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 Historical Fiction Review   


The Dark Sun Rises
By Denise Williamson
Bethany House Publishers, 1998
Trade paperback, $11.99 (480 pages)
ISBN: 1-55661-882-4

In The Dark Sun Rises, Denise Williamson blends the elements of historical fiction with Christian fiction to create the first novel of a trilogy entitled Roots of Faith

Set in Charleston, the novel delves into the question of "Was God truly there?" during the years before the Civil War when slaveholders sometimes treated their "property" with benevolence. Abram Callcott, the owner and master of Delora plantation and patriarch the family, believes his duty as a godly man is to treat his slaves with kindness. 

His son, Brant, hasn't inherited his father's social conscience. When he learns Joseph, his manservant, can read he administers a beating despite his father's strict policy against physical violence on the plantation. Brant, believing he's keeping the social order, hopes to silence Joseph. 

Upon learning of his son's brutality, Abram questions his own faith and practices. Long apprehensive about the integrity of owning another human, he sends Joseph to Charleston where he thrives under the watchful eyes of a good teacher. As Joseph learns, he finds himself scrutinizing the status quo and facing incredible choices. 

The Dark Sun Rises examines the difficult question of whether or not one could be a kind slave owner as well as a Christian and the transformative quality of education.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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