David is a character that has been fascinating me all my life. My new trilogy, The David Chronicles, is in his voice. It is the story of David as you have never heard it before: from the king himself, telling the unofficial version, the one he never allowed his court scribes to recount. In his mind, history is written to praise the victorious—but at the last stretch of his illustrious life, he feels an irresistible urge to tell the truth. In the first volume, Rise to Power, David gives you a fascinating account of his early years, culminating with a tribal coronation. Rooted in ancient lore, his is a surprisingly modern memoir.
Readers often ask me, “Were you quoting the bible or paraphrasing? Since I was looking at the King James version, and I’m certain you weren’t, I really didn’t expect a word for word; nevertheless, sometimes I did.” To which I say, all the English versions, King James included, are translations and therefore, they are interpretations of the original Hebrew, in which I am versed to the point of knowing it by heart. In this trilogy, the choice of modern language is by design. It is meant to indicate to the reader that this story is no fairytale, it is happening here and now. Step into the skin of David, and look yourself in the mirror.
The entire book is greatly informed by art through the ages, including modern art about David. Here is but one example:
This volume starts at his coming to Saul’s court, to play before king Saul, and ends with his coronation to become king of a single tribe. How does David see himself, during this first phase of his life? With his hands stained with blood, can he find an inner balance between conflicting drives: his ambition for the crown, his determination to survive the conflict with Saul, and his longing for purity, for a touch of the divine, as expressed so lyrically in his psalms and music?
In an era of cruelty, when destroying the enemy is deemed a sacred directive, the slayer of Goliath finds a way to become larger than life. His search for a path to power leads him in ways that are, at times, scandalous. Notorious for his contradictions, David is seen by others as a gifted court entertainer, a successful captain in Saul’s army, a cunning fugitive, a traitor leading a gang of felons, and a ruthless raider of neighboring towns who leaves no witnesses behind.
This volume starts at the civil war between the tribes, his eventual coronation over the whole nation of Israel, and his affair with Bathsheba. Against the backdrop of wars, raging within the land and without, David is growing into the mantle of leadership. Between his anointment as a tribal king and his anointment as the king of all of Israel, he uses wisdom, cunning, and his own understanding of the forces of history, aiming for high ideals: stopping the bloodshed, uniting the nation, and bringing about healing and peace.
But then, having reached his peak, David falters. He makes a serious error that threatens to undo his political success, and cost him not only the adoration of his people—but also the sense of being sustained by a divine power. That error is the most torrid tale of passion ever told: his deliciously forbidden love for Bathsheba, followed by his attempt to cover up the ensuing scandal by sending her husband—who serves him faithfully in his army—to his death.
Volume III: The Edge of Revolt
Take a listen to the narration of the last part, performed by the regal voice of David George:
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Volume II: A Peek at Bathsheba