In the Days of Lachoneus is an epic story of politics and patriotism, intrigue and murder, war and violence, love and betrayal, friendship and loyalty, believers and unbelievers, good and evil, set in the landscape of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
The historical background for the story is the account in theBook of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, of the fierce struggle to the death between the murderous counter-culture of the Gadianton Robbers and the liberty-loving society of the Nephites, a people descended from the tribes of Israel. The first volume in this series is The Gathering, in which Governor Lachoneus of Zarahemla faces the challenge to surrender or be destroyed by Giddianhi and his Gadianton terrorists. The citizens of Zarahemla have beaten and driven the Gadiantons once, only to lose ground in a second battle. Emboldened by his most recent success, Giddianhi writes an arrogant letter to Lachoneus boasting that his army will wipe out the population of Zarahemla unless they turn over all of the property and possessions to the robber band and join their secret society.
Woven between the scenes of war and government and politics on a grand scale are personal stories of intrigue and young love. Traitors within Governor Lachoneus’s council plot his overthrow. Giddianhi’s ruthless rule over the Gadiantons is also not without its internal enemies who design his demise. At the same time, Lachoneus’s beautiful daughter and his house servant are hopelessly in love, yet they are kept apart by class, station, and temperament. Dissension and apostasy among the Nephites of Zarahemla threaten the people with utter destruction. Lachoneus fears that the decrees of God are about to descend upon his wayward people.
When the letter from Giddianhi arrives, Lachoneus seizes upon this opportunity to call the people to repentance and to unite them in a common cause that is bigger than their petty jealousies and personal greed. He warns the people of the threat from the Gadiantons and issues a proclamation throughout all the land for the people to gather together into a single body. They will build a fortress and organize an army and prepare for a fight to the death to defend their lives, their liberty, their families, and their way of life.
"Rich with detail, Armstrong's debut brings an interesting era of the Book of Mormon to life. Everything from the unique speech patterns to the descriptions of day-to-day life in Mesoamerica adds validity to a story with which many people are generally familiar." read the full article
Angela Carter, Mormon Times Book Review
Deseret News, 21 January 2016
"I read much of the book last night and really enjoyed it. ... The intrigues, apostasy, and faith of Lachoneus’ time have parallels for our own day."
-- Kathryn G.
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I enjoyed this book a lot. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be familiar with the Book of Mormon backdrop, but the story would be engaging for anyone who likes reading stories with political twists and turns, a romance, and good guys versus bad-guys. Many LDS novels have focused on other Book of Mormon "heroes" such as Nephi, Alma, and Captain Moroni. So it's interesting to see the focus on Lachoneus, who seems to be overlooked in fiction. He was a brave and forward-thinking leader who lived in troubled times, and I'm interested in seeing the next installment.
This book was a pleasant and compelling read for me.
The Author definitely has a gift for storytelling.
I could easily visualize the scenes and characters in my mind.
The storylines kept me attentive and full of anticipation for the next events to unfold.
I was totally engaged by the depth of the plot, character development and thought-provoking concepts.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, and anxiously look forward to what happens to each of the characters as the story continues in the Author's successive book(s) in this series.