A historical novel about the life and times of King David.
There’s been long tradition of novels, including those by Malachi Martin, Gladys Schmidt and Joseph Heller, that have tackled the familiar biblical story of David, a Palestinian shepherd boy picked to face the giant Goliath in single combat. Booker (The Journey of a Lifetime, 2002, etc.), the pastor of the Inland Lighthouse Church in Rialto, Calif., uses several different voices to tell its tale—Goliath’s story, for example, is told mostly, and very amusingly, by the giant’s armor-bearer—and these voices keep the narrative moving through well-known biblical scenarios. The skillfully orchestrated chorus of viewpoints makes the story more consistently engaging; as the reader sees David from half a dozen different (and sometimes contradictory) perspectives, Booker creates a real and memorable character. Along the way, the author dramatizes the simmering tension between young David and scowling, suspicious King Saul, and retells the stories of the various strong-willed women that David knew. He also brings the era’s prophets, laborers, courtiers and ordinary people to life. The focus, however, is always the lodestar of David himself; as one character says, “David…seems to be able to do anything, and everything he does is done with excellence.” Booker clearly shares this admiration, but he doesn’t blunt or sugarcoat these old stories, which he relates with humanity, wry wit and bare-knuckled realism. He portrays David as a noble character in Book One; future volumes, however, will have to deal with David’s famous descent into corruption. But in this engaging volume, he shines as the quintessential military and moral leader, liberating himself and his people from the madness of King Saul.
A riveting re-creation of a biblical tale.