I recently had the wonderful opportunity of going to a performance of Handel's oratorio, Elijah. The story of Elijah has always been one of my very favorite Bible stories, and this oratorio about his life and mission touched me so deeply that I literally wept. And coming away from that experience, I immediately knew what I wanted my next read to be. I had to wait a little bit while I finished Dearly Departed, by Tristi Pinkston (which I'll be reviewing for Tristi's blog tour on March 1, so check back then), but I finished it Friday night and immediately picked up The Chariot of Israel, by James S. Sangster. This book is so out of print, it doesn't even show up on Goodreads! But my mother bought a used copy for 10 cents when I was in junior high, and this book immediately fired my imagination. Partly because I had never pictured Elijah as an old gray haired prophet when I heard his story. For some reason, I'd always, always pictured him in my mind as a much younger man with long black hair. So imagine my excitement when I opened the pages of The Chariot of Israel and read a description of Elijah with...yes! long black hair!
But beyond this coincidence, The Chariot of Israel turned out to simply be a wonderfully written retelling of the story of Elijah. Several scenes from this book, including the falling of Elijah's mantle to the shoulders of his successor, Elisha, when the chariot of Israel takes him up at the end, have remained vivid memories through the years and linger with me even today whenever I read the story directly from the Bible.
I have long since lost the dust cover from my copy, so I don't even have a blurb to share with you. But look what I found on Amazon! A review of The Chariot of Israel...by me! (Posted the last time I read it in 2008.) For what it's worth, this is what I wrote:
One of my favorite retellings of the story of Elijah in the Bible. Elijah is no grey-bearded, elderly prophet here, but a dark-haired wild man uniquely in tune and obedient to the commands of Jehovah, yet completely human in his occasional struggles with his faith. Good luck finding a copy to buy, but you'll be rewarded if you do.
I'll share a Tuesday Teaser with you on Tuesday, just in case you're able to track this book down on interlibrary loan or something!
PS The Chariot of Israel now appears on Goodreads, because I just created a profile for it there!