Who’s Who In The Red Tent

From the defiant Dinah to the dashing Prince Shalem, meet the women and men of this ravishing Old Testament epic.

Dinah and Jacob


In the original Old Testament account of this story, Dinah is a bit of a mystery. We see her only as a voiceless victim, squabbled over by men such as her brothers (who are lethally possessive of her "honour") and the prince who lusts after her. The Red Tent is Dinah's story, from Dinah's point of view. We first meet her as a sweet, rather naïve girl, fussed over by her sprawling family. Her clan includes her father Jacob and his four wives, who show Dinah the ways of the world in the "red tent" where the women of the tribe gather in privacy. But Dinah's sheltered existence is set to be thrown upside down when she falls in love with the wrong man...


Leah is Dinah's biological mother - the biological bit is important, because Dinah has four female guardians and calls them all her "mothers". Just as in the Old Testament version of events, Leah is not the favourite consort of her husband Jacob, but she is a reliable, reserved presence in proceedings. We discover that Jacob hadn't originally intended to marry Leah at all, but a strange turn of events on his wedding night led to him taking Leah as a second wife.


Rachel is Jacob's favourite wife. Sultry, ravishing and positively glowing with a sense of her own value, she is certainly a striking figure in the tribe. She is also aware of how her elevated status might concern the other women, notably her older sister Leah, who is second closest to Jacob. Undercurrents of envy can always be felt when Rachel is around, especially given the fact that Jacob initially fell in love with Rachel rather than Leah, but the bond of sisterhood is too great to break.


Strong, handsome and self-possessed, Jacob is every inch the Old Testament patriarch. He is, like his Biblical counterpart, a key figure in the politics and powerplay of his day, and has a noble spirit. While he adores his children, he cannot help but regard Dinah as a secondary concern - it's his many sons who really hold sway in the tribe. And while he strives to be fair, he is taken aback by any signs of impudence or rebellion against the God he reveres.


One of the strongest characters in the saga, Rebecca is Jacob's mother, who carries herself with the air of an empress. She is a major figure from the Old Testament, and is presented here as a renowned oracle, whose powers of seeing the future draw huge crowds desperate to hear good news about their own lives. Rebecca hasn't seen Jacob for a quarter of a century, and on meeting her granddaughter Dinah for the first time, Rebecca greets her with the words "Are you not afraid of me?" Well, most people are...


Joseph is one of the most famous figures from the Old Testament, with his dazzling coat of many colours, and prophetic dreams. He's also Dinah's brother, and plays a major role in the events of The Red Tent. But put aside everything you think you know about Joseh - this version of the character is very different: proud and vengeful. Which is forgivable, since Joseph is destined to suffer trauma at the hands of his jealous brothers. The question is, will Joseph prove a better sibling to Dinah than the others in their clan?


Just who is Shalem? The Old Testament doesn't tell us much - he's portrayed as a sexual thug who gets his just desserts. But the Prince Shalem of The Red Tent couldn't be more different. Suave, dreamy, and prone to waxing lyrical about flowers in his chocolatey voice, the Prince comes across more like a poet than a royal. A comfortable life of luxury lies ahead, until a quirk of fate brings him face to face with Dinah, and a passion is ignited which will transform the lives of everyone around them.