Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Abinadi by H.B. Moore-Book Review

I finished Abiniadi by H.B. Moore last night. I stayed up till after 1 A.M. to finish it. This book was different from every other "Church" book I've ever read. Moore is the author of the Out of Jerusalem series, the last of which, Land of Inheritance, won a Whitney Award in 2007 for Best Historical.

I first met Heather Moore at a writing conference back in 2006. When I saw on her blog she was requesting people to read her book and review it, I quickly offered. Then I was even more excited when she accepted my offer.

For those of you who aren't familiar with who Abinadi was, here's a quick low down. Abinadi was a prophet in The Book of Mormon. Abinadi was called to preach repentace to the Nephites, a group of decendants of people who traveled from Jerusalem to the Americas at 600 B.C. At the time, the Nephites were incredibly wicked and in the end, caused Abinadi to suffer death by fire.

Most Latter Day saints tend to think of him like this. The Arnold Friberg version.

Copyright Arnold Friberg

Old, near the end of his life, and physically weak.

While Moore was writing the first draft of her book she saw Walter Rane's verion of Abinadi. Young, strong, prime of life. Probably had a young family, children. . .being bound by the Nephites to be brought before King Noah and presented at a mock trial.

Copyright Walter Rane

After viewing the painting she decided to place Abinadi at 27 years old at the beginning of the novel. Moore's book is incredibly well researched. I was impressed with the level of historical detail (much of which is discussed in the chapter notes at the end of the book.) While Moore has taken creative license with Abinadi's life, everything she has created is realistic. I loved the way she integrated actual scripture into the dialogue, especially in the mock trial scene where Abinadi recites the ten commandments to King Noah and his wicked high priests.

While I was reading the book I took the time to reread Mosiah chapter 11. It was amazing to read the chapter and include in my mind the rich, descriptive images from Moore's writings. Reading Moore's novel actually helped this passage of scripture come more alive for me.

While the book focuses on Abinadi, there is another character which is sculpted out in such a way that I feel I now have a better understanding of Alma. I always knew Alma was a high priest of King Noah, that he'd felt the Spirit of God when Abinadi preached, and had left the court of Noah to preach the words of God in secret. I knew this, but never really understood what it meant for Alma to be a wicked high priest in King Noah's court until I read this book.

Her fictionalizations didn't overtake the truthfulness of the scriptures, but rather helped me understand the scriptures better while giving me a terrific story.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a better understanding of this time period, wants a clearer perception of life for the Nephites during this time period, particularly the extremely righteous and the extremly wicked, and anyone who loves a good story.


Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks Kellie for posting your review. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book :)

JerieH said...

Ooooo! It is going on my Christmas list!