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David James Trapp

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The Bard of Bethlehem
by David James Trapp   

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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Publish America ISBN-10:  1424133130 Type: 


Copyright:  Feb 17, 2006 ISBN-13:  9781424133130

Barnes &
Publish America

This is a historical novel about a Celtic harpist who plays songs to the Star of Bethlehem.

Exerpt from Chapter 33 of The Bard of Bethlehem: "Terentius kept his eyes on the star, but thumbed the strings trying to ape the star's pulse. Bridicia and Suha fell silent as they listened to him. Soon Terentius experimented with a rhythm with the shorter strings, trying as he did so to fit into the pulse of the star. The music sounded strange. Yet the harp was a forgiving intrument, and Terentius's initial efforts held charm and promise. He kept at it. He altered his melody. He saw a subtle extra beat in the star's pulse. He imitated it. Again he altered his melody. "Drawn by the strange music, Ethan left his mules at the banks of the wadi and returned to the roadside. Not wanting to interrupt, he stood and listened. A family of Samaritans walked on the road pushing a handcart. They heard the music and approached warily. The husband of the Samaritans saw that Terentius and his family were foreigners. He then saw Ethan and identified him as a Jew. But the music made him forget his anger. Terentius saw that others gathered to listen to him, but he kept his eyes on the star, and kept following its pulse. His technique improved as he modified his own rhythm again. He developed a regular melody now. It was joyful and inspired. "Bridicia suddenly felt an urge to dance. She did not understand yet what was inspiring her husband. She just knew that he was making music in a way she never heard before. Bridicia stood and pulled Suha up with her. Bridicia started to bounce and twirl. Suha was confused at first, but soon caught on. They laughed happily. Ethan and the Samaritans stared in wonderment at these Celts. "Terentius's fingers floated effortlessly from string to string. He felt the pulse and rhythm hum through the harp into his chest. The melody he created was fantastic, complex, impossible to describe, unlike any music he ever played before. Not wanting to stop, he kept repeating it. Yet Terentius always kept his eyes on the mystery star. Such a brilliant sign! He knew beyond any doubt now that all those Druids were wrong to fear this star. The Greek philosopher was misguided too. Such a star should be celebrated! Ha-ha! What a wonderous thing!"            

Professional Reviews

TCM Reviews
A review of this book has just been posted (12/1/06) by TCM Reviews. It says, in part: "The Bard of Bethlehem is a fresh look at the political and cultural environment in the days just before the birth of Christ. The interactions are quite true to life without any sort of sugar coating or modifications to appease modern political correctness. Well written." For the complete review, go to

Reader Views review
A review by Reader Views (written by Richard Blake) was posted on 12/24/06 . It says:

"This remarkable story begins in the city of Tarsus in a period of political chaos. It is the story of two young Celts. The book is rich in Celtic background, customs, and Druid folklore. Young Terentius, a harpist, and Bridicia, his bride, are threatened by a Druid's curse and are caught in a web of political corruption. Trapp exhibits great scope and depth in his understaning of the political upheaval in the year 5 B.C.

David James Trapp is a master story teller. He draws the reader back in time, two thouand years, to a time when the Celts, Jews, Romans, and Greeks, were all deeply affected by the appearance of a mysterious new star.

Terentius played music to the star. "... the melody he created was fantastic, complex, impossible to describe ... Terentius always kept his eyes on the mystery star. Such a brilliant sign! He knew beyond any doubt now that all those Druids were wrong to fear this star."

Terentius, Bridicia and their Egyptian slave girl fled Tarsus hoping to find safety in Judea. They were pursued by Corvus, a self proclaimed Druid leader seeking revenge.

David James Trapp has the uncanny ability to make you feel you are walking along side his characters. I felt the anguish of Terentius after his release from custody. "Every step was hard. His limb ached from the bruises, and breathing was difficult ... sharp pains pounded through his skull ... with every step he scanned the streets looking for his beloved Bridicia."

This is fast paced historical fiction at its best. David has the inherent ability to keep the reader involved in an intricate plot with unexpected twists, and attention-grabbing sub plots. 'The Bard of Bethlehem' is an excellent read, noteworthy, and absorbing."

For other reviews by this excellent website, go to review posted on 3/1/07 a review of this book (written by Janie Franz). The review says, in part: "The Bard of Bethlehem is a great read. Having taken four years of Latin and thereby learning about Roman culture, I found this new information about Celts in Judea quite arresting. The degree of accuracy that Trapp has put into the book to paint a portrait of the age is quite telling. The characters are vivid and deftly drawn. This is an exciting adventure story. I can't wait to read other books by Trapp."

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