When the Inner Voice Speaks

I might as well come clean…I hear voices. In fact, many people hear voices, it’s just not popular to talk about it openly. (Have a look at the Hearing the Voice Project, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust: https://hearingthevoice.org/ I think you will find it fascinating).

About two years ago, when I was in the process of finishing my fifth novel, Dirty Business, Joab came a-calling. He would often speak one simple phrase and then vanish–for a while, but not long–as he had a story to tell and I had been chosen as his amanuensis. And so, as I wrote the closing chapters of Dirty Business, I had to keep a notepad nearby so that I could capture Joab’s words. After all, he had held his peace for nearly three millennia. One poignant phrase he gave me became the opening line to the novel, his story, Joab. When such a voice comes to a writer, it is best to listen–or even better–to write it down; because rare are the occasions when they repeat themselves.

Who is or was Joab? I hear you ask. Well, to start, he was the nephew of his more famous uncle, King David. He was also the commander of David’s army and–perhaps more crucially–he was the man David called on to carry out some of David’s more nefarious deeds: such as killing the husband of a woman with whom David had had an affair. In today’s parlance, he would be a ‘fix-it man.’ You know: It’s only business…BLAM!

To hear David’s story by one so close to his king/uncle helps us to re-focus our views of David. I have neither added to, nor subtracted from, the life events of the mature David. In fact, I have gone to great lengths to translate afresh from the Hebrew all of David’s direct and indirect speech. I have not invented the David you will meet. The main difference is in the story-teller: Joab, and the setting: life continuing.

As I write these words, there rages a controversy in the parallel universe which is the US state of Florida, over Michelangelo’s statue of David. So if you really want to see both the man behind the statue, as well as the man behind the many legends, simply step through the quantum curtain into life continuing and let Joab be your guide. Whether or not you are a person of faith, Christian, Jew or atheist, I think you will be intrigued.

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