Item description for The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David by Eleanor Gustafson...
Overview "Based on the biblical record, this historical novel retells the life of King David from his encounter with Goliath until his death"--Provided by publisher.
Publishers Description With comprehensive detail and flowing prose, Eleanor Gustafson crafts the retelling of King David's life-from his teenaged anointing to his death-as seen through the eyes of Asaph, a Levite historian. Fictional in scope, yet with amazing Scriptural accuracy, he Stones provides a revealing, behind-the-scenes glimpse into biblical history with all the twists, turns, thrills, and romance of the world's great drama. You will be there as: " A young teen collects stones to take on a giant" A prideful rebel takes count of his fighting men" A fallible leader succumbs to lust, temptation, and deceit" A poet and musician grows closer to God through prayer and worship" A man after God's heart discovers the unfailing love and forgiveness of his Creator The Stones is an epic adventure of man's innate need to worship God and rely on Him for strength-and how badly it can go when he fails to do so.
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Studio: Whitaker House
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.1" Height: 1.5" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Jan 6, 2009
Publisher Lake Book
ISBN 1603740791 ISBN13 9781603740791
Availability 0 units.
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More About Eleanor Gustafson
Eleanor K. Gustafson has been publishing both fiction and nonfiction since 1978. Her short stories and articles have appeared in a number of national and local magazines. The Stones, published by Whitaker House in 2009, was her fourth novel. In many of her stories, Eleanor explores the cosmic struggle between good and evil in light of God's overarching work of redemption. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she has been actively involved in church life as a minister's wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. She has enjoyed a variety of experiences, from horses to house building, all of which have helped bring color and humor to her fiction. She and her husband live in Massachusetts, where he teaches philosophy. They travel extensively, spend time with their three children and eight grandchildren, and enjoy camping at the family forest in Chester, Vermont.
Eleanor Gustafson does an amazing job of bringing King David to life as well as all the characters who surround him. While remaining biblically accurate she has crafted a the story in a way that grips the reader. This book is a true page turner. This is one book that every avid reader on your list will love. If the reader on your list, particularly the male reader on you list, is complaining because there favorite writer hasn't turned out a new book recently, buy them a copy of this book for Christmas.
A great gift for lovers of Biblical and historic fiction! Nov 3, 2009
The Stones is a rich multi-course feast for lovers of historical fiction. Exhaustively researched and skillfully crafted, it plunges the reader into the time and place and brings the larger-than-life person of Israel's great warrior-king into sharp detail. Gustafson has done a remarkable job of weaving her threads, the warp of the Scriptural accounts with the woof of her creative explorations of the lives and loves of David and his court. No familiarity with the Bible is necessary to enjoy the tale, but those who know the Psalms and Old Testament accounts will enjoy the sudden recognition of ancient words coming alive - "You anoint my head with oil" takes on a whole new resonance after you read about Jonathan's surprise visit to his exiled friend.
Told from the perspective of the court musician, Asaph, the story traces David's rise to power beginning when he is an exile from the court of King Saul. The artifice of the biographer, reporting what he has learned from sources "inside" the story, works well for a modern reader accustomed to this form. Asaph's voice is very much a part of the tale, whether he is recalling his fascination as an aspiring court musician with the musically gifted king, or explaining earnestly that he learned details of life within the harem from his wife.
There are no plastic saints in this tale, no glossing over the horrors of ancient warfare or the womanizing that brought the King to disaster. Blood runs thick on the battlefield and from the altar. Gustafson rates her novel "PG-13" and it is definitely not a Sunday School storypaper. What it is is a ripping good tale, one that will carry you through a sea of confusing names beginning with "A" and on into the heart of one of history's, and faith's, great enigmas.
It's worth noting that while Gustafson is an evangelical, her fidelity to the voice of her narrator makes this a book that can be read and enjoyed by Christians of all denominations, faithful Jews and indeed anyone with an interest in the ancient world.
Challenging and stimulating Jul 5, 2009
I can tell this book was written by someone smarter than I, and I enjoyed the stretch to broaden my mind. Even if you are not a Christian, this character is unlike any other in depth and passion. David is completely fascinating. You will see so much of yourself and others in him. So interesting to me (as a Christian) is the picture of God that this story of David brings out. This God is big, loving, forgiving, understanding, and complicated. To think that God created us in His image, and that David was a man after His own heart, is almost too much to comprehend. This story will reach you, strike a chord in you, and resonate in your spirit. Don't miss this experience!
Masterfully written epic fiction Mar 11, 2009
King David's name conjures up images of a youth with a sling facing off a towering giant with near universality. We know of his triumph, renown as a warrior, falling-out with Saul, sin with Bathsheba, siring of Solomon, the rebellion of his son Absalom - and other salient facts. However, the details of his life: the many battles, wives, and moments of abandoned praise and utter dependence so easily slip through the cracks of the terse and often dry recitations of his accomplishments as King of Israel in scripture.
Drawing directly from biblical accounts of David's life, Eleanor Gustafson weaves scriptural and historical accuracy together with imaginative emotional nuances and interactions in The Stones, an epic work of biblical fiction. Though 600 pages the story moves along at a rapid pace. Covering a lifetime of spiritual and military achievement, the scenes must shift quickly while still imparting a thorough understanding of the explored events. There are no allowances here for Gustafson to slip into unnecessary wordiness resulting in a large novel where each page is filled with vivid action.
While remaining within the confines of cultural context Gustafson subtly probes the questions most modern readers encounter. Most notably she looks beneath the surface of plural marriage and the utter annihilation of God's enemies upon His request. Her touches upon these matters are light, and attempt to explore issues that may have caused some emotional difficulties even in a time when they were permitted, and at times commanded by God.
Gustafson's David is masterfully wrought. Illuming the heart and soul of a warrior poet, his passion, strength, bravery, and even ferocity lending themselves to his musical talent rather than the two aspects standing apart from one another. His inherent sense of deep loyalty, honour and love is offset by his all too human failings. A man like any other - David's sins are mercifully forgiven by God while the implicit promise of the Christ's child's birth through David's line remains, even through difficult times of chastisement from his heavenly father.
The strong themes of military camaraderie, filial love and battle strategy will certainly ring true for men, creating one of the rare Christian novels that male readers will enjoy as much as the large, female readership of biblical fiction. David is no namby-pamby, and the brutalities of military life are quite evident in this version of his life. While not needlessly graphic for gore's own sake, Gustafson's portrayal of war is realistic, and pulls no punches when it comes to the details of David's violent, kingdom-conquering empire.
Gustafson's integration of David's psalms within actual events in his life adds additional historic relevance to one of the most loved books of the Bible. So often we read the book of Psalms with an eye only to what these verses mean to us, and how they apply to our lives, rather than considering what they meant to the author himself.
With a large cast of characters from David's life: priests, warriors, foreign rulers, wives, concubines, children, prophets, musicians, and common folk - it's simply not possible to embue each individual with deep, rich characterization. Many players are simple sketches with basic attributes outlined. David himself is the masterwork, fully fleshed through his various roles, responsibilities and moods. Of his wives Abigail is the most prominent with her sure, practical management of his household. David's general Joab, Saul's son Joab, David's son Absalom and Asaph - the Levitical musician whose biographical writings form the bulk of the novel, his reflections the narration - are all respectably fleshed out.
Helpful character lists are provided both alphabetically and categorically for those of us who are confused by the Hebraic character names, and large number of names. A glossary is provided for the light spattering of Hebrew words (very few). One inclusion I dearly would have appreciated is a blackline map sketching out David's territory, that of his enemies and notations indicating the sites of major cities and battles.
Though extensive geographic descriptions and directions are provided in the text it was impossible for my mind to construct a mental map. My biblical geography knowledge is nearly non-existent and I'm spatially challenged. Much of this detail went straight over my head. If the shifting territorial boundaries during David's reign made a single map unfeasible, perhaps a pre-David, post-David, two map spread would be appropriate.
David's calling as a God-anointed warrior king during the Old Testament may seem foreign, even harsh to the sensibilities of New Testament Christianity. I've often wondered what it was about David that made him a man after God's own heart. Was it his heart for worship, his passionate longing, or repentant nature that led God to memorialize David in these terms, or some beautiful melody drawn for these aspects and more? Through The Stones I took one step closer to understanding and loving this mighty man who was much used and loved by God.
CAN'T PUT DOWN Mar 7, 2009
This is a wonderful read on the life of David. I find myself highlighting little thoughts, quotes, and even extended passsages. It is THAT good. I find it inspires, encourages me to reflect, and best of all it really breathes color and life into the familiar story of King David. It has an easy flow that is only interupted by one's own reflection and pauses to wonder, to say "Amen," and to whisper a prayer - "There but for the grace of God."
Buy this book - read it - and pass it own to all those you love.