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Beyond the Night

by Betty Swinford
189 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Nienna

Very good read but has a little violent content.

Plot

Private Marc Weizman is an orthodox Jew living in Jerusalem, happy in the love of his wife Cindy and baby Debbie. Then Cindy tells him that she has become a Christian. Storming out of his house in a turmoil of emotions, Marc returns to the border where he keeps guard while struggling with what he must do about Cindy's decision. In a skirmish he is severely wounded and mistakenly stumbles far across the border into Jordan before succumbing to unconsciousness. Abdullah, a Beduian, stumbles upon him and, being filled with compassion, takes the enemy soldier back to his cave in Petra where he nurses Marc back to health, telling the Jew it is Christ who gives him this love. But a few days before the two intend to try to get Marc across the border, he is caught by an Arab and finds himself running for his life all over Jordan, ever getting help from Christians just when he needs it.

Morality

Very good. Marc does lie when he is trying to escape before he becomes a believer, but he is sorry for it afterward.

Spiritual Content

Christianity, Orthodox Jewism, and Islam all play important parts in the story and are discussed frequently. A man tells him that a certain tomb is the very one Jesus was laid in.

Violence

Many people are killed in the border skirmish. Marc is seriously wounded. Human sacrifices are mentioned a couple of times when discussing the history of Petra. Jesus' death is referred to several times. Marc is nearly caught and killed multiple times. He fistfights with a man and threatens to kill a woman with his knife if she screams, though he wouldn't actually do it. A baby almost dies of sickness. None of it is graphically described.

Drug and Alcohol Content

An Arab soldier smokes a cigarette.

Sexual Content

Marc and Cindy kiss and embrace each other several times. Marc forces another woman to pretend he is her husband, though they just sit next to one another.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

One of my favorite books since I first read it at twelve years old, Beyond the Night still moves me and encourages my faith. The story is captivating, Abdullah and the others' faith is inspiring, and the message is convicting. I particularly appreciated Abdullah's respect for the Jewish faith, and the emphasis in the book that Christ is the only One who can change men or nations. Because of the violence, though, I don't recommend it for younger children.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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