Ancient Tales Newly Told brings together two works of historical fiction by Jason M. Rubin. The first novel, King of Kings, concerns the meeting of (and romance between) King Solomon and Makeda, the queen of Sheba. Based primarily on the Ethiopian tradition (but also weaving in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Masonic sources), the two wise and powerful rulers are drawn together and eventually have a son, Menelik, who is placed in the unique position of being qualified to inherit two thrones. Both Solomon and Makeda fear he will choose the other's. As for Menelik, he merely wants to prove himself worthy of succeeding his extraordinarily gifted parents. Which throne will he choose? And how will that affect the future of Israel, Sheba, and Ethiopia? The second novel, The Grave and the Gay, originally published in 2012, is based on a 17th-century English folk ballad commonly known as "Matty Groves" (and recorded by the likes of Joan Baez, Fairport Convention, and Doc Watson). In this retelling, Matty, a handsome rogue who tends the horses of Lord and Lady Barnard, becomes ensnared in his masters' floundering marriage. While the Lord and the Lady both have their eyes on Matty, Matty and aloof house servant Darnell compete for the affection of the fair laundress Alexandra. The dramatic climax alters the lives of every character—masters and servants alike—in the Barnards' grand house.