In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
Donna Morrissey grew up in the Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland. Her four previous, award-winning novels, drawing on her roots in that rich and rocky terrain, have been bestsellers in Canada and published in several languages, including German, Japanese, Swedish and Italian. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Penguin Canada Fall 2012
The Deception of Livvy Higgs
A stunning multi-generational saga of secrets and lies
The choice of One Book Nova Scotia
The childhood of Livvy Higgs, in the idyllic, isolated fishing village on the French shore of Newfoundland was a battleground of bitterness and lies. There were tensions, veering on hatred, between those of French ancestry and those with English roots, like her father Durwin Higgs, owner of the general store.
But there was also the animosity between her parents. Her doting mother fed her a thick gruel of confusion, born from the lies she imbibed from her mother Creed, who masked her humble beginnings behind a cloak of aristocracy.
The death of Livvy’s mother and her growing feelings for the French boy next door prompted Durwin to cast her out from the village to live with grandmother Creed in Halifax.
We meet Livvy near the end of her life as she begins to cut through the web of truth and deception that shaped her. Thanks to her caring next door neighbor Gen, a young single mother with a story of her own, Livvy completes her journey toward understanding, clarity, acceptance and love.
The Deception of Livvy Higgs is a tour-de-force, a story involving the powerful forces of greed, pretensions, old wounds, terrible crimes, and the healing balm of forgiveness.