Rise to Power: The David Chronicles Vol. I
‘Here is the story of David as you have never heard it before,’ Uvi Poznansky tells his readers at the end of his fast-paced, funny, and delightful first instalment in the David Chronicles. And while this is not quite true (this book owes a large comedic debt, for instance, to Joseph Heller’s great 1984 novel God Knows), the narrative nevertheless is quite different from the usual stately turn of Biblical historical fiction. Poznansky’s characters think and talk in modern idioms, and all the familiar stories from Scripture — the boyhood of David, the madness of Saul, the fight with Goliath, etc. — are given a sharp-edged and winkingly ironic cast. (When the Israelites doubt that a boy like David could have taken out Goliath with a pebble and a slingshot, the conspiracy theory of a ‘second shooter’ is briefly floated).
The action scenes and background setting are expertly done, but the book’s huge amounts of free-flowing dialogue are its main appeal; we hear the voices of these age-old characters clearly, modernized and made vivid for the twenty-first century. By its very nature, the plot itself cannot have many surprises, but Poznansky’s lively approach to his material will engage all but the most traditional-minded genre reader.