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The dovekeepers : a novel
Alice Hoffman
Adult Fiction HOFFMAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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.

From Library Journal:

Only two women and five children of more than 900 people survived the Roman siege of Masada in the year 73 C.E. after the suicide pact of the Jewish rebels there, according to the historian Josephus. In this well-researched novel, Hoffman (The Red Garden) vividly brings this tragedy to life, as four women who take care of the dovecote at the fortress tell their stories. Seeking refuge at Masada after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple are Yael, the daughter and sister of Sicarii, professional assassins, and Revka, who with her two mute grandsons has just witnessed the horrific murder of the boys' mother in the desert. Shirah and her warrior daughter Aziza come from Moab. Considered a healer and a witch, Shirah still worships the ancient goddess Ashtoreth. Hoffman finds poetry and beauty, dignity and honor, even in those perilous, blood-soaked times. VERDICT This powerful and gripping novel about survival and endurance will stay with you for a long time. [See Prepub Alert, 4/25/11.]-Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Yael
Female
Jewish
Daughter of an assassin; journeying to Masada in search of her brother; dovekeeper for the community.

Revka
Female
Jewish
Married to a baker; journeys to Masada with her grandson after the murder of her daughter; dovekeeper for the community.

Shira
Female
Jewish
Her daughter has chosen the path of the warrior; journeying to Masada; dovekeeper for the community.
Sorceress

Aziza
Female
Jewish
Shira's daughter; dovekeeper for the community.
Warrior



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