GODS AND KINGS
Hezekiah's father finds no salvation in a favor he seeks from a host of gods, so Hezekiah must choose: serve his father's gods or listen to the prophets and return the kingdom to the worship of Yahweh? The former is politically safe and the latter fraught with risk, but regaining the blessing of Yahweh may be the kingdom's only chance for survival.
Austin brings this biblical account to vivid life in her well-researched fictionalization of the life of one of Judah's most fascinating kings. But the scope of the book leaves little room for deep characterization, and Austin often resorts to telling and summarizing events and perspectives. (Feb., 320 pp., $12.99)