Song of Songs
A Novel of the Queen of Sheba
By Marc Graham
Lift the veil of legend for the untold story of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and Bathsheba, wife and mother of Israel’s first kings.
A Conversation with Marc Graham
Hi Marc, welcome back to Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots… Why did you want to become an author, and when you are not writing, what do you like doing?
I've been a storyteller most of my life, which got me into no small trouble when I was young. I've since shifted my focus from who may or may not have made a fuel-air explosive from the chicken feed to writing novels. I'm also a mechanical engineer, Vedic astrologer, Norse Rune master, and student of shamanic practices.
What inspired you to write Song of Songs?
I've known the Queen of Sheba story most of my life, and have long had a fascination with mythology and secret or lost history. In the late 1990s I joined the Freemasons, whose founding myth is centred on the building of King Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. Now, the Biblical account of the Queen of Sheba story consists of only about thirteen verses, and has a definite patriarchal/monotheist propaganda feel to it. But while exploring various legends of the Craft, I came upon a version of the Queen of Sheba story I'd never seen before. In this account, the famous queen comes to Jerusalem not because she's heard of Solomon's wisdom, but because of the temple he is building. Solomon is continually trying to get into her knickers, but she wants first to meet builder of the magnificent temple. The king finally relents, and the queen is immediately struck by the temple-builder's skill, leadership, and other manly endowments. Jealousy and mayhem ensure. While I've reworked a number of details to suit my own story, discovering this unique legend really brought the tale to life for me.
What were the challenges you faced in researching this period of history?
The earliest, most authoritative version we have of the Queen of Sheba story was written nearly 500 years after the alleged events (assuming they ever happened at all). As with all the Biblical legends, the underlying oral traditions were reworked during the Babylonian captivity of the Judean priestly and upper classes in order to create a new national myth, raising a provincial storm god from patron deity status to the sole god of the universe. Later versions of the myth from Arabic and Ethiopian sources are equally propagandist.
We have very few scripts remaining from the period around 1000 BCE, roughly corresponding to the time of Kings David and Solomon. And modern archaeology around the old city of Jerusalem is politically challenging at best. However, archaeological research in other areas of ancient Canaan (including the areas traditionally held to be under Israelite/Judean rule) have open a window into the daily lives of the common folk of the region. More exciting, the recovery and translation of the El Amarna tablets, along with David Rohl's new chronology of the Egyptian dynasties, provide a new way of understanding the international realpolitik around the turn of the first millennium BCE.
There are many books about the Old Testament stories. Can you tell us three things that set your novel apart?
First and foremost, this is not a mere retelling of the familiar Biblical tale, simply filling in gaps and adding some detail and drama. This is a new interpretation of the myth, looking backward through the lens of politics and religion that shaped the official story, supported by the latest in archaeological and epigraphic research.
Second, rather than choosing just one version of the story to illuminate, I've gathered fragments of the myth from disparate sources (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Ethiopian, and Masonic), then distilled and condensed them into a cohesive whole that, I hope, honors ancient traditions while shaking off the trappings of orthodoxy.
Finally, King Solomon takes something of a backseat in this version of the story. Most retellings of the tale revolve around the royal pairing between Israel and Sheba. While my Solomon-character certainly has a role to play, he serves more as a catalyst than a prime mover of the story.
Your book sounds wonderful. Can you tell us what are you currently working on?
Too much! I'm finishing edits on my next novel (Son of the Sea, Daughter of the Son, Blank Slate Press, Fall 2019). I've developed a creativity tool, Runes for Writers, for which I'm working on the companion book for release in the next few months. I'm also working on a non-fiction book focused on healing and restoring true masculinity, reclaiming it from the man-children ruling the world. And, once I get these squared away, I'll be researching and developing a sequel to Song of Songs.
Thank you for taking the time out of you day to chat with us!
Scroll down to enter the giveaway!
During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away two paperback copies of Song of Songs! You can enter, HERE!
• Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is open to the US & Canada only.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Pick up your copy of
Song of Songs:
A Novel of the Queen of Sheba
Marc Graham studied mechanical engineering at Rice University in Texas, but has been writing since his first attempt at science fiction penned when he was ten. From there, he graduated to knock-off political thrillers, all safely locked away to protect the public, before settling on historical fiction. His first novel, Of Ashes and Dust, was published in March 2017.
He has won numerous writing contests including, the National Writers Assocation Manuscript Contest (Of Ashes and Dust), the Paul Gillette Memorial Writing Contest – Historical (Of Ashes and Dust, Song of Songs), and the Colorado Gold Writing Contest – Mainstream (Prince of the West, coming from Blank Slate Press in Fall 2019).
Connect with Marc: