Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Valor Cover

 Valor Cover

At last, we have a cover image for Valor, the seventh volume in the Books of the Infinite stories!

Valor was inspired by Judges, chapter 11, specifically, the tragic story of Jephthah and his heroic daughter--verses from the Scriptures, which distressed and absorbed me when I first read them at age eight. 

For readers of the Books of the Infinite, Valor is set in Agocii lands, which is perfect for unfolding this tragic story, so horrifically bound by its own times, traditions, and laws, as well as eternal expectations. 

Yes, you might cry--never say I didn't warn you--but I pray that Valor will leave you with hope!

Blessings, Dear Everyone! You are in my prayers. 


Rebeka B. said...

So beautiful!!! My dad (and I agree with him) believes that the daughter didn't die, but that she lived as a dedicated person at the temple. The wording is a little vague, but I think it was the part about how she was bewailing the fact that she would never marry--instead of bewailing the fact that she was going to die--that made my dad theorize such. :) Another story I've wondered about is what happened to Tamar after her trauma at the hands of Amnon. Perhaps another Biblical story to explore in the future? Love and blessings! <3

Robin Dykema said...

I will keep a handkerchief (aka tear catcher) handy. The cover is beautiful. I look forward reading your Agoccii exploration of Judges 11. I am so excited for you, seeing yet another literary baby coming soon to meet the world! <3

Rebeka B...did you notice that Absalom named a daughter after his sister?(2Sam 14:27) (2 of the three named Tamar's only chapters apart.) It's touching. V20 of 2 Sam 13 makes me believe (and fitting with Jewish culture of the time) Tamar would have never married and been dependent on her family for the rest of her life. But what would that life have been like?

Emily Kopf said...

It looks so beautiful! But such a tragic story! No wonder she is crying!

RJLarsonbooks said...

Rebeka, I studied both sides of this debat and looked up the root words in Hebrew during my research. What is rarely touched upon is that during the time of Judges, idolatry was rampant in the land, and expectations were that if a man promised a 'burnt offering' as Jephthah did, then it meant a life would be taken and blood would be spilled. Also for women, to not have children was akin to a death sentence for the woman's legacy--as Rachel pleaded, "Give me children or I die!" For a young woman, perhaps about to be married, with hopes of having children, to be told that she would die without having children would be a terrible loss--particularly if she loved a certain young man and expected to marry him. I would have loved to see my character, Aniya, survive, but the fact that Jephthah was the son of a prostitute (whom I pitied, because it most likely wasn't her fault) then because of this illegitimate status, Jephthah and his children, including his daughter would not have been allowed to serve in the temple. She would have been regarded as carrying the stigma of her father's birth. (Deut. 23:2.)

Part of the reason that it's argued that Jephthah's daughter survived, is because of prior verses indicating that the Lord's Spirit came down upon Jephthah, which I believe was true, of course. Many believe that because Jephthah had been blessed in this way, he couldn't possibly have sacrificed his daughter to fulfill his rash pledge. However, even a rash pledge to the Lord must be fulfilled, and even his daughter agreed that this was true. But David, a man after the Lord's own heart, who was so loved that his mortal dna ultimately ran through the mortal blood of our Savior, also shed innocent blood after he sinned with Bathsheba. In making his vow, Jephthah sinned against the Lord, yet I believe he was forgiven--aren't we all?

Others support the dedication theory as well because they believe the verses imply that the Lord's Spirit inspired Jephthah to make the vow, which is not true. As believers, some of our lowest lows in life follow these spiritual peaks. I'm not saying that Satan is there to trip us always, but it certainly seems that way. My theory: When humans reach a spiritual height or status, they can become proud and blind to their own weaknesses and sins, and it is in this blindness that they stumble, with tragic results.

Sorry I've written a virtual novel here. This story has captured me since I was a child of 8. I'd always wished that she'd survived, and when I first read of the dedication theory, I was eager for it to be true. Alas, Deut. 23:2 barred her from temple service, and barred Jephthah from even entering the assembly for the sake of ceremonial purity before the Lord.

RJLarsonbooks said...

Robin and Rebeka, Tamar's story was devastating, wasn't it? I saw the movie "David" years ago, and it implies that she went insane and was allowed to stay in her brother's household because she was mentally destroyed, and why punish an innocent?

Robin, thank you! Now, just because I cried over the last few chapters doesn't mean that you must. ;) However, hankies are always comforting. <3 As opposed to Kleenex ...

RJLarsonbooks said...

Emily, yes, it was a sad story. I felt that I was writing something akin to one of Shakespeare's tragedies, with Vsevold as the flawed hero. Still I cared about him, and loved these characters, so it was good to tell their story in a fantasy realm.

Rebeka B. said...

Thank you for the response, RJ! :) I had never heard of that before, and it definitely increases the tragedy of the story. I suppose one day we shall meet her in heaven and learn everything, and rejoice over her faithfulness despite the circumstances in which she lived.

RJLarsonbooks said...

Rebeka, yes! Both from Tamar and Jephthah's daughter. Tamar was obviously adored by her family, as was Jephthah's daughter. Also, when Jephthanh's daughter was mourning the children she would never have, she was mourning for her father as well, because she knew that with her death, his name and bloodline would end. Such heartbreak!