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Friday, September 5, 2014

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen

"There is a tale that is told: A desert queen journeyed north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king and his One God. The story of a queen conquered by a king before she returned to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you are mean to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating, both.

Love...The very word is a husk shriveled beneath the sun of the desert waste, its essence long lost to the sands. So will my tale be to those who traveled her barren routes, my footprints as though they never were."
(excerpt from Prologue).

When I read these opening sentences in the latest novel, The Legend of Sheba: Rise of A Queen, from best-selling author Tosca Lee, I felt that I was reading a modern day tale from the Arabian Nights. Her word choice is conveying the story of Queen Sheba who is rarely mentioned in the Bible but for her one visit to Israel to King Solomon. But such is all of the latest novels from Tosca Lee. The uncanny ability to weave a story out of thin air so compelling, you are instantly drawn into the pages, void of all breath until you can breathe once again when you finish the final page.

In this novel, she has so thoughtfully and diligently researched all aspects of the rare Queen of Sheba who was never married and thus ruled her kingdom without the aid of a King. Although she is only mentioned in the Bible, the Quran and the Kebra Nagast: The Glory of the Kings - the 700-plus-year-old origin of the story of the Solomonic Kings of Ethiopia. From a simple mention of this famed Queen, Tosca Lee has breathed life into the Queen that was but a mist in the life of the royal blood lines from the Middle East.

You get a sense of how difficult it would have been to be one of the only woman to rule a kingdom without a man by her side as King. The uncertainty of  what would become of her, if there was no heir to her throne. During this time, kingdoms grew strong based on those alliances one would obtain through marriage, much like all of Solomon's conquests to advance the size of his growing kingdoms. In a time when romance was forbidden, the love that Tosca creates between Solomon and Sheba was one of unrequited love. You can see how both of them would be at odds to unite their respective kingdoms and dealing with all of Solomon's compromises in marrying so many wives despite his allegiance to his One True God. This is what makes this novel work.

It is almost as if you are reading a historical document of a rare romance between two royal kingdoms that would never come to pass almost like a version of Romeo and Juliet. I think once again you can help but wonder about the amount of time that went into the research behind writing this novel and I for one, love this beautiful story of power, worship and romance in a time long forgotten but still captured in fragments in time.

I received The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own unless otherwise notated. For those that love Ancient Egypt, Biblical History and a touch of romance, then you will definitely want to pick this one up! I love how Tosca captured the love and mystery surrounding what we know of Solomon, the romantic poet who would have seduced women through his words and songs, lavishing upon them untold delicacies and immeasurable wealth to have set foot in his palace. Well worth every word and once again, Tosca Lee has managed to score a true winner in a book lover's heart and thus 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen, Tosca Lee or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Tosca Lee on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Legend of Sheba: Rise of A Queen, please visit Howard Book's website. 

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