The Book of Ittai	
by John M. Tosti	
John M.Tosti

"My aim was true striking Goliath between the eyes. Suddenly he stopped... The stone was a mere annoyance. No more than an insect bite."

This novel takes a unique turn on the biblical story of David and Goliath by following the life of Ittai, a boy younger than David when he slew the giant. Ittai's family is slaughtered by Goliath, but he is saved from the same fate by showing courage and strength. At only ten years of age, he takes his only weapon, a rock and sling, and kills Goliaths shield bearer. Though Ittai tried in vain to kill Goliath in the same manner, his fortitude impressed Goliath so much that he let him live, albeit as a slave. After Goliath is killed, Ittai's long journey is tested by numerous battles, plagues, political ambitions of those around him, and prophecy.

Reminiscent of The Red Tent, the historically evocative language decisively sets the tone for this period. Tosti has firmly rooted the scene with multitudes of biblical place names and characters, giving a physical sense to the historical setting. Prominent characters in religious history are made very real and sympathetic to the reader.

In the chapter "The Dead Turtle," Tosti experiments with parable. The stench of the expired turtle causes Ittai to do many odd things including yelling and throwing rocks at it, but he eventually learns his lesson. This refreshing break in style is suggestive of Native American stories handed down through the oral tradition. Through parables, historically appropriate language, and a firm sense of setting, The Book of Ittai adds a new dimension of understanding to several well-known biblical stories.

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