With so many new books coming out each year, it is nice to pull out some of the older "classics." Bodie and Brock Thoene have written over 70 historical fiction books. According to their website, both the Zion Chronicles and the Zion Covenent series are used to teach college history classes because of their historical accuracy.
The Gates of Zion, originally published in 1986 (and pictured to the left), is book one of The Zion Chronicles Series, and this rich historical detail and setting are one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book. Reading the novel felt like a journey into the past, and I learned a great deal about life in Israel following WWII.
The Gates of Zion introduces many notable characters with their own quirks and characteristics. I love little Yacov, Miriam, and Uncle Howard, secondary characters with strong hearts and impacts. The story centers around Ellie, a strong, independent photographer searching for true meaning and value in life. She begins to find that meaning as she witnesses the violence and horrors around her and takes a stand with those closest to her.
My one complaint is the relationship triangle/twist. Without giving anything away, I felt like the shift in feelings was too fast and it did not feel authentic to me. I did enjoy the book thoroughly though and am currently working on the second one now, called The Daughter of Zion. (The updated cover is shown to the right, and it is such a great cover. Doesn't the image give the impression of intensity and intrigue?)