Strength by Lauren H. Salisbury is part two in her literary saga that is loosely based on the Biblical life of Moses. The characters, settings, and even the plot are completely reimagined and a reader could easily read Strength and never know it was based on a Bible story. Probably the most peculiar thing about this book, and what attracted me to it in the first place, is that it has been turned into a work of science fiction.
Strength picks up with Mahsan (the representation of Moses) as a teenage boy living on an enormous alien space cruiser with his adopted mother, the Ra’hos Reemah, and a host of other Esarelian aliens. The fact that Mahsan is a human has made life among the superior alien race very difficult for the boy and his mother. He is treated like an outcast and it leads him to dream of going to the planet where he was born so he can learn what other humans are like. His mother warns him to never act on that dream, but pressure from some of the more prideful Esarelians pushes him to his limit and he takes a step that he would later regret.
Ms. Salisbury has created an alien race of beings that is very complex and intriguing, to say the least. There are aliens who are royalty, politicians, scientists, and military, all maneuvering and plotting to get their needs met above all others. Her characters are interesting and all are colorful in their own particular way. Whereas part one in the series, Courage, focused mostly on the humans who brought Mahsan into the world and protected him, Strength turns the spotlight onto his adopted mother Reemah, her friends, family, and enemies. Ms. Salisbury is particularly skilled at capturing the interplay between characters and describing their innermost thoughts and motivations. The fact that this book is a science fiction reimaging of the story of Moses is like icing on the cake for me, however, readers who are not familiar with the story of Moses and do not like sci-fi will still find much to love in Strength. At its core, this book is a well-written, character-driven story full of political intrigue, family bonds, action, and romance.