The Secret Chord
“A page turner. . .Brooks is a master at bringing the past alive. . .in her skillful hands the issues of the past echo our own deepest concerns: love and loss, drama and tragedy, chaos and brutality.” – Alice Hoffman, The Washington Post
A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March.
With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature’s richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.
The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Some stories never lose their power to fascinate, such as the life and times of King David: songwriter, warrior, spiritual leader, despot, family man. Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks (March) ensnares us in the dramatic events of the iconic ruler’s life, narrating them through the eyes of his longtime confidante, the prophet Natan. Brooks’ David bursts with vitality—whether he’s facing down his nemesis Goliath or enjoying the company of women. Her rich, thrilling novel will encourage you to brush up on the original biblical stories to see where and how The Secret Chord takes creative license with the ancient source material.
Brooks's interest in religious commitment (People of the Book) accrues rich rewards in this ambitious and psychologically astute novel about the harp-playing, psalm-singing King David of the bible. A man of contradictory impulses, David was also a brutal and pitiless warrior living in "a culture of blood revenge." In his younger years he was an outlaw and renegade, a raider and marauder. He was greedy, vain, intemperate, stubborn, and ruthlessly pragmatic. He loved his wives, however (at least most of them), and doted on his sons and daughter. His outstanding achievement was to unite the tribes of Judah and Israel to establish the first Hebrew kingdom. Brooks develops David's complex personality and the bloody events of his tumultuous times through the narration of his prophet, Natan, of whom there is a tantalizing mention in the Bible (Chronicles). This format allows Natan to speak with various members of David's family, his generals and soldiers, and even his enemies. Central to the narrative are a prediction and a curse. Through Natan, God (always called "the Name") first promises David a throne, an empire, and a line of descendants. Later Natan foretells tragedy; David "will be scalded by the consequences of his choices" and will pay for the deaths he has caused "four times over." These tragic events provide plenty of melodrama and considerable suspense. While most of the plot is fictional conjecture, Brooks evokes time and place with keenly drawn detail. Although her decision to use archaic language, including the Hebrew spelling of names (Solomon is Shlomo; Bethlehem is Beit Lethem; the Philistines are the Plishtim) sometimes slows the narrative, she compensates with the verve of an adroit storyteller.
Beautifully written. Her use of ancient names was a bit annoying and precious - otherwise a great read.
The secret Chord
This is one of the most in depth book about Biblical characters I have ever read. Thank you so much for doing so much research to write it!
The secret cord
Grow up reviewer! This is the 21st century! Give up your childhood fairytales...Santa, the Easter bunny, etc! Christs message was one of unconditional love and acceptance for all. He was a good MAN!