Book Review: A Tale of Three Kings – A Study in Brokenness by Gene Edwards

17 Jun 2021

By Tanwin Tanoto


“What do you do when someone throws a spear at you?”

Too many Christians have experienced pain, loss, hurt and heartache at the hands of other believers and leaders. A Tale of Three Kings is a unique book. It is a retelling of the stories of David, Saul and Absalom that provides comfort and clarity to the broken-hearted.

This book is divided into two main parts. The first part is the retelling of the story of King Saul and David. David has been anointed as the next king of Israel, but Saul is still king. Edwards goes into the heart and inner thoughts of David. To prepare David to be the next king, God has enrolled him in the school of brokenness. What do you do when someone throws a spear at you?

The second part is the next chapter in David’s story. It retells the conflict of King David and his rebellious son, Absalom. What do you do when you have the chance to throw the spear first and crush the rebellion before it starts? Do you do it?

Both stories offer an inner struggle of a leader. It also exposes the pain, hurt and constraint of David’s heart. This shows us that God wants leaders who have lived in pain. “God wanted a broken vessel.” This theme, among others, should encourage us as Christian leaders – whether we have been hurt before or have the potential to hurt others.

Could this book have been written as a leadership book? Sure. It would have been suitable to outline five bad leaderships principles from King Saul and five good leadership principles from David. But I’m glad Edwards did not write a leadership book. Could this book have been written as a biblical study? Sure. I am sure they exist. But it would have been dry and theoretical. The fact that Edwards uses some artistic and creative retelling of known biblical stories gives the book so much heart, honesty and insight. Just about everything that you need to study brokenness.

Normally, I do not like Christian fiction, especially those that expand biblical stories. But this is different. A Tale of Three Kings is not just a fictional account of biblical stories; it is a biblical study in brokenness in the form of creative retelling of biblical stories. So, I found this medium is perfect to deal with these kinds of brokenness.

“This story is a portrait (you might prefer to call it a rough charcoal sketch) of submission and authority within the kingdom of God.”

In summary, this is an honest, rich and heartfelt book that offers comfort and perspective to those who have been hurt by other believers and Christian leaders. It is a must-read if you are in Christian leadership. Because if you are a leader, you are bound to get hurt or hurt others. It is important to deal with them before or when it happens.

“… Christians devastated by the authoritarian movement that had become so popular with many evangelical groups … I have never seen anything that has damaged so many believers so deeply. The wreckage appears to be universal, and recovery from it is almost nil.”


Read another of Tanwin’s reviews HERE.