This engaging, meticulously researched novel, a finalist in the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards for ‘Best Historical’, tells the story of Sophia, a first century Babylonian Jew who learns ancient languages at the royal archives of the Parthians and secretly studies the magic on cuneiform tablets. She runs away from home, joining a Nabataean incense caravan, studies with the Essenes on the Dead Sea and joins with the militants of Qumran. As the Zealots battle to defend revolutionary Jerusalem against Titus, she falls in love with a Greek freedman, Athanasios, a comrade in arms. Jews and Christians briefly unite with Samaritans and the People of the Land. But messiahs can prove false.
Targeted Age Group:: adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Since college I have been addicted to Biblical exegesis and Judaic Studies.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wanted my protagonist to begin life searching for ancient, arcane knowledge and mature to be more concerned with creating a new future. I wanted someone for whom the Messiah was not Jesus but rather Simon bar Giora (last standing leader of the Zealots).
Code images functioned as passwords to identify the righteous–a fish, for example, or a flock of quail… Scratched in the dirt at market, behind corners on walls, painted on ostraca with messages handed from sleeve to sleeve, you’d see the graffiti of crosses. Sometimes they would be in a group together–the crosses of the martyrs, the symbol of zealot suffering. Or the three crosses of Yeshua and his Galileans. Sometimes they’d be solitary–these were usually the newer scratchings–the cross of the Messiah, the symbol of unified leadership. Alas, there was none such in Jerusalem.
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