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Promise Breaker

by Robert Elmer
Series: Promise of Zion #1
159 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Ariel_of_Narnia

Great read, mild violence, and an easy flow into the next book.

Plot

It's been eight years since Dov Zalinski has seen his family. He's gone through an orphanage, the Hitler Youth, and a death camp. Running away from a displaced persons camp, the thirteen-year-old Jew is determined to find his family. Discovering that they're no longer in Poland, he sets his compass for Eretz Israel. Meanwhile, a British major's daughter, Emily Parkinson, is seeing far more of Palestine's problems than she bargained for.

Morality

Dov has a survivor mentality. He justifies jumping trains and stealing food and money meant to help Israel buy land. A Jewish "agent" reprimands him for this.

Emily's family does what they deem right and "Christian", though her parents have different ideas of this than her aunt and uncle. Her aunt and uncle are committed to helping the illegal immigrants. Emily herself loves to help out at her father's office and she saves a drowning person. She peeks at an important telegram when it falls open and sneaks into the car her father takes to attend to a new immigrant ship, pulling a few strings to get there. Both actions are reprimanded.

Spiritual Content

Dov studied under a rabbi in the death camp. The Jewish agent quotes the Old Testament on a few occasions. Emily and her parents consider themselves "Christian", but Christianity is better displayed by her aunt and uncle. A man working for the Swedish Red Cross shows - and later gives - Dov a Magen David necklace (a Star of David with a cross in the middle). The necklace is torn off the man by an angry Jew who tells him to keep his religion to himself.

Violence

This is a post-WWII story involving Jews. Some WWI things are mentioned (eg: numbered tattoos, death camps, burned-out leftovers of homes). The blowing up of the King David Hotel and its significance to the Parkinsons are mentioned. The Brits ram two boats full of immigrants (one is witnessed, the other is only seen after the fact) and arrest Jews roughly. One young man runs his face into a car window (leaving a smudge). A crying woman is pushed violently. A bomb destroys the engine of a ship (damage intentionally focused only on the engine). Some British soldiers misunderstand orders and begin to open fire on the immigrants (no deaths occur/are mentioned).

It's mentioned that Dov probably would have died (eventually) in the death camp if the war hadn't ended when it did. He is pushed off a train and he sprains his ankle as a result. He is also pushed off a boat by accident. Emily instinctively punches someone in the eye to keep the two of them from drowning. She fears for her life when British bullets rain down in her general area.

One man holds another by the collar when he makes a Hitler reference. A couple glass bottles are thrown, one of them hitting a British soldier's helmet (some people cheer as the ketchup drips "down his face like blood").

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

Based on historical events, Promise Breaker is an amazing read. At the end of the book, Robert Elmer specifies what is historical and what is fiction. The characters are easy to connect with and the plot is engaging. It's a story of historical accuracy and a journey of trust.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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