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David and the Philistine Woman    by Paul Boorstin order for
David and the Philistine Woman
by Paul Boorstin
Order:  USA  Can
Top Hat Books, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

The biblical story of David and Goliath is pretty well known, but it is very short. In David and the Philistine Woman, author Boorstin has fleshed it out to give us the flavor of that time, portraying how the Philistines and Israelites lived; and he has given life to the characters, both those we know and some new ones.

The Philistine woman, Nara, is made up, but she is very interesting, an unusually tall, strong and talented woman in a time when none of these attributes were prized in a female. Through her we meet Goliath and his god Dagon. Goliath is pretty one-dimensional, but the Philistine society is shown to be quite advanced compared to that of the Israelites, who were suffering because of constant warring. Saul's madness and his son Jonathan's impulsive ways - but extraordinary loyalty to David - are made vivid for us. There is one very interesting character who is able to slip in and out of both kingdoms: Najab, a trader who loves his donkeys. It would have been nice to learn more about him.

The buildup to the climactic fight between the giant and the young man takes several twists. The best part is getting to know David and his thoughts and struggles with his God. The author has also done much to help us understand the people who worshiped other gods and to show their rituals and practices of sacrifice. And although he has given us the flavor of the intrigue and politics that went on in families and between tribes at that time, in my view Boorstin could have created better depth to the story by examining in more detail the motives behind some of the characters' actions. It was beautiful, though, to see that David, Nara and Najab, people of different faiths and cultures, could finally come together in common cause.

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