The people of the Covenant have abandoned all weapons of war and have buried their swords deep in the earth. One thousand five Anti-Nephi-Lehies will die because of this valiant pacifist act. And even though an equal number of warring Lamanites will convert to the gospel of Christ after witnessing the faith of the martyrs, Abish will struggle over her husband’s death for decades to come — their two children a daily reminder of Jared, the man she loved.
Although she perseveres, raising Jarum and Miriam on her own, Abish battles to embrace forgiveness — since each day she must confront some of the same people who took her husband’s life. As Abish’s unsettled feelings continue, unrest among the Lamanites mounts with the threat of war becoming a nearly constant companion to Abish and her children — leading her son, Jarum, to a heroic decision.
Will this mother be able to find love again even while she tries to rekindle the strong faith she once had? Will her son be safe in his new life as a warrior for Helaman? Talented author K. C. Grant paints a compelling and inspiring work of fiction that highlights the real story of the Book of Mormon — the testimony that Christ the Savior came for all people and that faith in Him can overcome all fear.
- Pages: 273
- Size: 6x9
- Published: March 2011
- Book on CD: Unabridged
About the Author
K.C. Grant was born in rural Idaho but has made Utah her home for most of her life. She lives in northern Utah with her family. She lives in northern Utah with family. After serving a full-time, Spanish-speaking mission, she returned to Weber State University, where she received her bachelor of arts with a double major in English and Spanish. She has traveled extensively throughout Mexico and studied briefly at a local college in the state of Michoacan. Over the years, she has been a frequent contributor to several family/home-oriented magazines, such as LDSLiving, Natural Life, The Washington Family, and BackHome and has also written for the Deseret News and KSL. She is an active member of both the League of Utah Writers (where she was a chapter president for three years), LDStorymakers, and the Association for Mormon Letters. To learn more about the author, visit her website at www.kcgrant.com
Land of Ishmael
Abish pulled back the worn leather flap and stepped out of the tent.
Tendrils of fog hung thick on the ancient trees that rose above her and blocked out the early morning’s light. The mist was so thick that it blanketed her body and left her feeling chilled. Not even her waist-length hair or thick leather tunic could keep her warm from such a fog, and she shivered. Rubbing her neck, stiff from hours of crouching over, she walked a few paces toward a nearby precipice. As she scanned the valley below, Abish could see where the sun was already burning away the haze near the river. Soon morning would come, bringing with it a new start. And new challenges to face.
A figure emerged from behind her, and Abish managed a weary smile for her dearest friend. Teara’s countenance was serious as she joined Abish: her soft brown eyes were clouded with fatigue, and her shoulder-length black hair, still damp with perspiration, clung to the sides of her oval face. They stood quietly for a while, aware of the many unspoken words that rested between them.
Abish was the first to breach the silence. “I should have sent you home hours ago. I had no idea we would be with her this long.”
Teara crossed her arms across her chest with a defiance that was in direct contrast to her tiny frame. “When I became your apprentice last year, I accepted that there would be many long nights like this. But we did well—and now a new life has entered the world.”
“Yes,” Abish said softly. “A son. She is very fortunate to be so blessed.”
When Abish stopped abruptly, Teara said, “Your time will come.”
“Perhaps. But for now, it’s their time to celebrate.” Abish turned toward the tent. Now a stream of light had broken through the thick canopy and cast a hazy glow where she was looking. Taking a deep breath, she sighed. “I’d better return and make sure they will be well enough off.”
“Let me do it,” Teara pleaded. “You’re exhausted. You should go home.”
“No. It’s my responsibility. You go.” As Teara shrugged and turned, Abish added a quick, though heartfelt, “Thank you.”
She allowed herself to hesitate at the tent’s opening for just a moment. As Abish reentered, her eyes adjusted to where she could see that the young man was still kneeling on the ground, hovering over his wife and the small bundle at her side. He looked up when she entered and, sensing her reticence to interrupt this precious moment, bade her forward with a nod of his head.
Abish went to him and whispered, “If you’d rather be alone, I’ll understand. I just wanted to make sure your wife was well enough for me to leave.”
Now the young woman opened her eyes and with an almost heavenly expression shook her head. “Oh no! We couldn’t imagine you not being here to share our joy! After all, it’s because of you that we have him.”
Abish followed the woman’s gaze down to the sleeping form and watched with amazement as the baby pursed his lips as if he were already imagining his next meal. She laughed softly and then felt the familiar tug on her heart. The father looked so proud. After all, his wife had given him a child . . . an heir to receive the birthright now that they were part of the covenant people.
“I should check—” Abish glanced quickly at the husband, aware of the delicacy of the situation. “I need to know if things are progressing as they should.”
The man kissed his wife quietly on the cheek and left the tent. Another hour passed while Abish cleaned up the small tent and gave instructions for cleansing and purification. As long as the woman’s body did not take on a heat sickness in the next few days, she would make a quick recovery.
Fatigue settled on Abish and lulled her to only a half awareness of her surroundings. At some point, the woman’s husband had returned and he was talking to her.
“. . . Naomi is still my responsibility. I’ll do my best to care for her and my son. Thank you again for everything you’ve done.”
Stepping from the tent, Abish found that the day had burst into its full glory, and now she could not help but leave some of her longing behind and smile. She could hear the commotion of the city around her as it awakened. Leaving the small tent community, which had sprung up almost overnight around the established city due to the influx of immigrants from neighboring areas, Abish walked back through the central market. She was still amazed at how Ishmael had changed in these few short years that had passed since the Day of Conversion. She looked around at the bustle of people going about their day, already filling the north end of the marketplace. Though the palace and its impressive stone wall were the most prominent features in the area, dozens of communities had already spread out from this central plaza, keeping it not only the economic but also the social focal point of Ishmael.
Her return home took her first down the Street of the Vendors, where merchants were arranging their wares like a twenty-square board on the blanketed ground. There had been a good early harvest that would hopefully support Ishmael’s swelling numbers, especially as the dry season approached. Perhaps hunger could be staved off another year.
As she walked along, she caught a whiff of something that reminded her of her own hunger. The meager offering of manioc and dried fruit she’d been given that morning was far from sustaining, but she knew that the couple had given her all they had. Nearby, a woman was browning some maize cakes on a griddle. Knowing she had a measure of copper that a more established supplicant had given her the day before, Abish couldn’t resist purchasing a few. As she savored the hearty texture of the cake and the piquant aftertaste of the lime with which it was flavored, Abish suddenly groaned—not from the satisfaction of a full belly, however. It was because she’d realized that while she had been busy with her work last night, she hadn’t left any evening meal prepared at home. She changed her course of direction, hoping a quick apology could stave off her feelings of guilt.
At the Street of the Artisans there was little time to admire the works of jade, obsidian, pottery, and bone. Instead, she continued until she came to the far end of the square. As she smelled the familiar combination of cooling steel and human sweat, her heart quickened as it always did. The smithy was always dark enough that it took her eyes a few moments to adjust. When they did, she saw what she had been looking for.
There he was.
Jared sat on a wooden bench, pumping the bellows for the smelting oven with his foot. With his back to her, she could admire his thick dark hair, which hung down to his shoulders again, as was the fashion. Because of the heat, he wore just a leather apron strapped around his neck, his back bare down to a soot-covered linen girdle. Abish couldn’t help but stand there and watch his muscles flex as he worked.
“Ahem,” she interrupted and then continued her well-rehearsed part. “I do not have much time and need a service from you.” She held up her empty hand to mime her role. “This stone needs to be set. Can you do it or are you just . . . well, do you just . . .”
“Tend to the bellows?” came the sarcastic reply. But when Jared turned around, the glint in his eyes belied his supposed words of disapproval. “Stand still,” he spoke off script, “and I’ll show you just what I can do.”
Abish laughed as he came toward her, scarcely noticing the uneven gait that his crooked legs caused. As his arms sought to embrace her, she playfully pushed him away. “You didn’t finish your part right!”
“I couldn’t help it.” He shrugged. “My wife standing in the doorway was too tempting a sight.”
When her lips were free, she chuckled. “Then I forgive you.”
For a moment Jared’s eyes narrowed. “And I forgive you.”
Abish knew to what he referred. “I’m sorry. I forgot to send word. And I can’t imagine what you found to eat for dinner last night.”
“Am I really forgiven?” she ventured.
“Kiss me again and I think that will help me know for sure.”
She obliged. And then, with a weary sigh, she walked back with him over to his bench where she settled on his lap. “It was another long night. Teara and I just barely parted.”
His face grew concerned and he asked, “Something you need to talk about?”
Abish shrugged, not wanting to speak of babies—or sons—right now. So she changed the topic. “I promise when you come home tonight I’ll have your favorite meal waiting: spicy venison and honey squash. I’ll even make some coconut sweets.”
“Ah,” he groaned with delight. “You are forgiven! I shouldn’t be too late. I would be even earlier if some of the council members weren’t so full of hot air!” He pumped the bellows as if to demonstrate.
Abish frowned. Jared had been to a lot of these meetings lately. “Are the rumors true then?”
“I’m afraid so. Apparently the Amalekites and Amulonites have decided that it’s better to hate us than waste energy hating each other. If enough of our people can be united to their cause, they might come against us.”
“Our people? Now that we are called Anti-Nephi-Lehies, it’s hard to see them that way.” Abish walked across the room away from the intensifying heat of the ovens. “To me, they’re just Lamanites.”
Jared frowned slightly. “When these plowshares are completed I shouldn’t have any more large orders for a while. I’ll be home with you more.”
“Teara’s always telling me I should be more optimistic. So I’ll try. Perhaps this war talk will be good for business.” She looked at all of the unsold swords sitting in the corner. “It’s ironic, really. The sad truth that both of us could be busier because of it.”
Abish couldn’t ignore the disappointed look that often crossed Jared’s face at the mention of her work, causing her own countenance to droop.
“Hmmm.” Jared’s face changed to a look of concern. “I think that long night is taking its toll. You look drained. Go home. I’ll see you tonight.”
Abish agreed, knowing some problems could not be solved in a day.
by Customer - reviewed on April 01, 2011
This was a great follow-up to the first book, but I could have read it alone and still found it interesting. I liked seeing Abish as a mother and seeing what the other mothers of the stripling warriors could've been like as well.