Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Secret Chord, by Geraldine Brooks

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks book cover and review
The Secret Chord is another stunning adult novel.  I seem to be getting more interested in adult titles lately.  The audio version is excellent.

Brooks tells the story of King David of Israel, from his childhood to the end of his reign.  The story is told from the perspective of Natan, who first prophesied Davd's rise to power and became his closest confidant.

I'm not into biblical stories, but The Secret Chord was exciting and captivating.  I'm sure Brooks has embellished the biblical version, but it all seems very plausible.  The characters are interesting.  The story is intriguing. This "Second Iron Age" was a brutal time.  They were always at war, and it seems like the men were raping and pillaging with abandon.  If you wanted to be king, you just found some men who would follow you and tried to take over without being killed.

And the women didn't fare very well. They were merely property and a means to create alliances and produce heirs.  And David had a lot of heirs; most were not very likable.

David is not always portrayed positively. He had his shortcomings, and he paid the price for them.

My only complaint is that Brooks uses the Hebrew names for all of the characters.  I get that it's authentic, but I wanted to know who all these people were! I ordered a print copy of the book, thinking there were be a translation, but there is only a list of the characters (their Hebrew names.)  I found this Behind the Names website which helped a lot but was still annoyed that I had to use it.  I would have just preferred she used the familiar names throughout the book.

The audio book narrator, Paul Boehmer, is superb.  He reminded me of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments, which was perfect for this story.

I highly recommend The Secret Chord if you enjoy historical fiction, especially about biblical times. It's fascinating.

Published by Viking, 2015 (Penguin Audio)
Audiobook obtained from the library
320 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. This description reminds me of the Red Tent, another biblical story. I loved that book and think Brooks is a fantastic writer so I'll add this one to my TBR list

    1. I haven't read The Red Tent, but I've heard of it. Also, Dovekeepers by Hoffman. That's a great book too (DON'T watch the TV show!)


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