Showing posts with label Biblical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biblical. Show all posts

Monday, January 8, 2024

David: Warrior and King

Author Frank G. Slaughter (1908-2001) concentrated his writing efforts on medical-suspense novels and historical fiction. As C.V. Terry, Slaughter authored sweeping adventure fiction that incorporated buccaneers and early medical surgeons, evident in titles like Buccaneer Surgeon (1954) and Buccaneer Doctor (1955). I've enjoyed his historical fiction set in the early days of Florida, including Apalachee Gold (1954), which was my first experience with the author. But, Slaughter also authored a number of historical fiction that is based off of the Holy Bible. These “biblical history” titles included full-length novels about figures like Ruth, Simon, Mary, and Paul

In reading the Bible, specifically books Samuel and Chronicles, a grand adventure presents itself concerning one of the most iconic figures in religion, King David of Israel. When I was a kid, church was mandatory, and sitting through endless sermons was cumbersome for my restless spirit. But, the most exciting aspect of attending church was the scriptures about David, a fierce warrior who bested the Philistine giant. Later, as an adult, I had always considered David's story as one of the best and earliest adventure accounts in literature. I had longed for a book that would incorporate the actual scripture, but in a novel format that would take some liberties in fleshing out the complete, awe-inspiring life of David. Thankfully, I discovered that Slaughter had that idea in the early 1960s. 

David: Warrior and King was published by World Publishing Company as a hardcover in 1962 and then published by Permabook a year later in paperback. Today, you can find it as an ebook HERE

At 400 pages, the novel begins with David as a young shepherd boy in Bethlehem. Readers learn that David's brother is Eliab, a soldier for King Saul in the Israeli military. David is a skillful hunter, displaying his bravery to Eliab with the hunting and slaying of a pesky jackal. In the early pages of the book, the prophet Samuel anoints David's head with oil and declares that he will eventually become Israel's king. This prophecy shapes the book's narrative as readers embark on the inevitable journey to the throne.

David's life spills onto the pages in a compelling, easy to read format that doesn't take anything away from scripture. Slaughter's novel showcases the shepherd boy and the stark contrast to Saul, an angry, mentally unstable king that eventually skirts God's will to pursue selfish interests. 

In the book's opening half, readers learn of David's first love, his epic battle with Goliath, and his eventual marriage to Saul's daughter. His friendship with Jonathan and Joab are central to the book as David matures under Saul's watchful eye. As the half closes, David and his small band of soldiers have become enemies of Saul. This harrowing event sets into motion a cat-and-mouse game through the hills and mountains as David avoids Saul's wrath while also positioning himself politically to gain the throne. 

In the second half, David's reign is presented through world-building and intricate political moves that incorporate the usual strife and treason among the most trusted allies. Perhaps the most important part of David's story is his eventual downfall, a mistrust between himself and God. These chapters show a hardened David, one that will even murder his own loyalists to pursue what his heart desires. David's yearning and fascination for Bathsheba, a married woman, leads him to some pretty dark places. God's will reshapes not only David's life, but his family's generations to come. This monumental event sparks a drastic change for Israel's future king. 

David: Warrior and King is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Slaughter's meticulous detail to geography, historical events, and the people of this era is just extraordinary. Chapters of the book also connect directly to scripture, which is highlighted for the reader with direct passages from the Bible. As a casual men's action-adventure fan, you'll enjoy this march through the military ranks, the sweeping fights across endless battlefields, and the extreme compromises David faces as an enemy of the state. If you enjoy fantasy epics, there is enough world-building, tribes, and swordplay to soak up the narrative. 

If you are a Christian, Jew, or Muslim, David's life and history, as shown in the Bible, is an important part of your own religion. No matter your faith, King David is iconic. If you aren't of the faith, then the book should still be enjoyable as an action-packed novel. But, hopefully, Slaughter's novel will peak your curiosity and lead you on a path to the written scripture and ultimately...God. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Tortured for Christ

Right off the bat, let me just say I review vintage paperbacks. I love paperbacks. Bestsellers, Lowsellers, Nosellers, it makes no difference to me. But, I also do enjoy reading and reviewing paperbacks that were a sensation at the time of their publication. Books that flew off of shelves for no real reason other than just “you had to be there” sort of thing. 

Before you roll your eyes and think Paperback Warrior is now Paperback Priest, I'm reviewing Tortured for Christ because it is a vintage book from 1967, it was a sensation in multiple countries and languages, and for the most part it has everything I love - high adventure, military combat, WW2 history, good guys fighting bad guys, espionage prison, and escapism. So, if I'm going to read The Great Escape, If I Die in a Combat Zone, or Yet Another Voice, there's no reason to avoid Tortured for Christ. I believe everyone should have the freedom to believe what they believe and read what they want to read. Which is ultimately the premise of Tortured for Christ. If you are a believer or nonbeliever, it honestly doesn't matter. This is just a great book. 

The book is like an autobiography written in the third person by Richard Wurmbrand. As a fascinating history lesson, Wurmbrand chronicles his life growing up in Romania and the effects World War I and II had on his life and his country. The events of those wars are well documented in the book, but Wurmbrand goes behind the lines and really presents a human element to the madness of war and its effects on women, children, and families. 

Due to Wurmbrand being a Christian pastor, he immediately becomes a target of the Nazis. After World War II, his life and those of others in Romania seemed to have finally reached a bright spot. But, Stalin and communist forces took control of Romania and transformed it into a puppet government for Russia. Wurmbrand and his wife go on the run, working incognito and underground to avoid the brutal regime. Unfortunately, Wurmbrand is caught by the secret police and is shuffled through multiple prisons for 14 terrifying years.

I'm a veteran of the 70s, 80s, and 90s team-combat books, the military fictional men's action-adventure novels, the high-numbered installments of your favorite vigilante or supermerc, so I'm accustomed to heroes undergoing torture by evil governments, villains, drug dealers, etc. It isn't anything new. But, when it comes to real-life descriptions of torture, it's a different thing completely. 

The horrors that Wurmbrand endured, and his unbending faith in God, really had an impact on me. It made me question why I'm complaining about my coffee being served cold in the drive-thru lane when people like this suffered, and are still suffering, daily for various reasons. I'm not sure how Wurmbrand was able to do the things he did (which in itself might be hyperbole on his part), but the book's overall development from freedom to prison to liberation was simply mindblowing. 

If you do enjoy reading this sort of thing, I do recommend Yet Another Voice, which I reviewed, and also Faith of my Fathers, both of which depict real-life horrors of prison in North Vietnam. If you want to skip this book completely, the novel was adapted into a film this year by the same name. Buy a copy of the book HERE.