While Mr. de Wohl's rehearsal of the life of David has a kind of dressed-up narrative interest, with occasional fresh insight and descriptive interpolations, it does not rise above its somewhat scholarly tone to hit anything like a distinguished level of writing. This expansion of the original story (which is pretty long anyway) into the novel form actually dilutes the original's vigor. All the main incidents of the Bible story are here: David's anointment while still a shepherd, his slaying of Goliath, Saul's mad attempts to slay David, David's musicianship and love of Jonathan, his feigned madness while hiding out among the Philistines, the Castro-like rebel group David builds, his growing retinue of wives and, pivotally, his infatuation with Bathsheba. Out of love for Bathsheba, David has her husband murdered at the front and takes her as his wife. Calamities descend upon him, with his first-born son raping his daughter and his favorite son Absalom defecting. The novel ends with Solomon crowned and David's death. Dialogue sample: ""You lie!...You are a weakling, a weakling, a woman chaser, a licentious cad, and a liar to boot!"" Louis de Wohl has a reputation as a popularizer of Biblical stories and characters, but rarely has he presented a figure in such purely temporal terms as here.