Tobias & the Demon is a moderately paced novel for middle grade readers and up. Set in Biblical times, it chronicles the time when the city of Ninevah was occupied by Assyrians.
Tobias’ father, Tobit, has suffered severe punishment at the hands of the Assyrian rulers. Once well to do and influential, he is now sick, disgraced and poor.
Tobias has had run-ins with the Assyrian authorities – mostly because of a young woman. To protect him, but also for financial reasons, Tobit sends his son on a trip to retrieve money froom a family frined in a faraway city. He hires a stranger named Azarias to accompany his son. On the road, Tobias and Azarias have quite a few adventures. Azarias shows himself to be a man of great skill and knowledge. More than once, it’s his advice and care that saves Tobias.
The unusual thing about this story is that it’s told by Tag – Tobias’ dog, in first person. We see the world through Tag’s limited perspective and understanding. It took a little getting used to and I had to remind myself a few times, that the narrator is a dog. It does give the story a unique naivete that we wouldn’t see if Tobias narrated. However, it is limiting and some action couldn’t be shown because Tag didn’t see it.
Although this is an interesting look at ancient times, I found the dog’s perspective slightly disconcerting. This is a good story, but a little slow for my tastes.
Four Golden Acorns