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The Secret Chord

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“A page turner. . .Brooks is a master at bringing the past alive. . .in her skillful hands the issues of the past echo our own deepest concerns:  love and loss, drama and tragedy, chaos and brutality.” – Alice Hoffman, The Washington Post

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 bestselling 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 Mikhal, 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 22, 2015 – Brooks's interest in religious commitment (People of the Book) accrues rich rewards in this ambitious and psychologically astute novel about the harp-playing, psalm-singing King David of the bible. A man of contradictory impulses, David was also a brutal and pitiless warrior living in "a culture of blood revenge." In his younger years he was an outlaw and renegade, a raider and marauder. He was greedy, vain, intemperate, stubborn, and ruthlessly pragmatic. He loved his wives, however (at least most of them), and doted on his sons and daughter. His outstanding achievement was to unite the tribes of Judah and Israel to establish the first Hebrew kingdom. Brooks develops David's complex personality and the bloody events of his tumultuous times through the narration of his prophet, Natan, of whom there is a tantalizing mention in the Bible (Chronicles). This format allows Natan to speak with various members of David's family, his generals and soldiers, and even his enemies. Central to the narrative are a prediction and a curse. Through Natan, God (always called "the Name") first promises David a throne, an empire, and a line of descendants. Later Natan foretells tragedy; David "will be scalded by the consequences of his choices" and will pay for the deaths he has caused "four times over." These tragic events provide plenty of melodrama and considerable suspense. While most of the plot is fictional conjecture, Brooks evokes time and place with keenly drawn detail. Although her decision to use archaic language, including the Hebrew spelling of names (Solomon is Shlomo; Bethlehem is Beit Lethem; the Philistines are the Plishtim) sometimes slows the narrative, she compensates with the verve of an adroit storyteller.

Customer Reviews

The Secret Chord

Don't know how to explain it. Such a familiar story made so real. This must have been the way it was. It was too real to not have been.

Couldn't finish it

I'm a big Geraldine Brooks fan and was so excited when this book came out! However, I've stopped reading it in the middle of chapter six. I consider myself a practicing Christian and love the Bible and the prophets. I really had a hard time with the way David is portrayed and especially with his sexual encounter with Jonathan. So I stopped reading. So sad I can't finish the book but it became drudgery to read. I'll just wait patiently for the next Brooks to come out and hope for the better!

The secret cord

Grow up reviewer! This is the 21st century! Give up your childhood fairytales...Santa, the Easter bunny, etc! Christs message was one of unconditional love and acceptance for all. He was a good MAN!

The Secret Chord
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Oct 06, 2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings