Old Testament /Biblical
The story of David and Goliath is one of the best known Bible stories and Paul Boorstin has taken the relatively few verses from the Book of Samuel dealing with this part of David's life and turned them into an eminently readable reconstruction of events leading up to his confrontation with the Philistine king.
In between, we learn of Nara, daughter of a blacksmith who makes weapons for the Philistine army. Against the laws, she helps him and soon surpasses his skills. The secret of making iron swords is not known to the Israelites, thus placing them at a huge disadvantage on the field of battle. Nara, being taller and stronger than any other woman, is selected by High Priest Dalziel to be Goliath's wife in the belief that they will produce sons to emulate their father and continue the Philistine dominance over the Israelites. But Nara must deal with being married to a cruel man and her fall from grace.
David has to avoid the jealousies of not only his own brothers, but of the unstable King Saul and his ambitious and reckless son, Jonathan, though he does have an ally in Saul's daughter, Michal.
Whilst the Israelite characters were not all as devout as we might think, I did feel that the Philistines were a little harshly treated as the ‘bad guys’ and to make this a well-rounded novel I think some saving graces might have been nice.
Of course, we know the outcome, but this book is rather like taking a new and different path to a known destination; the journey and scenery is well worth the familiar ending. There is no indication as to whether this is part of a series, but I do feel the author is more than capable of taking David along through the next stage of his life.
© Richard Tearle