These five late biblical books offer readers a range of pleasures not usually associated with the Bible. They are artful, entertaining literary works—innovative, even startling. Women often stand centre stage. The Song of Songs, a celebration of young love, frankly sensuous, with no reference to God, offers some of the most beautiful love poems of the ancient world. The story of Esther's shrewd triumph is a secular entertainment that mixes farce with sly sexual comedy. The character of Ruth embodies the virtues of loyalty, love and charity in a harmonious world. Enigma replaces harmony in Daniel, whose feverish dreams envision the end of time. And the traditions of prophecy are recast in the tale of a fish that swallows Jonah. Alter's translation restores the original power of these popular books.