Rise to Power by Uvi Poznansky is a stand alone historical novel, even though it is Volume 1 of the David Chronicles box set. It is also the first book in the AT ODDS WITH DESTINY box set. Rise to Power chronicles the story of King David with a little bit of Goliath and a whole lot of Saul.
I’m picky about the historical fiction I choose to read. When it’s done well, I’m a fan. I’m also a fan of Uvi Poznansky (Author Wednesday) and her contemporary work of literary fiction, Apart from Love (Book Review Friday), so I began reading with confidence that Ms. Poznansky’s deft hand could change genres with aplomb.
Historical fiction recounting a familiar story requires a creative mind to make the story fresh, even though we already know the ending. It’s why the Greeks saw hundreds of versions of Oedipus and Elizabethans never tired of watching Caesar mutter, “Et tu, Brute?” Readers and play- and movie-goers alike desire to be entertained with a perspective they’ve not yet imagined.
The task demands a command of plot structure, development of characters, and a unique unfolding of events. Ms. Poznansky achieves it all in Rise to Power.
Even more challenging for the author is point of view. In this novel, the reader jumps right into the mind of David, who takes us on his journey from his job as Saul’s court jester and musician to his encounter with the Philistine Goliath and beyond. The first person point of view sets it apart from other retellings because now we’ve entered into the realm of the author’s imagination as she envisions how David might have felt at all the junctures in his life.
The story of Kind David recounts the magical myth of a man–perhaps the original story of poor boy triumphant in his rise to glory. Going inside the mind of the man himself provides us with more than a mere recounting of the details we already know. His rise to glory–seen through his eyes–follows the universal contrasts of fear and bravery, disgust and lust, joy and depression, love and hate, disapprobation and respect.
The author captivates the reader with the first line of Chapter 1: “I am so thrilled.” This chapter is preceded by a Prologue set later in David’s life where he expresses anything but the joy of this first glimpse into his mind as a young boy summoned to play before King Saul.
Let the roller coaster ride to power begin. I am now anxious to read Volumes 2 and 3, A Peek at Bathsheba and The Edge of Revolt. I’m impressed with all aspects of this work of historical fiction, so I am certain the rest of The David Chronicles will follow suit.