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The Dovekeepers
by Alice Hoffman


Overview - Over five years in the writing,

The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert.  Read more...


 
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More About The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
 
 
 
Overview
Over five years in the writing,

The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman's novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily 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, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker's wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior's daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets--about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman's masterpiece.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781451617474
  • ISBN-10: 145161747X
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publish Date: October 2011
  • Page Count: 504
  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Jewish

 
BookPage Reviews

O ye daughters of Jerusalem

Herbs and potions, love charms and secrets, the complex intimacies between mothers and daughters: It’s clear from the outset of The Dovekeepers that we are firmly in Alice Hoffman territory. But instead of the safe suburbs of New England, we have been transported back to the first century at Masada, the mountain fortress south of Jerusalem where 900 Jews held out against the Romans before committing mass suicide rather than submit to foreign rule. For The Dovekeepers, Hoffman was inspired by a trip to Masada and research into the classical world, including the work of Josephus, the Roman-Jewish historian who recorded that the only survivors of this tragedy were two women and five children.

Hoffman retells this ancient story through the voices of four unique women, each of whom arrived at Masada and worked in the dovecotes—caring for the birds, collecting eggs and gathering fertilizer. Red-haired Yael, the daughter of a master assassin, becomes pregnant with the child of her father’s colleague. Revka, the baker’s wife, lost her husband and daughter at the hands of Roman soldiers and is now determined to protect her motherless grandsons. Young Aziza was raised as a warrior; she wants nothing more than to fight alongside the men in this last stand against the Romans. Finally there’s Shirah, Aziza’s mother, who grew up as the beloved daughter of a consort to the high priests and is the lover of Masada’s charismatic leader. Initially suspicious of one another, the women gradually grow close, sharing their secrets and developing a fierce loyalty to one another.

An ambitious novel, dense with vivid description of daily life in ancient times, The Dovekeepers combines archaeology and research with Hoffman’s own interest in the often untold lives of women and her passion for stories of magic and the natural world. Even though the tale’s outcome is well known, the story­telling is bound to satisfy any reader.

 
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