No one has seen the king in public during the last four weeks, and rumors are that he is possessed by an evil spirit, or something. I am skeptical of what cannot be touched, plucked or squeezed, so I think nothing of spirits, evil or divine. Perhaps I will one day, when I am old, like him.
At this point I cannot wait to play before him. All I crave is applause. Back on my father’s farm, in the outskirts of Bethlehem, I can make even the most hardened men soften, somehow, to the sound of my music, which convinces me—perhaps foolishly—that I am destined for fame.
Now I knock at the palace doors, and prick up my ears. There seems to be some commotion inside, after which the doors crack open, ever so slightly.
I sense someone looking up and down at me, studying me through the hairline gap.
At last, “Let the boy in,” says a voice.
“You searched him, did you?” growls another.
“It’s fine, he’s been cleared,” says the first, with a lazy drawl. “They done him at the front gate, already.”
There is some exchange of words behind the doors, which is hard for me to figure out, because of the foreign accent. Of course, at this time of civil unrest, none of the locals from Judea or from tribes other than the king’s own would ever be hired to guard the palace.
After a while, two guards step out with a heavy thump. They look like apes in uniform.
One says, “Hey you! What’s that thing here, in your hand?”
And the other butts in, “You can’t bring weapons in here.”
“This?” I chuckle. “My flute? You never seen one?”
They study the thing, even poke their hairy fingers into each of its holes, crinkling their noses as if expecting it to explode in their face. Finally they step aside to let me in.
These stone walls play back a quick beat, which answers the clip-clop of my worn-out sandals. They have been kicked down the line to me after each one of my seven brothers used them, each in his turn. The crinkled leather smells of their flesh, but also of the grassy fields back home.
Now I dash eagerly through the long corridor which—to my surprise—has a musty stench. At the far end I spot an arc, which is where a hall opens before me.
Excerpt from Rise to Power
Historical Fiction with a Modern Twist...
The complete series:
This a rich, vibrant story but unlike most novels based on Biblical figures, David is accessible and human. The reader is drawn into his head, into his heart, and into his world."
- Barbara Silkstone, Author