Here is the story of David as you have never heard it before: from the king himself, telling the unofficial version, the one he never allowed his court scribes to recount. In his mind, history is written to praise the victorious—but at the last stretch of his illustrious life, he feels an irresistible urge to tell the truth. In the first volume, Rise to Power, David gives you a fascinating account of his early years, culminating with a tribal coronation. Rooted in ancient lore, his is a surprisingly modern memoir.
In an era of cruelty, when destroying the enemy is deemed a sacred directive, the slayer of Goliath finds a way to become larger than life. His search for a path to power leads him in ways that are, at times, scandalous. Notorious for his contradictions, David is seen by others as a gifted court entertainer, a successful captain in Saul’s army, a cunning fugitive, a traitor leading a gang of felons, and a ruthless raider of neighboring towns who leaves no witnesses behind.
How does he see himself, during this first phase of his life? With his hands stained with blood, can he find an inner balance between conflicting drives: his ambition for the crown, his determination to survive the conflict with Saul, and his longing for purity, for a touch of the divine, as expressed so lyrically in his psalms and music?
Targeted Age Group: 13 and up
Genre: Historical Fiction
In my new release, Rise to Power, the first time David senses a conflict in his soul is in his youth, at the seminal moment when he is about to say farewell to Saul, and go face Goliath in battle:
“I lay the armor down at the king’s feet. It is leaning down there against my broken lyre. And a thought crosses my mind: here are the relics I am about to leave behind. Combat gear on one side—my string instrument on the other. Which way will I be remembered? Am I a fighter—or a poet?”
But while he sees himself standing at a crossroad, still with the possibility of holding on to his identity as a poet, others–such as king Saul–see him in an entirely different way:
“I catch sight of the reflection, my reflection in his eyes. In a flash I know Saul sees me as a danger to him. He fears me, he prays for my demise, and at the same time he adores me, too. In me he hopes to capture the fading image of that which is lost to him. His youth.
I ask myself, what makes him so jealous of me? What is he thinking?
Perhaps this: there is David, a young boy with a glint in his eyes. Morning breeze plays with his curls. It breathes words of hope and promise in his ear.
Yet unscarred by battle, his skin is smooth. His muscles are flexible, his hands strong. They are large, larger than you would expect for such a slender body. They are the hands of a killer.
There is David. Narrowing his eyes to focus them at the enemy, the boy is searching for a way to change, to become that which is not: larger than life. There he stands, ready for the kill.
I smile at Saul. He is slow to smile back.”
Needless to say, this detailed description is inspired by Michelangelo’s David. The book in inspired, in many of its scenes, by the way artists–throughout the history of art–depicted the story of David at all its amazing twists and turns.
Why did you decide to produce an audio book?
I wanted the voice of the character, with whom I have been talking for a whole year, to become resonant and real to the listeners.
How did you choose the reader for the book and the production company?
David George has a deep, resonant voice, pronounced with a regal gravity, the way I have imagined for the role of David in my new novel, Rise to Power. I became curious to learn more about him when I heard that he was born in Acre, Israel, which means that in his childhood he crossed paths with his biblical namesake. He was raised in London from age of five, and is a citizen of the UK, Canada & the US. He is A Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer, Composer, Songwriter & Voiceover Actor.
Here are but a few highlights from his illustrious career. You can see for yourself that the man I chose is as prolific in his talents as my character:
David George is a filmmaker and former A&M Canada recording artist.
He is currently working as a lyricist with Grammy nominated Michael Hoppe. “Love Overflows” a new Hoppe/George song will be Featured on the next Michael Hoppe CD out in Spring 2013.
Giuditta Scorcelletti (Vocal) and Alessandro Bongi (Guitar) will release a collection of Hoppé/George songs in the US later in 2014
He is working as a lyricist with Academy Award Winner Yuval Ron (For Syriana)
He recorded a variety of character voices for Greystone Productions in Burbank for Mellisa Jo Peltier.
He directed, edited & composed music for the documentary film The Battle of Little Sayler’s Creek – now available on Amazon.com. Also music CD It’s a Beautiful World available on CD Baby and Amazon David wrote all the songs, performed, produced and arranged the CD.
He wrote the audio drama Remote Control where he and his brother Brian George (best known as Babu on Seinfeld) starred.
He was the Director, Editor, Composer of the feature documentary The Battle of Little Sayler’s Creek: Feature Documentary
He was the writer, producer, director, composer for Sister Beatrice Explores, a satire based on Sister Wendy Beckett’s British series on art
He was the director for Dracula Tyrranus: The Tragical History of Vlad the Impaler, at The Globe Playhouse, Los Angeles. LA Weekly: Pick of the week.
He was the composer for The Howling IV: Feature Film
Enjoy the process! What else would you like to share with readers about your audio book?
But now, Bathsheba… She is different. My God, she is a woman! Which is why she seems untouchable to me, and not only because she is married.
All of a sudden she stirs. Has the water cooled down?
“Go away,” she says, with her back to me.
It seems that shame is not in her nature. She moves the big sponge around her neck, into one armpit, then another, knowing full well I cannot take my eyes off her. I cannot help but notice the bubbles of soap sliding slowly down, all the way down, then around her slippery curves. She may be the one in the tub—but contrary to my expectations, I am the one trapped.
“Go back to your place, sir, to that skyscraper thing of yours.” She points carelessly in the direction of the window at the top of my tower.
What she should be saying is your majesty or my lord rather than sir, but at this turn of events I hardly wish to correct her.
So she goes on to say, “And sir—”
“Yes?” I say, eagerly.
“No need to hide behind that curtain, up there,” says Bathsheba. “What, you think I haven’t noticed? You think I care?”
“I know you don’t,” I say, gloomily.
Feeling uninvited should not come as a surprise to me—but somehow it does. Hell, what was I thinking? That she will accept me with open arms, like every other girl I know?
I kneel down by her side, which forces me to adjust the crown, because it is now tilting on my head.
In profile, her lashes hang over her cheek, and the shadow flutters. Bathsheba brings her hand to her lips and ever so gently, blows off a bubble. It comes off the palm of her hand, then swirls around in the evening breeze, becoming more iridescent until its glassy membrane thins out, and then—pop! Nothing is left but thin air.
“Leave me be,” she says, stretching her arms lazily, as if to prepare for a yawn. “You may watch me from up there all day long, if that’s the kind of thing you like.”
“You sure put on a good show. I never imagined a woman could pose so many different ways in a small tub.”
“Well, if you must know, it’s quite a ritual. Takes a lot to purify the mind.”
“And the body, too.”
“Yes,” says Bathsheba. “A lot of hard work.”
“Apparently so,” say I. “A lot of time, too.”
“Oh, go away already!” She waves a hand at me, still without as much as a glance in my direction. To make matters worse, she turns away. “I can feel your eyes in my back. Just, stop it. Stop watching me.”
“I am grateful to you,” I say, “for every moment of it.”
To which she utters a sigh, barely containing her boredom.
Then, on a whim, she plunges underwater nearly all the way, so all that remains above the foamy surface is the little embroidered towel wrapped around her head.
After several evenings of watching her from afar I still have no idea if her hair is curled or straight, red or brown. I have painted her in my mind several different ways already, each time more beautiful than the other. By now it matters little to me. She is so sexy, she might as well be bald.
When she comes back up, “What,” she says. “You still here?”
“What’s the point of going up there,” I say, hearing a slight tone of complaint in my voice. I hope she does not think me childish. That would be devastating.
With a hint of a smile, she asks, “What does that mean, What’s the point?”
So I say, “You would seem too small from above.”
“Really,” says Bathsheba. “I thought I spotted you standing by your window, with your sword aimed at me.”
To which I explain, “I could not see a thing through the glass. It became cloudy, or something. At this time of day, even though it is only the beginning of summer, it’s much too steamy in the office.”
She rolls her eyes. “I’ve had it with men.”
I can find nothing to say, and perhaps there is no need to. She can tell, can’t she, how desperately I ache for her.
“My life is scandal-free at the moment,” she says. “It feels nice for a change.”
David in Rise to Power
This passage, selected with tender loving care by my narrator David George, is what you will hear when you play the voice sample for the audiobook edition. If the use of modern language surprises you, if you have expected a language that dates to biblical times–or, failing that, at least good old Shakespeare English, and if you find yourself shocked by Bathsheba mentioning a skyscraper–please consider this:
The view of the story has undergone amazing transformation over the ages. Take a look, for example, in the Painting ‘David and Bathsheba’ painted by Lucas Cranach the elder in 1526. He treated his subjects with awe and reverence, and the only naked skin visible is Bathsheba’s little foot, bathed by an adoring maid. David is presented as a psalmist, rather than a leering, dirty old man peeping on an unsuspecting, naked woman. There is no sin here!
Now compare the way Picasso transformed this very painting. The composition is exactly the same (only mirrored left to right) but the brush stroke is modern, it is spontaneous and fresh, bringing a sizzle to the entire scene. He enlarged the proportions of all the figures, especially David, so it is easier to spot the king here, because he is the only one fleshed out among the men at the top. His musical instrument is barely sketched, because the important activity is not playing heavenly music but rather gazing at the women, gazing at all the women, with keen, sexual interest. The water dripping from Bathsheba’s foot is clearly emphasized, with its juicy suggestion of a symbol of lust.
There is no right and wrong way to interpret the story. As an artist and writer, I believe that my mission is to let the characters speak to you through me. The king is flesh and blood in my mind, and so is Bathsheba.