Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: The Legend of Sheba, Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee

Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Howard Books, September 9, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Queen of Sheba
Format: EBook, Kindle
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free Advanced Reader Copy through NetGalley, and from Simon and Schuster/Howard Books, in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are of my own opinion.





Book will be available September 9th from the following retailers:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Lifeway
Mardel
Christian Book 


Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of Iscariot; Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times best-seller Ted Dekker (Forbidden, Mortal and Sovereign). Her highly anticipated seventh novel, The Legend of Sheba, releases September 9, 2014.
Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts with studies at Oxford University. She is a lifelong world adventure traveler and makes her home in the Midwest. To learn more about Tosca, visit www.toscalee.com.



Summary: 
               "I never meant to become queen." 

A pensive statement from a woman who became the famous queen of Sheba in the "tenth century BC". Her sultry name has passed through the ages as a woman of beauty, riches, and power. A relationship with King Solomon proclaimed her name in Israel. She is known by various names: Bilqis, Bilkis, Makeda, and Sheba.
Each of these names disclose a particular identity. In Israel she is known as Sheba. She is also Bilkis or Bilqis, "Daughter of the Moon." In the west she is known as "Makeda, Woman of Fire." Her mother called her Bilqis.
They lived in Saba, a region which stretched from, "the sheer edge of the coastal range to the foot of the desert waste." Located in modern day southern Arabia. They are the ancestors of the Ethiopians.
Bilqis became queen after the king of Saba died. In order to provide for the empire of Saba, secure trade routes needed to be built and maintained. She sought King Solomon's help, and she and her complex entourage made a long journey to Israel.

My Thoughts:
There is a sensuous nature in The Legend of Sheba. It is a sensory story, utilizing the senses of touch, sight, smell, feel, and hear. These impressions bring the story to life. Bilqis or Sheba, is a flesh and blood person, not a character written on a page, but a vibrant, passionate, savvy, dynamic woman.
Through The Legend of Sheba, I saw Bilqis's character transform from a young girl without a voice, but is an intelligent and an astute observer of people, to a courageous woman who seeks knowledge and wisdom.
An aim of the story is to reveal the real queen of Sheba, not a person of myth or legend, but to bring her to life. I felt this was well crafted in The Legend of Sheba. In a historical character such as Sheba, a fictional story can be "over-the-top" reminiscent of an epic poem. I felt Sheba's character balanced both imperfect human qualities and incredible human qualities.
While the stories emphasis is on Bilqis or Sheba, an additional character brought from the pages of the Old Testament is king Solomon. He's not what I expected. This is neither a good thing nor bad, just a surprise. A (not quite) hidden gem in the story is how these two characters relate to one another, their similarities and differences, and their regal nature as opposed to who they "really" are.
While reading The Legend of Sheba, I drifted into the story and did not emerge until the last page.

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