David, King of Israel after Saul, slayer of Goliath; one of the only ancient figures whose life is chronicled almost from birth to death in the Bible, but there is little else to prove his existence. Geraldine Brooks in The Secret Chord, though, paints a compelling fictional picture of the man and the myth through the voices of those closest to him, his wives, children, and most importantly, through Nathan the prophet, a man who was probably closer to him than any other.
A book that neither venerates nor execrates, it shows a complex personality who is often at war with himself, and pulls no punches in its description of society in the Second Iron Age of Israel. Nor does it spare David, as it moves from his youth as a beautiful, but ambitious singer/musician to his days as a bandit, and then his tumultuous reign as king, when he sways between being a merciless tyrant and a benevolent father figure. An addictive read, this book will pull you in and not let you go.
I received this book as a gift, but was so touched by it, I had to share my feelings. I give it five stars.