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Beasts of War

Beasts of War: A Retelling of the Old English Judith by Sarah E Zilkowski is a genuinely gripping and mesmerizing tale of heroism. This retelling of the story of Judith follows a young maiden on her quest to save her beloved village from Holofernes and his thanes, who have pillaged and destroyed so many villages leaving devastation in their path. Judith, the protagonist of the story, is tasked by her Lord to infiltrate the enemy’s camp. She is their last hope at survival.

It is refreshing to read an adaptation of a historical tale focused on the strength of women and the importance of their role within specific periods in time. This is an integral theme within many modern pieces of literature, not often seen when referring to myths and legends, especially religious texts such as the Bible.

The omniscient narrator throughout the novel allows the reader to see the overall picture of what is taking place; although primarily focused on the movements of Judith, there are moments when we move away from her and see what is going on elsewhere, this is enhanced by short bits of italicized information provided as the inner thoughts of other characters. For example, ‘Then again, he thought, I suppose mine do too,’ this is from Lord Cyneric when he recognizes the sorrow in Judith’s eyes.

Throughout this tale, the imagery used is excellently written. It varies so much, from literal graphic phrases such as ‘Slaughtering and butchering’ to contrasting elements that emphasize the gravity of the situation, like when Judith’ stood in an open space’ but ‘felt crushed by her fear.’ Although readers will enjoy metaphors throughout the novel, which refers back to tales and beliefs from the Anglo-Saxon period, when the story is set, the use of her seeing wolves and eagles, which symbolized war, helps build the tension within the overall novel.

Beasts of War: A Retelling of the Old English Judith is a riveting novel that will grip readers from the opening pages. Historical fiction and war drama lovers will find this take on the story exhilarating. Women’s fiction readers will be overjoyed at seeing Judith’s vital role as the dramatic story unfolds.

Pages: 246 | ASIN : B09ML693YF

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