The Pilot propels us into the legendary realm of the young King Solomon, whose power is nearing its apogée towards the end of the first decade of his rule. Aided by King Hiram’s Tyrean sailors, he has secured the waterways for his trade, linking Egypt to Saba and outsmarting his enemies, who are waiting for him on the silk road. In 962 BC, his promise to construct a temple in his father’s honour is still but a plan, yet a humble potter is about to lead Hiram’s niece astray and us to the source of the fabled Solomonian gold.
Jerold Richert cleverly adds twists to his narrative by introducing unlikely incidents that make the reader doubt the verisimilitude or authenticity of this turn of events, only to immediately address and explain the characters’ motivation or circumstance. Eloquently written with both a host of winsome (and less so) characters and a plethora of factual details—from weaponry to architecture, fashion to cuisine—The Pilot offers all the ingredients of an enthralling read: a headlong dive into the fabulous Phoenician world; adventure; and, of course, an engaging love story that adds a sigh and a smile to the riveting plot.
While competitively priced for such a large book, the novel is unfortunately let down somewhat by its cover; the sombre colours and washy imagery does not do justice to the engrossing tale within.