Excerpt from The Book of Samson by David Maine, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Book of Samson

by David Maine

The Book of Samson
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 240 pages
    Nov 2007, 240 pages

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Print Excerpt

At times the Philistines even worship the works of the One True God as being gods themselves so they pray to the thunder or the sun or various animals and engage in many other laughable superstitious practices.

I say laughable but admit I’m not laughing now.

This I will attest: that at the moment they have the upper hand but one day the LORD will give me back my hands to hold over them. As He has done so many times before. And when he does so those hands will not be empty but will contain a mighty sword or awesome club or at least a very heavy stone with which to smite them. And so I shall and they will break into small pieces and die. They will die. And I will laugh and dance as will my people. They will sing songs in praise of my deeds. And tell stories.

Those are stories which will have in them no dearth of hope & joy comfort & inspiration. Mark me well.

I fear I am rambling and not sticking to the point. I ask you to forgive me as this is a fault I’m prone to—which you’ll see for yourself readily enough if you choose to attend my story for any length of time. The best thing for me to do now is start at the beginning for it is a story unlike any you have heard I have no doubt.

How I Entered the World

The manner of my birth was a sight wondrous to behold if one believes the stories as they are told and I see no reason to doubt them. Involving angels come to earth and signs in the heavens and so forth it must have quite overwhelmed my poor simple parents.

I use the words poor and simple in their poetic sense. My parents were not poor in things of the material world as my father had achieved some status in his native village of Dan and my mother’s standing was of a commensurate level. Nor were they either of them simple in any sense of the word. But faced with the glory and grandeur and mystery of the One True God and witnessing the signs His angels made in the sky plain enough for even the blind to see—well how can anyone be but simple and poor when faced with such?

What happened was this. My mother lay back to birth me and out I came heralded at the same moment by a choir of angelic voices and the fiery wings of a bird outstretched across the firmament. Naturally I remember none of this. But I have heard the story so often I feel as though I was a witness to it rather than a participant however unwitting. With the bird’s wingspan reaching from horizon to horizon all eyes were naturally fixed upon it not me nor my poor laboring mother either. And when at length the bird hurtled heavenwards to disappear into the Almighty’s eternal reaches and the angelic host had roared itself hoarse—that is when my father and my aunts who were tending to my mother remembered to drop their gaze to where she lay sweating and straining against her matting already wet with birth-water and blood and perspiration.

I should mention that my mother was no longer a young woman and I as her firstborn was an unexpected gift in later life. Doubtless she wondered whether such heavenly displays were standard childbearing fare that heretofore she had somehow failed to observe.

As I say: Everyone looked at her and what did they behold? These midwives and attendants and sisters of my mother as well as my father who had sired me? They beheld my mother and then they saw her offspring. A pink-smeared but strangely placid infant sitting upright between my mother’s glistening thighs which as anyone will tell you is not normal for a child of only a few moments. What’s more I had a thick tangle of black curly hair even as I have now but slick with the fluid of my mother’s belly. Most strangely of all perhaps was the fact that I grasped in my hand a stone of not inconsiderable weight. It was well and truly a rock—not just a wad of hard earth or ossified dung but a gray chunk of granite shot through with silver threads of mica and quartz. And with all these people watching me—so the story goes—I sat up and looked right back at them and the silence stretched between us like a length of gut pulled taut till it hums. And then when the silence had stretched as far as it could and the angels were gone and the wings of flame had vanished and my mother’s breathing had settled into a rhythm fast and shallow—that’s when I held that stone aloft. Held it overhead in one chubby infant’s arm.

Excerpted from The Book of Samson by Davin Maine. Copyright © 2006 by David Maine. Excerpted by permission of ST. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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