Stories Not Swords in “The Secret Book of Kings”

The Secret Book of Kings, the fifth of Yochi Brandes’ six novels, appeared last week in English translation. It’s the first of the best-selling writer’s novels to be translated into English. Brandes retells the stories of the House of Saul and of the northern Kingdom of Israel, stories that were artfully concealed by the House of David and the scribes of the southern Kingdom of Judah. Host Marcela Sulak reads an excerpt from the first part of the novel, narrated by the child Shelomoam.

“The Judeans refuse to accept the superiority and leadership of the tribe of Joseph. Sometimes they use force against us, like when Caleb ben Jephunneh tried to rebel against Joshua, and at other times they use stories.”

“Stories?” I asked with wonder. “But stories aren’t weapons.”

Mother answered with a grave expression on her face that stories are more dangerous than swords. Swords can only harm those standing right in front of them, while stories determine who will live and who will die in future generations.

Brandes was born in Haifa to a family of Hasidic rabbis. She taught Bible and Judaism for many years. She has been awarded the Book Publishers Association’s Platinum Book Prizes for seven of her books, including the Hebrew edition of The Secret Book of Kings.

Text:
The Secret Book of Kings, by Yochi Brandes. Translated by Yardenne Greenspan. St. Martin’s Press, August 23, 2016.

Music:
Michael Levy – Reconstructed Ancient Egyptian Melody
Peter Pringle – The Lyre Of Meggido
Chilly Gonzales – Train Of Thought

Producer: Laragh Widdess
Technical producer: Alex Benish

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