The Dovekeepers

By Alice Hoffman
(Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781451617474, 504pp.)

Publication Date: October 4, 2011

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the October 2011 Indie Next List
“The deaths of 900 Jews at Masada in 70 CE remains a terrifying tale. Through Hoffman's stunning prose, we meet four women as they weave their way to Herod's ancient fortress, believing the mountain top can withstand any siege. Yael, daughter of an assassin, is in search of her brother; Revka, a baker's wife, arrives with her grandsons in the wake of her daughter's murder; Shira is a sorceress and mother figure to all except her own daughter, Aziza, who has chosen the warrior's path. As dovekeepers for the besieged community, they care for both the birds and each other. This haunting novel puts an unforgettable human face on a terrible tragedy that will stay with the reader for a long time.”
-- Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT


Description

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.




About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including "The Marriage of Opposites", "Practical Magic", " The Red Garden", the Oprah's Book Club selection "Here on Earth", "The Museum of Extraordinary Things", and "The Dovekeepers". She lives near Boston.
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