into marriage to evil Prince Belshazzar, but she escapes the palace, with the help of a dear friend, dressed as a scribe, to gain her freedom. After hearing the prophet Daniel speak, the pair decide to make their way to Jerusalem on their own, while remaining dressed as scribes. Along the way she discovers her own faith in the God of Israel. While traveling, they meet a Persian spy who may be beneficial to their journey, or may be their undoing.

As I mentioned above, I struggled with this book. The story line is good, but something seems to be missing – and I can’t quite figure out what. It is a tale of faith and courage with a good measure of drama mixed in, yet the plot is almost too simplistic or convenient. Still, it is well-written and does a good job of drawing the reader in. On the one hand, I was happy to simply finish it, and on the other hand I look forward to the next book in the series.


As the Eagle, Flies the King
by Wendy M. McNeice

Forced into the harem of the evil royal heir-apparent, Prince Belshazzar, a young Jewess escapes the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon and, with the words of the prophet Daniel in her ears, begins a quest that will take her halfway to Jerusalem dressed as a scribe.

A Persian spy who is preparing to dam the river for King Cyrus has stolen her heart. Will he be a help or a hindrance when Chaim finally discovers Y-H-W-H’s plan to save the Jews of Babylon? And can Chaim learn to embrace divine guidance when the Lord asks her to change directions.

Author Wendy McNeice brings to life the remarkable true story of the release of the Jews from ancient Iraq at the hands of a tyrannical king.


  1. Thanks for the review, Tracy! It is a good review. So you will pick up the next in the series?

  2. Hi Tracy and KM,

    I'm the author of the book and was gratified and chastened by your review. All of my other reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, so it was interesting to see I have still some improvements to make. It's difficult writing for the general market and the high school market simultaneously; and that is the reason why the plot moves a little quickly for some adults. Anyway, a lot of Christian schools have put it on their curriculum, so I've achieved my purpose. Also, it came to me with such lightening speed I had trouble getting each part down in time before the next thought! But then, I was going through a period of consecutive emergencies, so it was a miracle it got down on paper at all(:

    Thanks for the review!


  3. It was a blessing to hear that you found this book “interesting …informative” and that you are “looking forward to the next one.”
    It’s so easy to give the wrong impression with a few words, isn’t it? And when anyone googles an author that you have reviewed, they will find your review. The internet is a powerful tool, Tracy.
    My publisher probably misled you by not making it clear on the blurb that it’s a teen fiction and so you’re obviously not used to reading anything this fast paced. However, I’ve had so many men and women from 20’s to 60’s praise it, I haven’t marketed it for that market. I can see now that I should have.
    As a writing mentor, I’m very aware that anything negative I say about my students’ work can be misinterpreted. I’m also aware that what’s happening in my life can influence my judgment and that I need to always be aware that my opinion –like anyone else’s—can change with circumstance. So when I have a negative reaction, I wait awhile, then come back, and I can usually find something worthwhile that with a little encouragement , can blossom into something good. I guess that’s why I never have to advertise for my clients. They just keep coming. I use Bambi’s mum’s advice (with a grain of salt) “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” and then wait on the Lord for direction before giving a few heavily disguised negative comments: After all, if God has planted something, then something good will always come through in the end.
    If you publish your latest comments on your blog, I won’t feel the need to publish this answer to your criticism on my blog. After all, a few hundred others can’t be that mistaken, can they?(: You see, as I mentioned in par. 1, any negative comment can be misinterpreted, and when picked up by the media, can destroy an author’s reputation.
    Back here in Australia, most of our reviews are in print, rather than on the net. I have too many to put on my website, but if you check it you’ll find a sample. What your criticism made me realize was that God has been trying to tell me to make this into a screen play for ages. (So much action, as you said.) I’ve been making every effort to ignore this as I’m so busy. But this book really should have been a screenplay—especially as my publisher offered to be my film agent and I’ve had so many comments that it reads like a film.
    God bless. I hope my thirty years (learning from my mistakes) in the publishing industry has been of a little help to your reviewing work.
    Wendy (Queensland Society of Editors)

  4. Hi Readers!

    I've changed my review a bit, by adding an update. With the clarification that the author provided me, I am happy to recommend this book. I liked it very much!