Lotan’s meticulously researched novel wears its mantle of scholarship lightly as it breathes life into a fascinating period of the bible — the reigns of David and Solomon in Jerusalem, some three thousand years ago.
Of the scant female biblical characters, few are as intriguing as Avishag the Shunammite: a young girl brought from obscurity to the court of the aged King David, to warm the king’s bed and stir his aged blood. Though ‘exceedingly fair’, she does not become the King’s concubine. Reticent and loyal to David, she becomes an unwitting magnet, drawing the attention of the kingdom’s most powerful men. As the sons of David—Adonijah the Judean and Solomon the Wise stake their claims, it is Avishag who will play the decisive role in the bloody rivalry for the succession.