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(The Canaan Trilogy #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  9,446 ratings  ·  467 reviews
Sarah’s story begins in the cradle of civilization: the Sumerian city-state of Ur, a land of desert heat, towering gardens, and immense wealth. The daughter of a powerful lord, Sarah balks at the marriage her father has planned for her. On her wedding day, she impulsively flees to the vast, empty marshes outside the city walls, where she meets a young man named Abram, son o ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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C.L. Smith Sarah is a good read. A cut above the majority of biblical novels in my estimation. Halter doesn't follow the Genesis text precisely--Abram and Sarai …moreSarah is a good read. A cut above the majority of biblical novels in my estimation. Halter doesn't follow the Genesis text precisely--Abram and Sarai being 1/2 brother and sister, things like that. He adds a touch of fantasy--her ageless beauty. The visuals of the courts of Babylon and Egypt are particularly stunning and the characters well developed. All in all the author gives a fresh telling to an old, familiar tale that makes it worth the read. (less)

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Heidi The Reader
A historical fiction about the early days of Abraham from Sarah's (Sarai's) point-of-view.

I think that this novel wasted an opportunity for a great story. Like a majority of women in the Bible, Sarai's life was largely untold. So, Marek Halter had a blank slate to work with.

And what he wrote for Sarai was a life of waiting. Waiting for Abram to talk to his god. Waiting for Abram to come back from war. Waiting to become pregnant. Waiting and wandering, looking for a home.

If I had written this sto
The Book of Marek

1. Now in those days there dwelled in the land of the France'ites a man named Ma'rek, who was a prophet of the Lord.

2. And Ma'rek had suffered much for his faith and undergone many trials. And he had seen how strange are the Lord's ways.

3. Now Ma'rek had need of gold. And he prayed to the Lord, saying, show me how I might get me riches, that I may further exalt Thy name.

4. Then that night an angel came to Ma'rek in a dream. And the angel said, write thou a history of Abraham's w
Apr 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I have two ladies in my reading group to thank for this read. I remember Rebecca and Robyn saying how much they enjoyed The Red Tent, and as I browsed the book shelves at the local thrift store, I pulled the book Sarah because of its title, took a second look at it because one reviewer mentioned its likeness to The Red Tent, and thought a fictional narrative about the life of Sarah (and Abraham) would be interesting, to say the least.

Before, during and after my reading of Sarah, I read the bibli
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written and rich account of the author's impression of the life of Sarai, the matriarch of the Nation of Israel.
It begin's with her initiation at the age of twelve in the city of Ur, where she is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy nobleman ,after her 'first blood'. She is then given as a bride to a brutal Chaldean nobleman, and flees from his clutches, where she encounters Abram, a young and dashing man from a nomadic tribe near Ur. She is brought home by her father's guar
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fine example of expecting one thing and getting another. Objectively, not a bad book. If Sarah was just a basic historical fiction of the time, that is. But as a woman of the Bible, I was expecting a book with Biblically accurate story. It frustrated me so much I couldn't look at the book objectively.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic read, especially for those who are curious about events from the Bible and how they could have related to other stories and timelines. The story of Sarah, though some things might be stretched for fiction, is wildly interesting and spans over many decades, finally ending in her greatest triumph and wish, which was for a son, even if he came to her in old age. I grew up religious and always enjoyed the stories of the Bible because they seemed too incredible to believe and now ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Halter takes extensive creataive liberties with sacred historical figures. I do prefer Orson Scott Cards version better - Women of Genesis series with a book also titled Sarah - mainly because those books are less sexual and likely closer to actual events.

This version is well written and easy to read. Sarai's emotions are strong pulling you into the center of her heart. Halter creates a childhood for her with no historical connection but is interesting. Much of the first part of the book fo
Jul 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: babble-added
this book is rather heinous. an intriguing take on the positions&beliefs of the characters but made ridiculous. ...more
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
SARAH is one of three novels (The Canaan Trilogy) presented as a series, using women of the Old Testament as the central characters in each one. Of the three women, the person of Sarah is by far the most well known to people. This novel imagines Sarah as a young girl born of privilege in Ur, a Sumerian city-state. She is destined for an arranged marriage. As the reader would expect, she rebels against this destiny and consequently finds herself on a far-different path from that of obedient wife, ...more
Apr 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Another work of Biblically inspired works. Provides a neat perspective of Sarai (before she becomes Sarah). A good look at ancient Mesopotamian culture. Illustrates well the romance between Sarah and Abraham and how it grew from when they were Sarai and Abram into their old age and the miracle birth of their first child. Books of this sort make Biblical stories more personal and relatable.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Youth knows nothing of time, old age knows nothing but time. When you're young, you play hide-and-seek with the shade. When you're old, you seek out the warmth of the sun. But the shade is always there, while the sun is fleeting. It rises, crosses the sky, and disappears, and we wait impatiently for its return. These days, I love time as much as I love Isaac, the son I waited so long to see." Sarah

So is the moral of life... according to Sarah wife of Abraham who was once Sarai taken by Abra
Josephine (Jo)
This book brings the Bible story of Abram and Sarah to life! Although a work of fiction it has all the necessary facts taken from the Bible story that we all know and simply makes the different characters seem real, like seeing them in three dimentions where before they were in two. Mr. Halter has such an empathy with the female side of Sarah, he shows her courage but also her fears and vulnerability. We see what it was like to be a woman in the time of Abram, someone to be used as a piece of me ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unreadable
I was assured from several sources that if I enjoyed The Red Tent, I would enjoy Sarah. No two books could be further apart in their value. The Red Tent is a fascinating, nuanced, well researched tale that gives voice and agency to women who are only glanced over in the Bible. Sarah is a bland, generically romantic story that bears no resemblance to any characters or cultures from the Bible. I don't normally set books aside, but by page 156, it became apparent that Halter was going to reduce Sar ...more
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
This is like 3.5 stars rounded up.

I rounded up because this was a fun read and easy to get through. I enjoyed the historical aspect of it, but I am in no way knowledgeable about ancient Mesopotamian history or culture so I have no idea whether or not this is historically or culturally accurate or well-researched. This is probably why I enjoyed this novel as much as I did, as I didn't need to nitpick for accuracy.

I have to admit, I am a sucker for fictional reinterpretations of history and histor
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sarah by Marek Halter

After reading this for the second time (the first being in 2008 when I just commenced on a 4-year study of the Bible and Marek Halter's writings were recommended) I think I enjoyed it even more than the first time through.

I do appreciate how nothing in Halter's work contradicts the inspired writing of scripture, but just allows a 'story' to fill in the gaps of what we might imagine was the 'life' of the character in question.

My first time through I was not so familiar with t
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read the Red Tent and loved it, so when I picked out this book, I was curious.

The language of the book is delicate as the milk that flow in the Pharaoh's pool and timeless as Sarai's enthralling beauty. Many memorable lines lights up the ancient mind of Sarai and highlights the author's keen observation. The plots moves along with grace and right amount of suspense. It kept my attention.

My only regret, however, is I do not care for Sarai when she first appears. Why all the fuss about the bl
The author's personal beliefs certainly influences his writing. Comparing the Red Tent, Sarah by Orson Scott Card and this book and can tell how the author's personal beliefs influenced the way they told the story. I thought the Red Tent and this book had a lot of interesting details about culture and customs; but I liked personality traits that Card gave to the characters best.
Rose Ann
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009
If you read and liked The Red will like this as well.
I read it in a handful of days.
Cant wait to read Zipporah...the second of this trilogy!
My thought to follow shortly...
Ann Keller
Oct 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Sarai was born to one of the great lords of Ur. Hers was a life filled with wealth and beauty until the fateful day when she became a woman. Suddenly, she was expected to marry a man she’d never met and serve him as a virtual slave, his every whim her command. It was not to be borne!

Sarai flees her father’s house and plunges into the countryside, where she stumbles across Abram, a simple man to whom she is strangely drawn. Although Sarai is caught and returned to her father, she takes a concocti
Camille Siddartha
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story. A woman with such beauty who was Muslim marries a man who is not and becomes the mother of all nations. She ends up with a pharaoh who gives her back because of nightmares...For some reason Moses agrees with this and she is cursed with this beauty until the one who creates lets her conceive...She then becomes the mother of all nations...

Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
While I appreciate the author's intent of bringing Sarai/Sarah to life, I felt the narration could have been done better, especially the birth and life of Isaac, and some of the sexual details bordered on pornographic. When it comes to novels based on the Bible, I think I'll stick to ones from Christian publishers.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow! What an incredible story! The trials, rites of passage, weddings and rituals that women went through during this period of history were incredible and over the top! I am so thankful that I live in the 21st century! I was enamored with this story and also disgusted by some of the ridicule and customs put upon women. I enjoy the celebrations of weddings in this time but also found some of the details of the ceremonies uncomfortable and very unusual. I was intrigued by the storyline and empath ...more
Lauren Flesher
Nov 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Incredibly poorly written. Not even close to The Red Tent, which celebrates the complexities of the female experience and celebrates womanhood, while the main character of this book is one-dimensional and exists entirely through the men who surround her.

From the very start, the portrayal of womanhood is clumsy and inaccurate. Within a few paragraphs, I thought to myself 'this has to be written by a man. No woman would describe menstruation like this.' Blood does not gush out like a severe wound
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
From the historical standpoint of this book, I loved it. I loved the scenarios Mr. Halter put out to explain the Bible stories, and I loved the way he described the cities of Ur, the palace of the Pharoah, and the lands of Canaan and Hebron. I thought the characteristics of Sarai/Sarah were really well done, and I loved the personality she was given.

However the book was slightly too sexual for my taste. I realize that this was part of statement being made that Bible is not a pure and holy book,
Kathryn Bashaar
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
In contrast to Martha, by another author, which I just reviewed, this book was my idea of really good Bible-inspired fiction. Sarah is a fully-developed character, with human strengths, human emotions and human flaws. She is a strong woman, which I always love in a book, who takes control of her life, and causes herself trouble while she's doing it. Sarah and Abraham's meeting and marriage are fictionalized, the cause of Sarah's infertility is fictionalized, and it's very well-done and plausible ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Oh, I SO wanted this book to be good. I really, really did. And it really, really wasn't. One of the issues I have with this book is a minor one, but it really sticks in my craw: the map at the front of the book showing the "Flight From Ur" doesn't match the description of the trek that Abram and Sarai took after leaving Terah. Also, the word "flight" implies urgency and danger. I would think that after 15 or so years, the urgency would have faded a bit. . .

For better entertainment than thus bo
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, historical
An interesting look into Sumerian and early Biblical history, and compelling enough that I kept reading even though it felt lacking. The characters weren't as well developed as I wanted them to be and I felt like it was a book hastily written. Good airplane reading.
Monica S.
great story...a bit farfetched, but then again, its the bible (no offense) but not everything has to make sense or have logic :)
Kim Savage
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Myeh. This version of Sarah is more like a seedy romance novel. The cover compares it to The Red Tent. Not even close.
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great story told from an outside view looking into the birth of monotheism. It was written well and kept me intrigued from the very beginning. The ending seemed a little rushed, but in all it was a good story where most loose ends are explained.
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Marek Halter was born in Poland in 1936. During World War II, he and his parents narrowly escaped from the Warsaw ghetto. After a time in Russia and Uzbekistan, they emigrated to France in 1950. There Halter studied pantomime with Marcel Marceau and embarked on a career as a painter that led to several international exhibitions. In 1967, he founded the International Committee for a Negotiated Peac ...more

Other books in the series

The Canaan Trilogy (3 books)
  • Zipporah, Wife of Moses (Canaan, #2)
  • Lilah (Canaan, #3)

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