THE STONES: a sprawling epic of the life of Israel’s foremost king

Posted: April 7, 2015 in Book reviews

King David is, in my view, the most fascinating figure of the Old Testament. I always found his story inspiring: the young, feisty shepherd boy who became famous as the slayer of a giant. The fierce warrior who united a nation. The lustful man who covered one sin with another. The ardent worshipper whose songs of longing for God still inspire multitudes nowadays. The one from whose line came The Way, The Truth and The Life.ย  A man after God’s own heart.

I’ve had the pleasure and honor of rediscovering the story of this larger-than-life Biblical figure through a magnificent epic novel called THE STONES, written by Eleanor Gustafson.

The novel(for the signed copy of which I wholeheartedly thank the author), tells the story of David from his confrontation with Goliath(introduced like I’ve never seen it before), to his death, from the perspective of Asaph, a Levite musician. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the most emotional portrayal of an Old Testament figure that I’ve ever had the opportunity to read. I felt like I was there from beginning to end all the way through David’s life. I felt like I was following him around as he bantered with his Mighty Men, I felt the gore and exhaustion of his most epic battles, I felt the weight of his sins crushing his soul, and I praised the Lord together with him. When writing Biblical fiction, it may prove easy to turn the subject into a morally perfect individual. I’m very, very glad that the author did not choose that path. David was a man of war, of blood, of lust, and in the nearly 600 pages of the novel, there’s plenty of each. However, this is carefully balanced with the moments in which the all-too-human king seeks the support of the Almighty God.

Perhaps, in a way, my fascination with David, the mighty King of Israel, can be explained through the fact that his story is so universal. We all have our battles, our giants, our passions, our anger. And we all have to remember that through it all, we’re not alone. Ten stars out of five for the most beautiful reminder of this undeniable truth that I have read in a while. Thank you, Ms. Gustafson! Great, great job! Hope to meet you someday and have a long talk!

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Comments
  1. Alex, words fail me. You have expressed exactly what I wanted the novel to accomplish. You even cracked the code of Asaph’s dream about Goliath! I am everlastingly grateful for your splendid words about The Stones, and yes–in this world or the next, we’ll sit down and have a good chat. I’ve already made a reservation with David and Abigail, and I’d love for you to join us! Thank you, my friend!

  2. davalynnspencer says:

    Now I must read!

    • Thanks so much for wanting to read The Stones, Davalynn. Please let me know when you finish (egus@me.com), and you too will have a standing invitation for our soiree with David and Abigail. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I write biblical fiction, and think you have captured the many extremes in David’s life. I want to read your book.

    • Thanks, Katheryn. I looked up your Gravatar website, and you have an impressive resume. I would love for you to read The Stones and then let me know what you think. It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book. Bless you in your writing, your mentoring, and your inspirational ministry. We’re in this together! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I wish all the authors who wrote biblical fiction would form a group. After being so unpopular for so many decades, I think it is making a comeback, possibly due to Mel Gibson’s and Roma Downy’s movies. It seems kind of like a last hurrah for Christianity before America goes the way of Europe.

  4. Yes, the Bible is becoming quite popular these days. Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus is another one making the rounds. Other authors, too, besides you and me, are putting out biblically themed books. I’m not sure where they rank in overall popularity, but they’re out there. Thanks, Katheryn!

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