Michal is a princess, Abigail a wealthy widow, and Bathsheba a soldier’s bride, but as women in Ancient Israel their destiny is the same: to obey their fathers, serve their husbands and raise their children.
Marriage to King David seems to offer them an escape, but behind the trappings of power they discover a deeply conflicted man. The legendary hero who slew Goliath, founded Jerusalem and saved Israel is also a vicious despot who murders his rivals, massacres his captives and menaces his harem.
Michael Arditti’s masterly new novel centres on three fascinating, formidable women, whose voices have hitherto been silenced. As they tell of love and betrayal, rape and revenge, motherhood and childlessness, they not only present the time-honoured story in a compelling new light but expose a conflict between male ruthlessness and female resistance, which remains strikingly pertinent today.
‘A wonderfully rich novel. Arditti brings Ancient Israel to life’ Allan Massie, The Scotsman
‘[A] fierce, sinewy novel … It is not the new beginning but the preceding dynastic carnage that’s gripping - the blood-strewn road to spirituality and wisdom, through murder, sensuality and betrayal, as described by three women, wives of King David, who travel it in exhilaration and terror.’ Howard Jacobson
'Beautiful, bold and imaginative' Massimo Gava, Dante Magazine
'It is with great joy that the reader will fall upon Michael Arditti's latest novel' Catholic Herald
‘In bringing the neglected figures of Michal, Abigail and Bathsheba to powerful life, Michael Arditti also paints a lethally honest portrait of an Old Testament hero. It is a novel that makes one think again and is absolutely fascinating.’ Elizabeth Buchan, author of The Museum of Broken Promises
'Arditti has an unusual voice and perspective that deserve a larger audience. ... Rich in history, The Anointed highlights the lost role of women in the foundation stories of the great faiths, and suggests the hidden homoeroticism (between David and Michal's big brother Jonathan, described in the Old Testament as 'becoming one in spirit') lurking in otherwise emotionally inexplicable passages in our holy books. Most of all, Arditti asks profound questions about those who feel themselves called to lead — whether they be great kings, godlike figures or today's statesmen and women. What is the human cost incurred when their self-belief slides into self-delusion — for them and for those around them?' Peter Stanford, Spectator