Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (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
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble
Zenobia bat-Zabbai is the daughter of a powerful and well-loved Syrian Sheik in 260 A.D.. All of her life she has known that she is destined for more than to be a dutiful wife at the side of a not so powerful husband. However, after her father goes to battle and does not return, Zenobia takes it upon herself to protect her city and fulfill her destiny. Along with a guard, Zabdas, Zenobia rides through the desert, battles soldiers and brings back her brother-in-law to rule. With her new found confidence, Zenobia is able to secure a powerful husband, who values Zenobia as a political confidant. As a second wife, though, Zenobia has an opponent in Fairuza, the first wife. As her husband’s powers grow, Zenobia believes more and more that she is destined to rule on her own. When her time comes, her place as a woman will not be without challenge.
I loved reading and learning about this powerful and courageous woman in history that I knew nothing about. From the moment that a young Zenobia is introduced, I was in love with her strong sense of self, her pride and her confidence that she was destined to be more than a wife. I also liked that though fiction, the author incorporated much about the actual Zenobia’s little known life into the story, the real Zenobia must have shared these traits with the character in order to have accomplished so much. Zenobia’s story combines many elements, an exciting, educated heroine, who makes very thoughtful decisions, adventure and war, political intrigue, family drama and a bit of romance. I was very happy with the way the romance between Zenobia and Zabdas is done; it is by no means the plot of the story, just another element in Zenobia’s life. The ending moved very fast for me, and I almost felt like I was missing something, but I didn’t want to put it down. Overall, a courageous, moving and bittersweet story of an important woman in history.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring deeply human characters, with rich details of time and place. She is the author of ten novels, most of which take place in the distant past among ancient civilizations. She lives in the beautiful San Juan Islands with her husband.
Connect with Libbie
Website | Facebook |