Dahveed, by Terri Fivash


OK, I write Biblical historical fiction.  And in fact, Terri Fivash and I have the same publisher.  But Terri Fivash makes me feel like an absolute amateur in our common field. Dahveed is my favourite of her three books so far.

Fivash does the kind of hard-core historical research that makes you feel like she has a time machine and has gone back and lived in Israel, circa 1000 BCE.  She’s taken classes in Blbical Hebrew, for crying out loud – and it shows.  But not in the bad way, the “Look at my research!” way.  She’s created a great story with believable characters in a fully realized world that seems real because of the groundwork she’s done. 

King David is a complex character even in the Bible itself, never mind all the various interpretations that have been attached to him over the centuries.  Fivash manages to make the young David likable, flawed, but a strong enough character to carry the weight of destiny that’s being placed on his shoulders.

Even more compelling, perhaps, are the characters of King Shaul and his son Jonathan. The Biblical stories in which they feature are fleshed out into a well-rounded portrait of life in a royal family that’s barely royal and well aware of their precarious status – more like war chieftains trying to figure out what kingship might mean.

Fivash’s portrait of Israel at this time in its history is far more realistic, historically, than many of the Bible-story images we have.  It was by no means a united and cohesive nation; the tribes and their “heathen” neighbours lived side by side in a complicated world where alliances – to other people, as well as to gods – were constantly shifting, and honour was the most important value.


Fivash also shows a refreshingly realistic attitude towards her Biblical source material – never departing from it in any shocking or iconoclastic ways, but recognizing that the Bible is a human document as well as God’s word.  She chooses, for example, to rely on an early manuscript of 1 Samuel that gives Goliath’s height as being closer to seven feet rather than the traditional nine, on the grounds that seven feet is much more believable and later scribes probably exaggerated his height to make David’s accomplishment more impressive.  Her meticulous research, exhaustive knowledge of her subject matter, and excellent characterization make this a novel not to be missed.  It’s the first of a planned series on David, and I’m looking forward eagerly to the rest.



Filed under Fiction -- historical, Fiction -- inspirational

17 responses to “Dahveed, by Terri Fivash

  1. David-Michael Wilson

    I must agree; Fivash has truly used Divine Imagination – or somehow managed to defy all possible reasoning and logic and gone back in time -to create the life and times of David. As having been named after the well known Biblical caracter, David, I have grown to become atached to every book which features him – whether accurate or too much over the top. Having read a diverse amount of books over the years on David, I went in to reading this book with open eyes, as I had just finished reading two other books – “Michal,” by Jill Eileen Smith (an excellent read, though not as engaging as Fivash’s books; and “Bathsheba,” by Tracy A. Morgan (a bitter disappointment, unfortunately).
    Initially, I came across “Dahveed” by what some may call chance, but I call Divne intervention, as I had gone online to see what was the latest book in the Biblical fiction department, as i had read many, if not all, of the current and past books in my Adventist Book Center, and hoped that there was something to piqué my interests. Coincidentally enough, I had just finished “Ruth & Boaz: Strangers in the Land,” in December 2008, and was pleasantly surprised to see that Terri L. Fivash had a new book (“Dahveed”) out.
    However, therein lay the rub: though the book was freshly published, being located in Bermuda did not mean that the book had reached our Adventist Book Center yet (and more than likely probably wouldn’t, as the store probably wouldn’t be ordering any new books until our annual campmeeting — which was only a month and a half away). Still, it wouldn’t hurt asking them, I thought.
    Upon reaching the counter and asking the Sales Representative about the book, I got arched eyebrows, shrugged shoulders, and an “I am sorry; we don’t have that book in. Are you certain of the name?” I sighed and nodded, and was just about to leave when the Manager came out and the Sales Rep. told her jokngly of my inquiry. “Dahveed,” she asked me, “written by Terri Fivash?” My eyes brightened as I turned around and exclaimed, “Yes; do you have it?” Sadly, she shook her head, “No; but I do have the only copy that I got while I was away on the quarterly book conference. I picked it up, but couldn’t get into it, so I didn’t bother ordering any more.”
    I was shocked and dumbfounded; dumbfounded because I couldn’t possibly believe anyone who had read anything by Terri Fivash couldn’t get into any of her books (but there was a first time for everything!) and shocked because the only book [at the time] in the store would soon be joining the other books in my library.
    After purchasing the book, I quickly began reading it and found myself on Chapter Four long before dinner… and I had a meeting to go to shortly afterwards!
    Anyways, I knew I had the weekend to continue reading the book — it was Thursday — and as an avid reader, I quickly devoured the book in two weeks. I hadn’t realized the book would be one of many until I got to the end, and was hungry for more…
    I must say, Fivash leaves her readers both satisfied and hungry for more at the same time — it is anyone’s guess as to where she will end the series exactly, and likewise wonder if she will write any more books thereafter.
    That being said, her second installment — “Dahveed: Yahweh’s Warrior” is on shelves now (and once again not yet in Bermuda) and I am anxiously awaiting my copy to become available.

  2. Ruth

    Yes, I saw Fivash at the GC Session in ’05 and she was reading and taking notes from a very large book entitled The Jewish Family or something like that. Something that I knew was a reference book for a Biblical novel. And this was while she was sitting at the little table at the “ABC” for book signings. I then proceeded to ask her what her next story was and she told me David. But, it ended up that my Mom bought the book first and so I have just borrowed it from her and am making my way through it slowly. It is excellent work although I find it harder to get into it than Joseph.

  3. Taylor

    I love all of Terri Fivash’s books and I can’t wait till the third one comes out

  4. Gregory Gerrans

    I had started with Terri Fovash’s books in 2002 by reading Joseph. Later i learned she had written Ruth and Boaz as well, and added that to my library. When David came out, I already knew what a meticulous researcher and interesting author Terri is, and promptly bought the book. Now I have all of her books to date, and am waiting with anticipation for her third installment in the ‘Dahveed’ series. I have particularly enjoyed the way Terri shows her characters to be quite human, and yet interacting with God in a very believeable, and encouraging way. I see how I can also have a relationship with my God, just like Joseph, and Dahveed.

  5. Danette Reitz

    Just finished reading Dahveed (Book 1), I have the second one on my shelf but was checking to see if the 3rd one was out yet. I read Ruth and Boaz first, then discovered Joseph and just can’t wait to read another of Terri Fivash’s books. I enjoy the depth of her research and the great character development. The stories help me to understand the times and events in the Bible. I get a fresh perspective on the Bible and it encourages me to think deeper about other stories.

  6. Mason Neil

    I’m reading Dahveed for the second time and cannot wait for the third one. I love how Terri Fivash takes items from Ruth & Boaz and ties them in with Dahveed… She is a very intelligent writer and has definitely done her homework.

  7. Harriett Byrd

    When is the next installment of the Daveed series being released? I have been waiting for about a year and a half and am anxious to read about Daveed
    The Fugative. I love reading these books.

    • David Michael Wilson

      Actually, Dahveed: The Fugitive has been released, however it is only in the e-book format due to one reason or the other. Here is her apology (as found on http://www.terrifivash.com)

      Dahveed 3: Yahweh’s Fugutive is available in e-book format!!

      Here’s the story in brief. Unbeknownst to me, a question was raised regarding the story line of the book back in October. I joined the discussion in early January. Then, during the on-going conversation, the decision came down to the Review that they were to cancel the Dahveed series. In spite of all the editors could do, the decision stood.

      It’s been quite a scramble since late in January to find some way to get Dahveed 3 on the market in some form! The editors at the Review helped in every way they could, and as of March 10, 2011, Dahveed 3 is available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com as an e-book. Right now, this is the only format we can offer. My apologies to those readers who do not have Kindles, Nooks or computers on which to read it. Unfortunately, I do not have information on when it will be available in hardcopy.

      For those of you who go the e-store to buy it, there is no cover picture for it. I’m working on getting one, but I did not want to hold up the release of the book any longer. Maps are included in the e-book, and illustrations will be added later. For those of you who buy it now, the illustrations will be posted on this web site (http://www.terrifivash.com) for you to download when they are ready. Thank you all for your patience!

      The website also posts her Cultural notes, Character list, etc. as well.

      Hope this is helpful.

  8. David Michael Wilson

    Wow, to have my comment replied to by another revered author does my heart good. (For those of you who don’t know, trudyj65 is actually another great author in her own right, and has published such books as Esther: A Story of Courage, and also Lydia: A Story of Philippi. Each are Biblical novels and also surpass the art of story-telling, at least Biblically speaking, for she does her research credit – just like Terri L. Fivash.
    So, while you are ready for your next installment on the David series, or are looking for some other books out there with a Biblical flair, check out her books.

    • Thank you! How kind of you to say. By the way, I’ve just realized I can’t get Dahveed as an e-book because I’m in Canada, but I’ve emailed Terri to ask if there’s any chance it will be made available to non-US readers soon (I have a Kobo rather than a Kindle, so Amazon is no good to me, and Barnes and Noble won’t sell Nook Books to a non-US address). I still hope to read it soon!

  9. David Michael Wilson

    You’re welcome! Well, do not fret, Mrs. Morgan-Cole, should you wish to read the book, and Mrs. Fivash says she cannot make any other sort of allowance, and the e-book is not forthcoming for sometime in your area, how about this option: I send it to you as a gift via Barnes & Noble gift option. While I may not live in the United States, I do, however, have a mailing address, so I will be more than willing to oblige you in that option. Let me know and we can possibly set something up. Keep up the good work and continue to strive for excellence!

  10. Stephanie

    I just went to bn.com (barnes and noble) and they don’t currently have this book (Dahveed3) any idea how I would get it? I’m very sad about the R&H pub assn decision not to continue the series.

  11. Stephanie

    Ignore my comment about unavailability. I decided to search by title instead of author and found it. No clue why it wouldn’t come up by author (and her other books were there)

    I really enjoyed her previous books and look forward to reading this one.

    • That’s odd, because I did find it searching by author. Hope you enjoy it, and I’m glad modern technology is allowing her to continue the series, even though R&H has made what I think is a poor decision to discontinue publishing it.

  12. Angella

    What do think about the fact that the Review and Herald is not going to print the rest of the Dahveed series?

    • I think it’s a very unfortunate choice. They are great books, and Terri is a great writer. But I’ve been around publishing all my life, and I know there are many complex reasons why a publisher chooses to release or not release a particular book, so I respect their decision even though I disagree with it.

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