REVIEW: Charles Lichtman — The Sword of David (BOOK)

Charles Lichtman’s background informs his art. In this case, the two even share you could say something of a symbiotic rapport. Lichtman is an award-winning activist, Jewish community leader, and specialist on geopolitical affairs in the Middle East. He channels his expertise into the release of his new book, titled The Sword of David, infusing a fictitious narrative with fully three-dimensional and documentary-styled descriptors and references. It makes the parallel reality of the book that more interesting, particularly because in Lichtman’s own words he’s trying to communicate a vision of peace between Israel and Palestine.


This automatically puts a certain amount of responsibility on his plate, adding to why his expertise makes all the details in actuality click. In an interview with Judy Moreno for BookTrib, Lichtman elaborates on what makes the book unique, both as a worldly, ruminating piece of writing, and as some good, old-fashioned escapism. “First, it is not formulaic,” he states. “It’s not just good guy versus bad guy. But, I also do kill off characters that the reader would think were essential and who I know will be popular, because after all, the book deals with terrorists who wreak havoc where one least expects it. Most importantly, no thriller writer ever finished a book with the unexpected but satisfying ending that concludes The Sword of David. I wrote the book with that ending in mind from the moment I started the project.”

That satisfying ending ties everything up full-circle, leading to the primary crux of the story in the first place. Is peace technically possible in the Middle East? Can one of the most troubled regions in the world — separated by generational and tribal hatred, ideological dogma, and religious persecution join hands as one? Maybe, Lichtman essentially writes, by way of the real-world analogies and elements he uses informing the end of Israeli Special Forces officer Chaim Klein’s odyssey through the likes of Ethiopia, London, Paris, Lebanon, and Rome. He’s never naive enough to offer any concrete answers, or assurances. But hope? Something else severely lacking in the spy novel genre, the book is full of it. There’s a lightness to the read that proves unusual for writing of this kind. But considering the real world implications surrounding Sword of David’s inspiration, it adds a comforting footnote to the proceedings of the affair.


The dialogue in the following passage, right at the end of the book, best encapsulates this hope. “…Klein turned his head and looked at Galit, then asked her, ‘You don’t think that just because of what’s happened here today, and with all of these speeches and prayers, that we’re going to wake up tomorrow and there’s going to be world peace? Do you believe, for instance, that ISIS or Hezbollah will just lay down their arms?’ ‘No, of course not, but today is a start. And a great one,’ she replied.‘That it is. And great is an understatement. But somehow I think the battle against the Sons of Darkness might just be getting started.’” Amen to that!

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer