|Publication Date||December 18, 2017|
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In "The Lyre and the Sword" Mandel tells the life of King David, the most famous king in history or literature, an exceptional man, a superb poet, a talented musician and a great military leader. He was also an unscrupulous and ambitious politician who used his intelligence and courage to climb from his humble beginnings as a shepherd to the summit of an empire. His failure as a father, his reluctance to discipline his children, and his indulgence were the cause of tragic events in his dysfunctional family. The author presents David as a living character, not the idealized king, but a man whose virtues were matched by his shortcomings, in a book full of adventures, humor and irony. From the Prologue of "The Lyre and the Sword": My father, King David, was lying in bed, exhausted and breathing hard. When he saw me he smiled weakly, tried to get up, but could not. I was shocked to see him so feeble and emaciated, a shadow of the man he had been. With the little strength he had left, he grabbed my hand and spoke to me in a voice that I could barely hear. At times his voice faltered, but yet he still spoke clearly. "Regarding Joab, my nephew and childhood friend, the commander of my army, more brother to me than my own brothers, a man who saved my life in battle more than once, a man who devoted his entire life to my service…" "Yes, father, I know, I know" I interrupted. "I want you to kill him."
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