A Wicked Wicked Man by Beryl Byman
An epic tale of betrayal, A Wicked Wicked Man is an engrossing account of historical fiction that tells the story of a friendship gone horribly awry. Set during the fifth century in the land of Persia, the novel follows two boys, Haman and Mordechai who promise one another to be friends forever, until a terrible lie sets off a chain of events that forces them down a path where only one will succeed. By beginning with the hanging of Haman at the gallows, this narrative starts off by grabbing the reader from the very start, offering shocking language and bringing forth revelations into the psyches of these characters before we even understand what is actually going on. After this harrowing scene is teased before us, we go back to Haman’s birth and follow him throughout life as he grows. Haman faces many dilemmas throughout the course of the story which he must triumph over in order to become the man he is meant to be. He is eventually appointed Grand Vizier, a position of great power, which causes him to be pulled in multiple directions as his conflicting loyalties battle for his attention.
The tense tone of this novel is woven through prose that is executed beautifully to create a story that will pull the readers in, and not let them go until the very last page. Beryl Byman has created a fully original story, one which uses biblical roots to its advantage to create a piece of fiction that seems both real and otherworldly all at the same time. There are a great number of characters within the book, but Byman accomplishes a difficult task by keeping them separate and distinct from one another, especially since the majority of the names used are ancient ones that most readers won’t be familiar with. Another factor that causes this book to shine is how well it is organized and put together, chapters start off strong and end that way too, with cliffhangers frequently pulling the reader along. The cover is expertly designed in a both engaging and haunting way. All in all, A Wicked Wicked Man is a stellar novel that is sure to entertain.
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