• Sarah: Book One of the Canaan Trilogy

  • A Novel
  • By: Marek Halter
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first novel in a dazzling new trilogy about the women of the Old Testament by internationally best-selling author Marek Halter. 

The story of Sarah - and of history itself - 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 is raised in great luxury, but balks at the arranged marriage her father has planned for her. The groom is handsome and a nobleman, but on their wedding day, Sarah panics and impulsively flees to the vast, empty marshes outside the city walls. There she meets a young man, Abram, a member of a nomadic tribe of outsiders. Drawn to this exotic stranger, Sarah spends the night with him, but reluctantly returns to her father's house. But on her return, still desperate to avoid another wedding, she drinks a poisonous potion that will make her barren and thus unfit for marriage.  

Many years later, Abram's people return to Ur, and he discovers that the lost, rebellious girl from the marsh has been transformed into the most splendid and revered woman in Sumeria - the high priestess of the goddess Ishtar. But the memory of their night together has always haunted Sarah, and she gives up her exalted life to join Abram's tribe and follow the one true God, an invisible deity who speaks only to Abram. It is then that her journey truly begins - a journey that holds the key to her remarkable destiny as the mother of nations.

From the great ziggurat of Ishtar and the fertile valleys of Canaan to the bedchamber of the mighty Pharaoh himself, Sarah's story reveals an ancient world full of beauty, intrigue, and miracles.

©2003 Marek Halter (P)2004 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"The writing is lively and shimmering with detail....The tale rolls along smoothly." (Booklist)
"Halter isn't afraid to present headstrong Sarah as bitter in her old age, and his complex portrait of the biblical matriarch gives this solid if predictable novel a dash of freshness." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Sarah: Book One of the Canaan Trilogy

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

An easy listen, not great literature

In a lot of ways this reminded me of a watered-down version of The Red Tent. It's a good listen and the story follows closely enough with the Biblical text. It's predictable and the narrator is not my favorite. But it's fun and light.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

So disappointed!

I really thought this book would be great, but I was sorely disappointed. I found myself to not care a bit about Sarai and she's always been one of my favorite Biblical characters! Some of the ideas were great, but I felt that the author took too many liberties with the story. And, although I normally really like this narrator, something was lacking in her performance this time.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Content not suitable for minors

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes I would take out the pornographic description of sex between abraham and sarah.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sarah her strength

Have you listened to any of Bernadette Dunne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

Do you think Sarah: Book One of the Canaan Trilogy needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

yes of course there could be a follow up she had issac!

Any additional comments?

This author has unfortunately used Christian characters to write a very provacative pornographic book. The story is excellent but if she wants to include such graphics needs to stick to a secular market. I read Christian books to get away from all the cursing and porno in secular books

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

good book

I liked the story and I did look forward to my driving times when I would be listening, but I do think that it could have been a "great" listen with another narrator.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An Enchanting Story

A Captivating Read!

Hi, I read the book rather than listened, and I loved it! Yes, some may be offended by the liberties taken, but the lifestyles and pagan elements are probably more accurate than other stories of the completely pious lives of the matriarchs. If you liked The Red Tent, you'll probably like this, though I found this a bit less cheesy than the Red Tent. Still, the genre of ancient historical fiction is a beautiful setting and makes the novel a captivating read. But if your squeamish, stay away - there is plenty of sex in this book. I think this type of novel, along with Red Tent, will appeal more to Jewish readers and those with an anthropological background, rather than those most comfortable with the Christian view of the Bible, Old Testament, Matriarchs & Patriarchs, etc.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Almost Amazing

This book was very thrilling at first. Great love story.. Really kept my attention. About 2/3rds in however it gets depressing and hard to finish. Also kinda kooky with invisible gods talking to everyone and telling them where to go and what to do. I rolled my eyes a lot towards the end. Good book overall though.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Do not read the Orson C Card Version

Would you consider the audio edition of Sarah: Book One of the Canaan Trilogy to be better than the print version?

I read both the Orson Scott Card version and this. This version is FAR superior in fact, story line and sticking to the actual bible. Bernadette Dune was fantastic. she went from child to old woman brilliantly. This is a very passionate story of pagan religion, and how Abraham started a nation with his wife Sarah who was baron until her old age, they talk about believing in the one true god can over come everything. (Mr. Card's version is a fairy tale and made for those who are not looking for a factual story line, it's very Christin oriented) If you are familiar with the Old Testament as I am ( I have read both old and new testaments several times) and I am an Atheist. These are stories that have been passed down through the centuries, and you shouldn't mess with what it written. (for the convince of your religion, Mr Card is a Mormon)

What other book might you compare Sarah: Book One of the Canaan Trilogy to and why?

"Lilah" also by Marek Halter another story from woman in the bible. Very well written and preformed.

Have you listened to any of Bernadette Dunne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Bernadette Dunne is wonderful at doing voices you always know which character is speaking. she can do a child an old woman, or a sensual siren. Even men's voice are done well.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book!

Listening to it was a calming experience and I looked forward to hearing it every day as I drove to and from work.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Awesome

This is one of the best books I've listened to. I couldn't put it down. Even though the author took some liberties with the story of Abraham and Sarah, it was very well written. The reader was so believable. I can't wait to read the other books by this author.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

More fiction and gratuitous sex than historical hypothesis

I read a lot of biblical fiction. Some are to romanticized, some are more fiction than fact, and some go beautiful job of taking the culture/scripture/outside sources to create a reasonable and educational tool. This book falls into my second category.

It’s a decent story. It hits the major points of the story of Sarai/Sarah. But in between those segments the author takes exceptional liberty.

I was especially surprised at the interpretation he gave to Sarai’s time in Egypt. There was no need to explore the supposed consummation between Sarai and the Pharaoh to the extent he did.

I’m not a prude. I read all genres of books. But if the author has to squeeze in gratuitous sex to keep the listener interested it’s a reflection on the author.

If you read listen to this book, come to it as more of a story than historical fiction.