Prophet, Priest and King: A Novel of King Solomon
It's not easy to write a Biblical story and still make it seem relevant to the present times but clearly John Howard Reid knows his subject matter well. This fully-engaging novel presents an aged and not-so-wise King Solomon who is forced to make certain choices. He has to pit his wits against the temple priests when an unknown killer is on the prowl, and the common people are close to rebellion. More
King Solomon is often equated with wisdom, but, contrary to popular belief, the Bible does not always portray him as wise and good. In fact, the Bible also depicts him as an evil, cruel, hedonistic tyrant. The truth probably lies between these two Biblical extremes. Here, perhaps, in this novel lies the real Solomon, the real prophet, priest and king. After all, he was a man whom the Bible fails to praise for his greatest accomplishment – religious tolerance. Instead the Bible condemns and vilifies Solomon because he allowed the priests of Baal unhindered access to Palestine. No doubt the king reasoned that if the priests were freely allowed to set up their Baals in all the high places, they would win very few converts. On the other hand, if the priests were actively persecuted and thus given heaps of free publicity, they might well attract thousands to their false beliefs. So perhaps Solomon really was the fountain of Wisdom the Bible presents – but maybe for the very opposite reasons? Cherie Fisher writes: If you are curious about Old Testament biblical stories, then this book is for you. John Howard Reid does a good job intertwining the biblical story of King Solomon with a story about murder and intrigue. He captures the religious politics of the time with the struggle between worshiping the god Baal and the God of the Hebrews. King Solomon had killed many Baal priests and chased the rest from his land many years before; but as he aged, he relaxed his position and many priests returned to set up shrines to Baal. The story begins when the priests are being murdered, and the figures of their gods smashed. King Solomon is determined to solve these murders and perhaps atone for some of the wrongs that he committed as a younger man. Aging and failing physically, Solomon lives between the past and present. This novel is interesting but sometimes hard to follow because the author tells it in the first person, but from different people's perspectives in each scroll. Both King Solomon and Ahijah the wandering prophet number among the first-person narrators. All of the main players are interesting characters. The basis of the novel is taken from the books of Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament of the Bible and the author does a very good job interpreting the stories. Overall it was well written and I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in biblical stories. The murder and intrigue surrounding this story definitely make "Prophet, Priest and King: A Novel of King Solomon" by John Howard Reid an interesting read. Shoma Mittra writes: If it is myth, mysticism and mystery that you are looking for, then you have picked up the right book. John Howard Reid's novel, "Prophet, Priest and King" is set in Jerusalem during the time of an aging King Solomon. There are twelve stories which are called scrolls in this book and each of the stories is a chapter. Each story gives a different point of view. It is not easy to write a Biblical story and still make it seem relevant to the present times but clearly John Howard Reid knows his subject matter well. He makes full use of this knowledge as he weaves his twelve scrolls together into engaging stories. The tales are about an aged and a not so wise King Solomon who is forced to make certain choices. He has to pit his wits against the temple priests when an unknown killer is on the prowl in Baal. The fact that the much oppressed common people are close to rebellion does not make matters any easier. The Biblical characters are many and if you are not well versed in the Bible and the Chronicles, like me, chances are that you will find yourself googling much of your way through the book. But I must say that I am all the richer for it. There is Jeroboam the former governor of Israel, Ajijah the wandering prophet, Iddo the blind seer, the high priest, the prophet Nathan, David and his son and numerous other characters. If you are into historical novels, this is a good read.