|Photo credit: NetGalley|
Right when I was a few chapters into Tosca Lee's The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen (Howard Books) she released her free e-book Ismeni: Prelude to the Legend of Sheba, which I quickly devoured before continuing. I implore you to read Ismeni before you pick up Sheba; simply because it so greatly enriches the story. Lee's ability to breath life into a lesser known biblical character is astounding. Her research is impeccable, and lends believability to the "fiction" facets; leading the reader (at least this one) towards the actual Bible stories to uncover what was real and not real. This is her magic.
Bilqis (Sheba) is a bit of anomaly for that time. She is mysteriously beautiful, and at a time when kings rule she stands on her own two feet as a Queen. Sheba is definitely no pushover and should probably write a dating advice book on how to intrigue a king (or ya know...the average guy). This was a time where many gods ruled, allegiances were given in full and yet shifted quickly, and Sheba's losses and "salvations" throttled her into a position of power. Often positions of power lend to lives of isolation, and Sheba's was no exception. She met her match in King Solomon (from the North) with whom she engaged in a battle of wits via written word until she finally had to decide to take a risk. Unknowing whether or not her decision was fearless or reckless she went toe to toe with the wisest king. Perhaps the tell of a great writer is one who can humanize even the most beloved characters, showing even their faults that most would like to scan over. If so, Lee is a great writer (and having read all of her work, I believe she is). This story is messy, mysterious, and gripping. I definitely recommend it.
The Legend of Sheba was released September 9, 2014. What intrigues you most about the Queen of Sheba?
This book was provided to me for review by NetGalley.