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Around forty years ago, standing in a bookstore, I read the first chapter of a novel: the opening was set in King Solomon's court, at the moment that he was recounting to his courtiers his dream (described in the Bible at 1 Kings 3:4-15). I think the scene is being described by a scribe or some other flunky. I have regretted not buying the book more than once! Looking back, I feel the author did an excellent job of showing a dictator manipulating his court.

I remember neither the author nor the title, but this book was not Dan Jacobson's The Rape of Tamar. It was a large format paperback, I think written in English, partly because it was a bookstore in New Zealand, and partly because I think I might have been more likely to remember if the book had been a translation. I do not think this book could have been written later than 1985.

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This looks like "The King David Report" by Stefan Heym.

From Google Books:

I, Ethan the son of Hoshaiah, from the town of Ezrah, was called this day to King Solomon, and was brought in his presence by Elihoreph and Ahiah the sons of Shisha, scribes; and found with him Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, the recorder, and Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the captain of the host.

At which his delicate lips curled peevishly, and he said, "I will tell you a dream, Ethan, which I had the other night after sacrificing and burning incense in the high place at Gibeon." And to Elihoreph and Ahiah, the scribes, and to Jehoshaphat ben Ahilud, the recorder, "Mark this dream, for I want it entered into the annals."

I read it in Russian translation from German, it's available here.

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