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Review: By Far Euphrates by Deborah Alcock

Young Jack travelled to Armenia with his beloved father who hoped to find ancient manuscripts, a passion that resurfaced after his wife died.  Father and son, Christians, took rooms with Armenian Christian families who nursed them when the dreaded fevers struck.

Jack became one of the family, in sorrow as well as joy. His English heart could not accept the comprehensive and minute persecution that filled the lives of his new friends, including the beautiful Shushan who lived under the constant threat of being snatched into a Turkish harem.  When the ultimate danger threatened, Jack offered an amazing and satisfying solution…until the Turkish persecution began in full force.  

This moving story, full of deeply-grounded faith, follows Jack and his adopted race through disease, joy, danger, sadness, and unbearable suffering.  It is almost impossible to put down this well-crafted novel and, even though it is full of evil and sadness, the central message is one of faith, hope, and trust.

Although Jack is a fictional character, each of the experiences of his Armenian friends is modeled on real-life happenings.  At the cost of her own health, Deborah Alcock, a beloved novelist and a contemporary of this 19th century massacre, wrote By Far Euphrates to raise support for Christian Armenians—the orphans, the widows, and the few mutilated, surviving men.

Because she wanted to focus on the peace God granted the martyrs, Deborah Alcock veiled the horrors in her novel.  Furthermore, she understood those who say, “We will not read about this subject; we will not think of it.  It is too horrible. … We cannot take up this burden in addition to the rest.  It would sink us.”  Those who, for this reason, decline to examine the evidence themselves “ought to accept the conclusions of those who have.”  The conclusion Miss Alcock reached, and ably promoted in her novel, was that we may not let the dependents of martyrs suffer if we can help them.

This book is not an easy read, but perhaps a necessary one for Christians, especially considering how many of our brothers and sisters in the faith still do suffer. Obviously it is not suitable for young teens, but older teens and adults will find their faith strengthened and their own troubles put into perspective. 

We know of persecution in many parts of the world.  As Deborah Alcock acknowledged, you may, in the face of your current responsibilities and burdens, not be able to be personally involved in alleviating the horrors of modern persecution.  However, organizations such Voice of the Martyrs will show you how to pray and help.

This book is available from Inheritance Publications.

Disclosure I received a free review copy of By Far Euphrates in order to share my honest opinions.

By Far Euphrates is my 24th book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

One Comment

  1. Eva says:

    Sounds like quite the book! I had never heard of it, but I’d look forward to reading it, if I’ll be able to get it.
    Thanks for the review.

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