Published: Viking, October 2015
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Source: Amazon Vine
The Bible’s King David is a complex character, and it is his prophet Natan who narrates David’s turbulent life. From his humble beginnings to his giant-slaying heroics, he was a bandit, a warrior, and finally a king. But David’s reign came at a great cost. Much blood was shed to unite his kingdom, and he didn’t exactly make the wisest decisions along the way (ahem, seducing Batsheva, the wife of Uriah). While blessed and anointed by God, he was cursed when he sent Uriah to his death. He was a good king, but a bad father, and the indulgence of his sons led them to be rapists, murderers, and usurpers. I find it ironic that David’s one decent child was his son by Batsheva, and Shlomo (Solomon) would become his heir and Israel’s greatest and wisest king.
The book had its ups and downs, especially after a relatively slow start. But by the time of Shlomo’s birth and Natan’s tutelage of the boy, I found the groove. Brooks’ narrative is elegant, but there are so many characters (generals, offspring, wives, etc), that it took me a while to keep them all straight. Otherwise, it was a powerful portrayal of a flawed but talented ruler. I really appreciated Natan’s insider perspective as David’s counselor and prophet. Even more effective, though, were his divine visions and his ability to see the consequences of David’s actions. It’s a story that has endured millennia, and it remains a timeless tale of power, ruthlessness, and redemption.
I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.