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Sunrise on the Mediterranean    by Suzanne Frank order for
Sunrise on the Mediterranean
by Suzanne Frank
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (1999)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

First they witnessed the miracle of the Exodus and then they survived the destruction of Atlantis. In this third book in Suzanne Frank's highly imaginative and exciting time travel series, the intrepid Chloe and Cheftu witness the birth of Jerusalem and live the events of the Bible. In a surprising turn of events, Chloe at first returns to her own time. But, unable to find her beloved husband Cheftu, Chloe once again time travels to emerge in the time of David. The Philistines take her to be a goddess and she's placed in the unenviable position of negotiating for them when they inevitably lose. Chloe is taken to Israel as a slave and then plays a pivotal role in capturing Jerusalem. Surprisingly enough, she does all this in her own body and not occupying someone else's, as was the case in the previous two books.

In the meantime, Cheftu is trapped on a tiny islet in the middle of the sea, but instead of Chloe, he finds RaEm inhabiting Sibylla's body. These two former lovers, now sworn enemies, somehow make their way to an Egypt under the rule of the despotic Pharaoh Akhenaten. He has brought mighty Egypt to her knees by completely eradicating the old way of life in favor of his one god, Aten. RaEm's lust for power surfaces and we see her plotting to rule Egypt through the Pharaoh. Meanwhile Cheftu set out to find Chloe and after many trials and tribulations, they're at last united. They go together to Israel, meet King David, see the Ark of the Covenant, witness its deadly powers, see the rise of the holy city of Jerusalem and live through and become part of events of the Bible.

Readers of the first two books expect Suzanne Frank to mix facts and fiction in a fantastic way, and then present them in the form of an exciting story. In this episode, ancient Israel comes alive in the author's capable hands. She has delved deep into the Jewish faith and has tried to explain its origins. She also shows how mythology might be rooted in fact. However, not all is hunky dory, as ideological differences spring up between Chloe, a woman of the 1990s, and Cheftu, a Frenchman who holds everything biblical as sacred and unquestionable. The first half of the book is full of action. But the latter half is mostly given up to theological discussions, with David and Nathan propounding the existence of the one God and his dictate, a Bible in the making. However, the story - very imaginative, highly religious and slightly tedious - ends in a most action-packed and dramatic way.

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