Mighty Men: “Day of War” Book Review

From the back cover: “Day of War is the first book in the Lion of War series–the intense, gritty, and stylistic portrayal of the Mighty Men of Israel, a ragtag band of warriors …”

And it delivers. Wow.

This is the REAL David, and the REAL Mighty Men. This is the warrior, not the watered-down, seeker-sensitive psalmist. DISCLAIMER: Don’t read this if you can’t stomach a graphic, brutal–and realistic–account of true warriors.

Day of War ReviewThis well-researched, well-written look into the daily life of warriors in 1000 B.C. is a great historical fiction account of biblical armies and King David’s mighty men. Written by author and US Army Chaplain Cliff Graham, it’s an excellent peek into warrior culture. I had the pleasure of interviewing Cliff, and I asked him what was his hope for this series:

It was my prayer and burden that men would see the fire in the Scriptures. That they would see that it was more than just Jesus petting lambs or a soft-faced David with product in his hair strumming a harp. I didn’t want to create a dumb, macho image of Biblical battle, but a real portrait of suffering, hardship, and honor, themes that I think men resonate with.

Above it all, I just want to tell the truth about what haunts the hearts of men, both good and bad. No kid gloves, just raw, gritty honesty about our battles as a gender.

Day of War tells the story interwoven between the scripture accounts, the one that I had always imagined as a boy, the one I had always hoped was there. Graham was able to create a convincing and historically accurate back story as seen through the eyes of Benaiah, one of David’s Mighty Men. It gives the writing a personal perspective that is missing from many other historical accounts.

From the routine down times, where joking, horseplay, rumors and grumbling are the norm, to the bloody realities of battle, Cliff Graham describes a military lifestyle that remains unchanged even though the weapons and uniforms have changed. His action sequences of graphic battles against the enemies of Israel are riveting and realistic. I couldn’t decide what I enjoyed more: the action sequences, or the portrayal of these warriors as spiritual men who took their relationship with God as seriously as their relationship with each other.

Graham, in reply to how his military service affects his writing:

I think it has given me an ability to glimpse into the soul of warriors. Each man faces battle differently, whether it is internal struggle or outward conflict. Becoming and then serving as a soldier has put me around a lot of different types of men from many backgrounds, united by their desire to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others.

As the first book of a series, Graham hints that there is much more to come — shadowy angelic (demonic?) messengers; talk about “the covering,” a supernatural power and protection; the internal Hebrew struggles between King Saul’s army and David’s army … it all made me excited to get on with the next installment, Covenant of War. In fact, I’m going to go download it right now… use the link to buy your own copy from Amazon.

I wrote this review for Third Option Men. I am doing a book giveaway this week, so go to this link and leave a comment–you could win a free copy of Day of War