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
Praise for The Deception of Livvy Higgs
“Morrissey slips beautiful turns of phrase into otherwise ordinary scenes or descriptions”
“Morrissey inverts this widely held belief: memory as potentially more factual than whatever myths we end up slipping inside of for protection from the elements… Readers will gain from spending time with this moving story, by taking away the reminder that no one needs to suffer loneliness ‘when love was but a truth away.’ “
Globe and Mail
“The arc of Livvy Higg’s life sears like a comet across a dark sky and burns into the reader’s heart.
This is a novel destined to become a classic that confirms the great gifts of Donna Morrissey.”Halifax Chronicle-Herald“[F]rom its opening pages, Newfoundland native Donna Morrissey’s latest literary novel will pull you in with the force of a riptide.”Winnipeg Free Press“Morrissey’s skill with voices immediately draws the reader into the past along with Livvy”Vancouver Observer
“This hauntingly beautiful novel lingers in the imagination like the sight of a storm-churned ocean, and confirms that Morrissey is one of Canada’s great storytellers.”
“Haunting, emotionally insistent, lyrical and powerful in its portrayal of two unforgettable women whose fates are entwined by a violent act, this is Donna Morrissey’s best work yet. Her writing has what Checkov called “indispensible layering of fact and feeling.” Morrissey has brought the WWII era into the present with the disturbing intimacy of a seance. A rare accomplishment.”
“Contains startling images that stand out for their power and imagination… Morrisey has preserved her unique voice in this work, a voice rich in vernacular yet never shy of lofty, dramatic turns of phrase that create a sweeping, romantic atmosphere.”
Quill and Quire