Like the women of the Red Tent, even the daughter of King David lived in a world ruled by men. But this woman was born to break the rules of both men and God in order to learn the art of writing, and with it, a power that could reveal the hidden truth, or slay a man with a single word. Secretly initiated into the magic of writing, Janaia finds she must master the sublime powers and visions that come with this "knowledge of good and evil," a journey that reveals the secrets of life and death through heartbreak and sacrifice.
mary gives an overview of the book:
I am old now, my once-famous power reduced to a whispering
behind my back as young slaves ask my woman, what was she
like, back then? Even though I sleep much of the day, my mind is
still sharp—like a needle rising and falling through the cloth,
embroidering flowers and birds with dyed thread of many
colors, and silver thread, and gold—it fixes a spot in the past,
pierces it, ties it down with a fine silken filament, a memory, a
fragment of poetry, my father’s poetry.
I am almost finished with the work he asked me to undertake
for him, David the King, David my father: the Story of our
People. He is gone now, these many years, and his heir rules in
his place. Solomon the Wise, they are already calling him,
though I held him as an infant and find I must bite my tongue
when I hear such things said. I, whose very name is Wisdom, Gift
from God, Hokhma Janaia. I used to be jealous, but now I just
Ah, me, what secrets I hold! A heavy burden, secrets and
sorrows, but I have my ways of shifting under them, and the best
way of all—this magic, this alchemy, this sacredness of writing.
Almost no one knows that I have learned to write; in the old
days, a girl among men, I would have been banished at once, or
even killed, and though these are more indulgent times, there is
still envy and ambition and fear.
I’m tired now. It’s mid-afternoon, and the bees are humming,
drowsy in the heat of the day, in the vines outside my window. I
can hear each one distinctly, and it makes me sleepy, too, so I will
rest until moonrise, when the cool silence of the summer night
will help me remember. For not only do I write down the tales,
the songs, the life of our people, wonderful as that is.
I write a story that has never been told.
Twenty-plus years writing in corporate communications, some published poetry, short-story firsts, went on to novels about ten years ago. My first published historical novel, J-The Woman Who Wrote the Bible, from O-Books in the UK, came out in July 2010. Second historical...