Indie Next ListOctober 2011
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
Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing work ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel.
The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune’s Daughter, and Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet—one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.
In 70 C.D., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom comes to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father 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 twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah 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, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.
This novel is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
About the Author
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City in 1952 and grew up on Long Island. Hoffman’s first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one. She has published a total of twenty-eight works of fiction. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Hoffman is currently a visiting research scholar at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. She lives in Boston.