Like many of her class and era, Weil considered herself German rather than Jewish, and despite the horrors of Nazism, she never lost her love for her native land and language, returning there shortly after World War II. In this moving novel, she interweaves skeins of her own autobiography with the story of Michal, the first wife of the Biblical David, singer, slayer of Goliath, and, finally, triumphant king of Israel. Michal's love for David, like Grete's for Germany, brings her pain and confusion as her beloved, once beautiful, noble, and creative, turns murderously cruel and rejects her love. The title refers both to a specific event in the narrative and to the cruelty that men use to acquire power over each other and, especially, women. Wise, honest, and strangely lyrical, this is both accessible fiction and important literature.-- Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.