Literature: Jericho Moon

A 1998 historical fantasy novel by Matthew Stover, Jericho Moon is a sequel to his previous work Iron Dawn, and continues to follow the adventures of Barra Coll Eigg Rhum, a Pictish princess working as a mercenary in the Bronze Age near east, along with her companions, the Trojan War veteran Leucas, and the Egyptian sorcerer Kheperu.

Agaz, Prince of Jebusi, has been taken prisoner and is being held for ransom by the Habiru, a loose confederacy of nomads under the general leadership of Joshua Ben Nun, anointed of the god Yahweh Sabaoth and successor to the prophet Moses. When Barra rescues Agaz and returns him to his city in exchange for the hefty reward offered by his father, Yahweh orders Joshua to lead the Habiru on to Jebusi, which they are to utterly annihilate, in the same manner as they did Jericho years before. Barra and her companions are at first determined to simply collect their money and leave Jebusi to fend for itself, but these plans are soon frustrated as Barra begins to fall for Agaz, and the mother goddess of the city anoints Barra as her chosen champion to fight against the Habiru and Yahweh himself.

This book has examples of:

  • Action Girl: Barra.
  • Anti-Villain: Joshua Ben Nun. He would much rather just live out his twilight years in peace, and has no desire himself for bloodshed, but is impelled by the will of Yahweh to march on Jebusi.
  • Bible Times: Is set during the Israelites' conquest of Canaan. Unlike most works focused on this time period, the Hebrews are cast as villains (though rather reluctant and sympathetic ones).
  • God Is Evil: The main villain of the work is Yahweh Sabaoth, El Shaddai, better known in the present simply as God. He is portrayed as a violent, bloodthirsty, vindictive deity who brutalizes his own chosen people and uses them as instruments to conquer and subjugate foreign nations.
  • Historical Fantasy: The book is set in our world, namely in the Levant c.1200 BCE, but there are various fantastical elements present as well. Yahweh and the Canaanite mother goddess Asherah both exist and are able to lend power to their followers, and the Greek Pantheon is implied to exist as well.
  • Sinister Minister: Both Melchizedek and Eleazar fit this trope. The former is Jebusi's High Priest of El, who schemes to remove the king from his throne and replace him with the heir apparent, who he hopes will be easily controlled. The latter is High Priest of Yahweh among the Israelites. Towards the end of the book, when he believes his son to have been killed, he tries to call down the wrath of Yahweh to destroy all of Canaan and everything within it.
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