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The Sign Above the Door Review by Kris Price

William W. Canfield
Salem Ridge Press
4263 Salem Drive
Emmaus, PA 18049

The Sign Above the Door offers an intriguing look at the Exodus of the Hebrews; it is intriguing because the story is written from the viewpoint of the Egyptians. Most of us know the story as written in the Bible, but I have to say that I've never considered looking at it from the other side. In this book, we get an inside look at how the government of Egypt worked during this time period. However, the power of the Hebrew God is more than any pharaoh can compete with, and we see that he is powerless against the plagues that God sends down on the Egyptians.

The story revolves around young Prince Martiesen, an adon, or governor, of Lower Egypt, the land of the Hebrews. Martiesen does not agree with the Pharaoh's decision to increase the workload of the Hebrews and rebels as best as he can because he is in love with a beautiful Hebrew woman, Elisheba. Her faith in the Hebrew God is beyond his understanding, but he gains much encouragement from her as he listens to her talk about God. As his country experiences the plagues, Martiesen must work to maintain a steady head as he continues to lead his country through events that he himself doesn't understand.

However, as we soon learn, danger lurks inside the walls of the governor's palace. Peshala, Martiesen's scribe, is working to discredit his master by telling the Pharaoh that Martiesen is the leader of a plot to overthrow the Pharaoh. I don't want to give away the reason for Peshala's hatred of Martiesen--you'll have to read the book to find that out! Once Peshala enters the picture, the story is full of suspenseful events and the book becomes a real page-turner. We all know the ending to this story, but The Sign Above the Door puts an interesting spin on the events leading up to the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt.

This historical fiction novel has been written for ages 12 and up and, I concur with that rating. A basic understanding of the Biblical text is helpful in reading the book. It is obvious that Mr. Canfield has written the story assuming the reader already knows the story of the plagues, the Passover, and the exodus, because he doesn't go into too much detail about them. The story contains some basic information on the Egyptians' religious beliefs, which is important so that the reader can understand their wonder at the Hebrew God's power. I would recommend this book to be read during a study of the Ancient World as a read-aloud for the entire family to enjoy and discuss!

Product review by Kris Price, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006