Book Review: David & Avshalom: Life and Death in the Forest of Angels

Title: David & Avshalom: Life and Death in the Forest of Angels
Author: Bernad Mann
Genre: Religion & Spirituality, Old Testament, Biblical
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This telling of the life and times of David the king goes well beyond the typical story line, into the exploration of little known story arcs — the adoption by David of the Hittites’ compound bow and large archer companies enabled Israel to throw off Philistine domination. His friendship with Hiram of Tyre and other rulers led to never-broken peace and successful maritime engagements with the Phoenicians. His willingness to help defend Canaanite Taanach signaled peace with Canaanites and his marriage with Maacah allowed peace with Geshur, other peoples of the north. Even more striking was his respect for women writers, including Judith, who wrote much of the books of Genesis and Exodus (See Bloom’s the Book of J), and Seraiah (my name for this author), who wrote the Book of Ruth. The roles of Bathsheba in Palace affairs and Maacah in her tragic sorrow over son Avshalom’s (Absalom’s) rebellion are illuminating. All in all, this saga is one of high drama and warm insights into personal and national life in ancient Israel.

David & Avshalom tells the adventures of King David as they are told in the Bible, but in much more detail, giving significant background stories to the characters as they are portrayed in the Bible. This is a historical read mixed with the biblical, and it would probably be a great read, if the writing wasn’t that archaic. The writing is meant to fit with the ancient era during which all this happens, but it never really works, and it doesn’t click with the reader.

In fact, it took several chapters to get used to the old-fashioned reading and be able to focus on the story. Still, the story itself is intriguing and the characters are vibrant and lively.

If you enjoy the story of David in the Bible and you want to know more about the legendary King, then give this book a try. Don’t be deterred by the archaic writing – after a few chapters, you get used to it and learn to read past it, enjoying the story instead.