Booklist Starred Review of The Secret Chord

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“InThe Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks her gorgeously written novel of ambition, courage, retribution, and triumph, Brooks imagines the life and character of King David in all his complexity, from his humble childhood through old age. A brilliant harpist and singer with immense charisma, this man beloved by the Lord is also a fearsome warrior who ruthlessly pursues his vision of power. Natan, David’s longtime counselor and prophet, proves a shrewd chronicler for his tale, and David wisely knows it. The plot ranges back and forth in time, as Natan interviews three individuals David hand-selects for him to speak with, reminisces about his years of service, and observes David’s passion for the beautiful, married Batsheva and its consequences. This isn’t David’s story alone. Stitched onto the familiar biblical framework are insightful interpretations of his wives and family members. The language, clear and precise throughout, turns soaringly poetic when describing music or the glory of David’s city. Brooks’ preference for biblical Hebrew names emphasizes the story’s origins, and, taken as a whole, the novel feels simultaneously ancient, accessible, and timeless.”— Sarah Johnson