Yaweh uses broken men. I don’t know why he uses David, why he uses us.”
When Cliff Graham introduced his Lion of War series with the first installment, Day of War, I knew in the first few pages that readers were in for something seldom seen in faith based fiction. Here was a brutally honest book that told the story of broken men seeking to make some sense out of a broken world; and in terms that didn’t insult our God-given manhood in the process.
In Day of War, David was yet to be king and seen mainly from the fringes through the eyes and mind of his soon-to-be body guard, Benaniah. There was no doubt to those closest to him that this man-child called David was to be something great one day. And it was those men who saw in him someone worth following into the face of death itself.
Covenant of War picks up with David, now king of the southern kingdom of Judah and at 30, a legend to some, hated by others, and feared to be growing soft by the warriors who know him best. With the Philistines looking to do away with Judah once and for all, it will be Eleazar, one of David’s heroic Three, whose journey holds the key. Someone must have the courage to remind David of what seems to be growing dim in the luxury of a palace.
Nothing of the scope and power of Day of War is lost and if anything is ratcheted up. The final third of Covenant of War is worthy of the best of epics with battle scenes that relentlessly bleed into one another like the life blood of the warriors in the story. The author’s extensive historical research and time in the Holy Land pays off with scenes that literally suck you into the battle.
But these men do not fight alone. When all hope is lost and each man determines to press on no matter what, another warrior contends alongside them. And when they have nothing left to give, he fights in their place.
It was a figure, a man-like thing, but it had a massive sword covered with fire. The warrior with the flaming sword raised his huge arms above his head, a war cry that resounded and shook the earth, as if a lion as vast as a mountain itself was on the hunt.
Though seen only in glimpses, this celestial warrior finally fits the image given such a one in Scripture. This is no Pillsbury Doughboyish cartoon figure of sweetness. This is a being of Hebrews chapter one whose sword is a flame of fire and is sent out to serve those who will inherit salvation.
While Covenant of War stands its ground alongside The 300 or Braveheart, it is another battle and victory that causes it to transcend such stories. Those who are brutally honest with themselves know the greatest battles are not fought with swords or with the hands of man. Such battles can be attended by flaming spiritual warriors but only won through a humble bended knee.
A large and powerful-looking man was standing with his arms crossed at the edge of the forest behind David. He had noble but hard features. His stare was severe, and David looked at the ground … “I am wicked. He would not be pleased with me.”
Covenant of War is a story of promises broken and remembered. It is the story of every man of every time. You may read it once but must live it forever!
Cliff Graham was born in Dallas, TX and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. He has been a Military Police soldier, Army officer, pastor, and author. He names Michael Shaara, Steven Pressfield, Louis L’Amour, and Bernard Cornwell as the most influential authors in his career. Cliff is an avid outdoor enthusiast, spending time in the mountains along the Utah-Idaho-Wyoming borders, where he lives with his wife and sons. During breaks in writing, he enjoys speaking at conferences and churches about King David and his warriors.