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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling 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, Mikal, 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.

©2015 Geraldine Brooks (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Paul Boehmer delivers a superb performance of Geraldine Brooks's reimagining of the life of King David. Boehmer's characters live through his vocal magic." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Flawed Perfection

Rare is the book that can take an historic personage and incarnate it with realistic flesh and blood. Brooks is a master of this art. As a clergyman I thought I knew the biblical David even with his ever so public flaws. Brooks has introduced a very human David...a man who can and does still inspire because he truly is a biblical 'Everyman'.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Brooks at her best

Loved this book. Am a history buff and very interested in Biblical characters especially David. It is told by Nathan, David,s prophet. I know it is partially fiction but Brooks has a remarkable gift of filling in the blanks l.e.the thoughts and feelings of the characters and what could so logically could have happened. The narrator is fabulous. He uses the Hebrew pronunciation of all the names which can be confusing I went to 1&2 Samuel when I couldn't figure out the character I have a different attitude toward David now that I have read Brooks' insightful story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Another excellent novel

While March remains my favorite by this author, she never disappoints in the way she writes or knits a story together.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • susan
  • Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 01-31-16

A book well worth the adventure it describes

In the early section of this book I found it slow going. But when I got to know the man people I became glued to it. I soon found it difficult to put down . brooks choice to focus on a turbulent period in middle Eastern history which at times is bloody and at others shows a growing progressive state building I would strongly recommend it!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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loved it

good read mostly true to scripture , followed Davids life very well and added alot of emotion to the Bible narrative . I understand it's hard to stay100% true to scripture in a novel as there's alot of blanks to fill in .Hence it's fiction .

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Exquisite fiction

I've never read a better work of fiction based on the Bible. Brooks is a gifted storyteller who respects her source material and her audience while still boldly imagining and reimagining many iconic characters and stories. Breathtaking.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Fictional Narrative of a great biblical character

I loved listening to this book because it made the story of David from the Bible come alive. But it's important to note that the author took much liberty in adding to the story. For example, this story portrayed David and Jonathan's love for each other as being homosexual in nature, but the Bible never says that. Also, the description of Tamar's rape by her half brother is very explicit. Therefore I only recommend this book for those who can handle a wordly perspective of the story of King David. Personally I really liked it, but I made sure to go back and reread the story of David in the book of Samuel in the Bible so I could tell fact from fiction.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good

Have never read the bible but I may start now. Enjoyed the refer and characterization

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Brings Familiar Old Testament Figures to Life

Brooks bring the familiar Old Testament characters alive with very human portrayals infused and inspired by the divine.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

I have always found David a fascinating character, so I was looking forward to this book. Listening to it makes me wish I had the King James Bible instead. The performance is terribly over done, so perhaps the novel would be better in print. But I don't feel I've learned anything from it, and writing sometimes reminds me of fan fiction.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful