Queenmaker: A Novel of King David's Queen by India Edghill (Picador), 376 pages, $20 paper. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Political intrigue, scandal, adultery and bitter sibling rivalry. Sound like a story woven from current headlines? It's not. This is Queenmaker, a fictionalized account of Queen Michal's life in King David's royal court. At the age of 14, Michal, the daughter of King Saul, falls in love with the young shepherd David, a friend of her older brother Jonathan.
Everyone is pleased except the unpredictable Saul, and soon after the couple's wedding an assassination plot and a quick escape leave Michal a weeping bride. The marriage is dissolved, and Michal is married off in haste to an older man.
Ten years pass, and Michal's love for David is supplanted by a growing hatred for the man who never rescued her. But David is a showman and opportunist, and in time he becomes king and summons Michal to be his queen.
Edghill's David is pure ego - he's the Bill Clinton of the Bible, Michal his Hillary and Bathsheba his Monica. The battle of wills between Michal and David makes for a fast-paced story. A Bible verse at the top of each chapter will help those readers as obsessive about cross-referencing as I am.
Edghill tells an ancient tale in a fresh and breezy way. This novel has lust, sex and power. Wish my Sunday school teacher had had such an imagination. firstname.lastname@example.org