Published: December 1, 2015
When Zenobia takes control of her own fate, will the gods punish her audacity?
Zenobia, the proud daughter of a Syrian sheikh, refuses to marry against her will. She won’t submit to a lifetime of subservience. When her father dies, she sets out on her own, pursuing the power she believes to be her birthright, dreaming of the Roman Empire’s downfall and her ascendance to the throne.
Defying her family, Zenobia arranges her own marriage to the most influential man in the city of Palmyra. But their union is anything but peaceful—his other wife begrudges the marriage and the birth of Zenobia’s son, and Zenobia finds herself ever more drawn to her guardsman, Zabdas. As war breaks out, she’s faced with terrible choices.
From the decadent halls of Rome to the golden sands of Egypt, Zenobia fights for power, for love, and for her son. But will her hubris draw the wrath of the gods? Will she learn a “woman’s place,” or can she finally stake her claim as Empress of the East?
“Richly detailed and meticulously researched—Libbie Hawker brings the ancient world vibrantly to life.” —Kate Quinn, national bestselling author of Lady of the Eternal City
“Libbie Hawker writes exquisitely layered historical novels with a deft, fresh voice. Her heroines are at once powerful and completely real, and she draws them with both compassion and a keen sense of observation of human nature.” —V. M. Black, New York Times bestselling author
GENRE RATING: 5x5
As the author mentions, sources about Zenobia are scattered and sparse, which leaves a lot to analyze and create when constructing this woman's life and who she may have been as a person.
I found the character, Zenobia to be a bit disconnected from the reader. Her actions spoke louder than she herself, but it was what the author used as pieces of the scattered history that I found entertaining. The tale and history didn't confuse, which was wonderful. I know the Roman Empire has had far too many Ceasars with names that often are over twenty syllables and I've rarely been able to keep them straight unless there was something significant about their reign...and even then. It just proved that the author was capable of collecting, and displaying a history and a story with elegance.
Zenobia's fate isn't necessarily clear in history, but I thought the author picked one of the better ones, especially in light of her new situation. I was a bit disappointed by Zenobia's conclusions near the end, but considering the culture that surrounded her, I suppose it could be realistic, but disappointing.
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