From Publishers Weekly
In two previous novels, Maine showcased a great gift for fleshing out the lives of biblical characters (Noah and his relations in The Preservationist
; Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel in Fallen
). He returns to the Bible for this wildly pleasurable first-person account of the life of Samson, the Israelite judge remembered for his voluminous hair, Herculean strength and ill-advised relationship with Delilah. Samson delivers his monologue from the Philistine temple of Dagon where, shorn and shackled and awaiting execution, he reflects upon a life of "frustration and pain plus a fair bit of sex and lots of killing and broken bones." Hatred of the Philistines is the narrative's central theme, and Samson delights in recalling his violent exploits. Though he is a brute and a blowhard, he's also hilariously plainspoken and not above ruefully admitting his shortcomings, chief among them his weakness for "a pretty face or the swelling of a woman's backside." Which brings us to Delilah. Though the outcome of their doomed tryst will surprise no one, Maine keeps the story captivating, a result of the sensationally entertaining voice he's dialed into. The combination of archaic language and setting with modern sensibilities again demonstrates Maine's talent for making the familiar intriguing. (Nov.)
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We all know the story of mighty Samson and seductive Delilah and how she cut his hair, robbing him of his strength and allowing his enemies to capture him, and how he pulls down the pagan temple. But there's so much more to the Old Testament story. Maine, in his third biblical retelling, uses it all, putting his masterful spin on the details. While chained to the pillars of the temple waiting to die, Samson tells the story of his life, from his miraculous birth, to his revenge against his Philistine bride's village, killing 3,000 with the jawbone of an ass, and finally his disastrous affair with Delilah. He did it all with God's incredible strength flowing through him. For Samson, the Philistines are God's enemy usurping the Promised Land, whereas the Philistines, according to the temple priest who taunts him, are happy to coexist. As Samson says, this is not a happy story, but it is one that will resonate with today's headlines and leave the reader thinking. Elizabeth DickieCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved