Messiah: A Novel (Hardcover)
Turmoil grips Zarahemla. Wickedness abounds despite the humbling famine, and the Gadianton robbers are increasing in strength. While deserted by his rebellious father, Kiah is raised in righteousness by his mother and grandfather and finds guidance in the teachings of Nephi, their prophet and friend. Growing into manhood, Kiah sees his family torn apart by dissension regarding the prophesied Savior, but as he remains courageous in the face of deceit and betrayal, his faith becomes firm. And while his desire to fight the infernal robbers remains, Kiah comes to know his true calling: to be a warrior of God.
Consecrating his life as a missionary, Kiah labors among Nephites and Lamanites caught in destructive cycles of pride and sin. He testifies of Christ amidst fierce persecution, witnessing the miracle of redemption as well as the brutal murder of loved ones. And as the Messiah’s advent draws near, Kiah must face the bitterness of unrestrained corruption before tasting the sweetness of a promise fulfilled.
- Size: 6" x 9"
- Pages: 497
- Published: 04/2011
- Book on CD: Unabridged
- Number of Discs: 13
- Run Time: 960 minutes
About the Author
Toni is the author or a number of bestselling books for both the national and LDS markets. In 2006, her Covenant novel, Redemption Road, won the prestigious Association of Mormon Letters honor for novel of the year.
She is an avid student of the scriptures and wrote Master after years of research on the life of the Savior.
Toni is the mother of six children, four sons and two daughters. They reside in Utah Valley and love to travel, play, and eat together.
I hit the ground knowing that if they find me—a boy they’ll assume to be
a Nephite spy—my fate will be bleaker than it would be at the claws of the
hungry cat. These men are masters of torture and evil. I try to not stir at all,
to not even breathe. Lord, protect me, I silently pray, a prayer that ascends with
as much sincerity as my young, terrified soul can gather.
At first I’m sure they’ve heard me, but the men laugh carelessly and I ease
forward so I can get a clearer view. I expect them to be dressed like savages
because the deeds they do are savage—but they’re not cloaked in loincloths,
their faces are not stained with fresh blood. They look as ordinary as any of the
men walking through Elam; they might have been farmers, artisans, merchants,
or soldiers. Some carry themselves with the same ramrod pride as most judges.
Their skin is the same shade as mine. They greet each other like brothers,
laughing, joking, and talking about their families—their families!—and their
spoils, how they have plundered a village on the far side of the mountain.
I wait, my stomach souring at one man’s horrific account of what he
did when he came upon an innocent maiden. I listen, trying to keep my
mind focused so that I can take back any bit of information that might help
keep our small village from being their next target. I know I will have to be
accurate in retelling this account to my grandfather, who believes that the
Gadianton robbers will be the downfall of our entire Nephite people.
“They are the sons of Satan,” he has told me. “It is his devilish design they
He has taught me that there is a distinction between a robber and a thief.
A thief steals from within a family or a village. A robber attacks a family or a
village that is not his own.
I know the story of the robbers, and I try to remember it now.
Grandfather was only a boy himself when a man named Paanchi wanted the people to elect him chief judge. But his brother Pahoran was elected to the
judgment seat instead, and Paanchi was executed for treason. In retaliation,
Kishkumen—one of Paanchi’s supporters—assassinated Pahoran. At that
very moment Satan united Kishkumen and his associates into a secret pact to
protect each other’s identities.
Now I’m looking from my hiding place at the results of that pact.
Gadianton became the leader of Kishkumen’s group and promised that if
he became chief judge he would appoint his fellow robbers to positions of
authority. When Kishkumen killed the new chief judge, Gadianton took his
followers and fled into the mountains.
Father, I pray, protect Elam, protect my family, spare my life.
One of the men coughs and spits off the edge of a rock, then looks up
abruptly; for a second I think he’s spotted me. But he spits again, then turns
and joins his friends. I see for myself that Grandfather is right: they are men
who delight in the vilest acts of mankind. I hear them speak out against
Nephi for the famine. I hear them threaten Nephi’s life, and I can’t wait to
report to Grandfather so he can get word to the prophet and his family. My
best friend—really my only friend—is the prophet’s grandson Jonas. Though
they live on the outskirts of Zarahemla, more than a day’s journey from our
village, my fondest memories are of playing with Jonas, laughing, pretending
to be warriors. I wonder what he would think if he could see me now.
The robbers hate Nephi because he is bold in speaking against them, in
rallying our people to seek them out and destroy them. Nephi prophesies that
if the robbers do not repent, they will pay—we will all pay. I will pay with my
life if they discover me.
The sun sits high in the sky and beats down with a powerful fist; beads
of perspiration dance on the backs of my hands, but a shiver shoots through
my body as I look upon true evil. If it were possible, I would lunge at all of
them, bring each one of them death with my blade. I count; there are twelve
robbers, all of them grown men—all of them capable, I’m sure, of skill with
the sword, cimeter, clubs, bows and arrows, and every manner of weapon
known since the days of Father Adam. They are warriors—warriors for evil.
Listening to their boasting, I realize that no village is safe from their
corruption. No son of God is safe from being harassed and even murdered for
standing for truth. No daughter of God is protected in her virtue because their
dark, murderous minds believe that to rob a girl of her virtue is an act of valor.
I shiver continuously and struggle to not shut my eyes against the scene.
I silently pray again for strength and a spirit of calm. I turn my face carefully
to the side and use my tongue to prod a fallen twig into my mouth; my teeth clamp down on it to keep my jaw from shaking. There is a scripture
that Grandfather quotes . . . something about being still and trusting God. I
wish I could remember it, and I beg forgiveness for neglecting my synagogue
studies in favor of hunting and exploring.
As faith follows the words of my prayer, my stomach stops churning.
My body stops quivering. My teeth stop chattering. I creep closer and realize
that the men have taken to chanting a common code, a secret oath. It’s not
familiar to me, but they seem seasoned in their common words, in the act of
sharing the same handshake. I hate the way they chant so routinely. I hate the
way they laugh so raucously. I hate the way they boast of evil and their own
I do not know what it is to take the life of a man, but I know that I
would destroy them all if I could.
Clearly, one man stands out as their leader. His back is turned to me,
but his hand is in the air, and in his grip is a blade that glints in the sunlight.
Even from my somewhat distant vantage I see that it is a fancy blade with a
jeweled handle. He slices it through the air as he talks. I see that he is a stout
man with broad shoulders, draped in a cloak the same hue as the purple
flowers that grow in the highlands. Obviously, he is a man of means and
I watch as two others unload the burdens from their backs, burdens of
stolen goods: jewelry, pottery, and weapons. The amount of wealth makes
me blink. This is why these men are called robbers and not thieves; they
work in skilled bands, coming from the outside and robbing strangers.
The punishment of thieves, who work alone and steal from their own
neighbors, is exacted by the wronged village people. If this band is caught,
their punishment will be military—they might even be executed. But if
Grandfather is right, even the highest government seats are stained with blood
I know now with certainty that he is right: Gadianton robbers are evil
to the centers of their hearts. If this is the wickedness we are allowing to
penetrate our people, surely we will face total destruction.
My own heart leaps in my chest at the fantasy that I might be the warrior
to somehow thwart them. But the men are large in stature, loud in boasting,
and they clearly have no reservations about killing. I count again. Yes, twelve.
Have I stumbled on the full quorum of their leadership?
My blood runs chill as water from a high mountain trickle, for in the full
light of day, the leader turns his face toward me, beckoning his followers to
bow to his supremacy.
I gulp. My eyes go wide.
There is no doubt. The man I am looking at is the very man whose respect
I’d intended to earn. He is Hem. He is the father of the girl Calev loves.
Warrior of Faith
by April - reviewed on October 03, 2012
This story starts about 17 BC on the American Continent. It is told by a boy named Kiah, as he struggles with his situation in life and the choices that are laid before him as he matures into a man. The story is captivating and shows the good and bad that he encounters. Key people in scripture are woven into his life, many as relatives, so we can understand his heartache and joy as Kiah becomes a warrior to bring souls to the Messiah.