Top critical review
A steamy biblical love story
4 November 2012
This has to be one of the greatest love stories ever told, and Ayala has done a wonderful job with its inventive reconstruction.
Michal, daughter of Saul, was the first wife of King David. They met as youngsters, mere teens, and David won her hand battling the Philistines and killing Goliath. Circumstances, fear, exile and political unrest led to their separation, in which time David took other wives, and Michal had to fight to keep her faith alive that David had not forgotten her.
The course of their marriage and relationship appears to be complicated and tumultuous at best. Michal is sometimes his Queen, first wife, and love of his life, and other times has offended her husband and/or God, and is banished from his harem. I did not always understand quite what it was she'd done to upset everyone, given the way David often appeared to cut her out.
Ayala describes an extremely sexual, sensual, steamy alliance between the two, with more graphic intimacy scenes than I've read in years, and perhaps more than is necessary, especially within a Biblical story.
But she also vividly portrays the lifestyles, dress, meals, entertainment, living abodes, funeral rites and countryside of the Israelites, the Philistines, and other warring tribes.
The author suggests you re-read 1 and 2 Samuel for the original Biblical story, but from her cast of characters it looks as though she has kept with true events as far as is necessary, and filled the rest in with her imaginative storytelling skills.
This is a very big story that reaches right into the heart of King David, both warrior and musician, a man after God's own heart, where lay his second greatest love - his first wife, Michal.