Saturday, February 9, 2008


Title: Premonition

Series: City of God #2 (#1, Transgression, is hard to find, so I’ve not yet obtained a hard copy to review yet. However, you can read #2 without #1; the author provides enough hints.)

Author: Randall Ingermanson

Genre: Time travel/Historical

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Premonition:

Rivka woke from a light sleep, her heart thudding. Had she heard a child scream? She listened, her whole body taut, absorbing the sounds of the sleeping city. Jerusalem, city of white stone. City of God. City of fear.


She must have imagined it. Rivka snuggled herself into the warm hollow of Ari’s body, willing herself to relax. So much had changed since she’d left Berkeley last summer. Now with Hanukkah coming—

A thin, reedy voice screamed outside in the street. “
Imma! Where are you, Imma?

A rush of adrenaline shot through Rivka. Good grief, some little kid was out there in the cold, shrieking for Mama.

Rivka waited, listening. She and Ari were camped out in a small house with their hosts, Baruch and Hana. It was horribly unprivate. Back in America, her friends would just
freak to hear she’d gone off and gotten married and was sleeping on the floor in the same room with another couple. But this was Jerusalem, another world. She couldn’t go back.

Stuck in first-century Jerusalem, a couple from the twenty-first century seeks their place—and the place of their futuristic knowledge.

The Writing: Premonition contains good, straight-forward writing. Three-dimensional characters bring very individual, specific, and identifiable goals, hero and villain alike. The plot builds steadily and reaches a very intense but satisfying climax. The research seems thorough, adding so much color and life this almost read more like a historical novel than a time-travel story.

My one complaint, if I must pick something, would be the lack of flow. Mr. Ingermanson seems to work very hard to write cleanly and to provide a good story. Thus the writing seems a bit rule-oriented and lacks the organic flow found in the best writing. However, this is largely due to this being an earlier novel of Mr. Ingermanson, and this small flaw will impede few readers’ pleasures.

The Content: Like the writing, the content of Premonition is clean and solid. Spiritual themes are as plentiful as different character motivations—meddling, forgiveness of enemies, the pursuit of honor—yet they intertwine into a single strong cord of truth.

But a couple side notes: Premonition does follow a married couple and the main female protagonist becomes a midwife. Thus the book carries some scenes pertaining to those things. However, most of them are as simple as the description found in the excerpt above: “Rivka snuggled herself into the warm hollow of Ari’s body.”

The second thing to note is that this story’s time period covers Roman whipping, stoning, and martyrdom. Mr. Ingermanson makes every element count and describe with only the necessary details, but he does remain historically accurate—no modern sanitization of a brutal time.

Summary: Premonition is a high-paced novel that is both intriguing in premise and thought-provoking in content. It’s a good read for most and a must-read for those with historical or Jewish interests. The only two groups I would suggest avoiding this are kids under sixteen or readers with low tolerances for violence/death/blood (martyrs and midwiving).

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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(Check out book three's review here.)

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