This novel retells the biblical narrative of Saul and David. I previously read Katy Morgan's Nativity retelling, "The Promise and the Light," and this one takes a similar approach. Morgan stays true to the biblical record as much as possible, but fleshes out characterization and internal details to make the story come to life for younger readers. The book includes a reading plan for those who are also interested in delving into the source material in 1 and 2 Samuel, and there are notes at the end where Morgan specifies what she got from the Bible, versus made up or made an interpretive decision about
The publisher is marketing this for ages eight to twelve, and I see this age rating as a loose recommendation. Some eight-year-olds will find this book too dense for them, since it's about 275 pages long with fairly small text, but some teens may greatly enjoy this. "The Songs of a Warrior" is an engaging read, and although it sometimes includes graphic depictions of violence, this all reflects details from the Bible. Parents of younger, more sensitive readers may prefer to read this book along with their child to discuss some of the violence and Saul's abusive behaviors, but the content is age-appropriate overall.
"The Songs of a Warrior" is a great selection for kids who like historical fiction. The author fleshed out the characters in an engaging way, rotating through different viewpoints and exploring the human side of war and political tensions. The book has some pacing challenges, due to the broad time range it covers, and I found some of the transition points too rushed, but I enjoyed it overall. This engaging story will appeal to many kids, and I recommend this for individual use and book clubs.
Note: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.