In 70 CE, 900 Jews held out against armies of Romans on a mountain in Masada. According to an ancient historian, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic event, Hoffman weaves a tale of four bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael's mother died in childbirth, and her father ...
In 70 CE, 900 Jews held out against armies of Romans on a mountain in Masada. According to an ancient historian, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic event, Hoffman weaves a tale of four bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael's mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death. Revka watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers. Aziza is a warrior's daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are keeping secrets.
This is such an intriguing novel. It was based on a period and subject matter that is unusual to be written about and it is done so well that it takes you right there. Alice Hoffman is such an enjoyable author and she writes about many unexpected subjects. I recommend this book very highly.
Jan 30, 2014
I read this book not knowing about Masada and after finishing it I had to know more. It is the story of four different women, different ages and different backgrounds and how they wound up in Masada. Couldn't put the book down as I love history and the book was so descriptive of the living at this time in history. All the women's lives entwine with each other and make for a great book. I see it was on Oprah's book list and may be made into a movie. Great reading!
Publishers Weekly, 2011-06-13 Almost too dense to bear, Hoffman's 23rd novel is brimming with doom, based on the story of the mass suicide of Jewish Zealots at Masada as recorded by the historian Josephus. Set in the first century, the blood-soaked saga unfolds from the perspectives of four courageous Jewish women whose lives converge in the dovecotes of the rebel desert stronghold. Yael is an assassin's daughter who flees Jerusalem as it falls to the Romans, arriving pregnant with the child of her father's married colleague. Revka, her husband murdered by the Romans, comes with her two grandsons, rendered mute after witnessing their mother's disembowelment by Roman soldiers. Shirah, from Alexandria, possibly a witch, brings her beautiful daughter Aziza, who having learned the ways of men among the tribesmen of Moab, uses her warrior's skills to fight in this last stand against the Roman legions. Suspicious of one another early on, the women, each with her own secrets and talents, powerful lovers and magical spells, soon develop a loyalty so fierce that they are willing to sacrifice everything for each other and for the children they are entrusted with. Hoffman (Here on Earth) can tell a tale and knows about creating compassionate characters, but the leaden archaic prose style she uses tells more than it shows. Massive descriptive paragraphs slow the action, until, by the end, the reader is simply worn out. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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