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The Dovekeepers

by

The Dovekeepers Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Over five years in the writing, andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;The Dovekeepers andlt;/Iandgt;is Alice Hoffmanand#8217;s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffmanand#8217;s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yaeland#8217;s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village bakerand#8217;s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warriorand#8217;s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secretsand#8212;about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. andlt;Iandgt;The Dovekeepers andlt;/Iandgt;is Alice Hoffmanand#8217;s masterpiece.

Review:

"Almost too dense to bear, Hoffman's 23rd novel is brimming with doom, based on the story of the mass suicide of Jewish Zealots at Masada as recorded by the historian Josephus. Set in the first century, the blood-soaked saga unfolds from the perspectives of four courageous Jewish women whose lives converge in the dovecotes of the rebel desert stronghold. Yael is an assassin's daughter who flees Jerusalem as it falls to the Romans, arriving pregnant with the child of her father's married colleague. Revka, her husband murdered by the Romans, comes with her two grandsons, rendered mute after witnessing their mother's disembowelment by Roman soldiers. Shirah, from Alexandria, possibly a witch, brings her beautiful daughter Aziza, who having learned the ways of men among the tribesmen of Moab, uses her warrior's skills to fight in this last stand against the Roman legions. Suspicious of one another early on, the women, each with her own secrets and talents, powerful lovers and magical spells, soon develop a loyalty so fierce that they are willing to sacrifice everything for each other and for the children they are entrusted with. Hoffman (Here on Earth) can tell a tale and knows about creating compassionate characters, but the leaden archaic prose style she uses tells more than it shows. Massive descriptive paragraphs slow the action, until, by the end, the reader is simply worn out. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Alice Hoffman’s richest, most ambitious novel ever, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Elyse, January 17, 2012 (view all comments by Elyse)
A historical novel about the siege of Masada by the Roman army. It is told in the voices of four women - women who defied the norms of the day in one way or another. It's filled with magic, faith and superstition. Though the review on this site is negative, I found the prose itself to be magical. I was hooked from the first page-
"Everywhere I walked my fate walked with me, sewn to my feet with red thread". Indeed, there is a lot of talk of these women's fates. Some of the descriptive passages are a bit long, and she often repeats herself - though I think it is intentional, as the four women tell the same story at times. Nonetheless, the characters are so real I felt sure they really existed, and I was moved by a story I should have been familiar with, but didn't really know it until now.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
NinaL, January 10, 2012 (view all comments by NinaL)
Alice Hoffman's writing is beautiful. At times, her narrative is mesmerizing and dreamlike as Hoffman leads her reader through the story. I liked how she gave voice to each of her characters and let the women tell the story; it seemed a very intimate approach to a rather harrowing tale. Hoffman's writing brings forth the tensions and struggles of the ancient Judeans amongst themselves and against the Roman incursion. Through each character's story, the reader gets the sense of a changing world that many are fighting hard to prevent its total collapse. The novel's subject is gloomy, the siege of Masada did not end well as the back cover book synopsis states, yet Hoffman presents "The Dovekeepers" with such authenticity that I was compelled to keep reading and hope for each character's safety. (For the complete review, visit luxuryreading(dot)com.)
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
gcottraux, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by gcottraux)
I am a big fan of Alice Hoffman. Her stories are usually set in contemporary times, so this was a different approach with the historical setting. Yet the themes of women's strength, complexity, spirituality in the face of enormous challenges that are central to her writing are there. I was totally absorbed in the 4 main characters' tales.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451617474
Author:
Hoffman, Alice
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Author:
Alice
Author:
Hoffman
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
The dovekeepers, masada, alice Hoffman, toni Morrison, survivors, Israel, biby, jewish, old testament, historical fiction, mark burnett, history channel, miniseries the bible, roma downey, josephus, desert fortress, archaeology, herod, flavius silva
Subject:
The dovekeepers, masada, alice Hoffman, toni Morrison, survivors, Israel, biby, jewish, old testament, historical fiction, mark burnett, history channel, miniseries the bible, roma downey, josephus, desert fortress, archaeology, herod, flavius silva
Subject:
The dovekeepers, masada, alice Hoffman, toni Morrison, survivors, Israel, biby, jewish, old testament, historical fiction, mark burnett, history channel, miniseries the bible, roma downey, josephus, desert fortress, archaeology, herod, flavius silva
Subject:
The dovekeepers, masada, alice Hoffman, toni Morrison, survivors, Israel, biby, jewish, old testament, historical fiction, mark burnett, history channel, miniseries the bible, roma downey, josephus, desert fortress, archaeology, herod, flavius silva
Subject:
The dovekeepers, masada, alice Hoffman, toni Morrison, survivors, Israel, biby, jewish, old testament, historical fiction, mark burnett, history channel, miniseries the bible, roma downey, josephus, desert fortress, archaeology, herod, flavius silva
Subject:
The dovekeepers, masada, alice Hoffman, toni Morrison, survivors, Israel, biby, jewish, old testament, historical fiction, mark burnett, history channel, miniseries the bible, roma downey, josephus, desert fortress, archaeology, herod, flavius silva
Subject:
The dovekeepers, masada, alice Hoffman, toni Morrison, survivors, Israel, biby, jewish, old testament, historical fiction, mark burnett, history channel, miniseries the bible, roma downey, josephus, desert fortress, archaeology, herod, flavius silva
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1-C endpapers
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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The Dovekeepers Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781451617474 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Almost too dense to bear, Hoffman's 23rd novel is brimming with doom, based on the story of the mass suicide of Jewish Zealots at Masada as recorded by the historian Josephus. Set in the first century, the blood-soaked saga unfolds from the perspectives of four courageous Jewish women whose lives converge in the dovecotes of the rebel desert stronghold. Yael is an assassin's daughter who flees Jerusalem as it falls to the Romans, arriving pregnant with the child of her father's married colleague. Revka, her husband murdered by the Romans, comes with her two grandsons, rendered mute after witnessing their mother's disembowelment by Roman soldiers. Shirah, from Alexandria, possibly a witch, brings her beautiful daughter Aziza, who having learned the ways of men among the tribesmen of Moab, uses her warrior's skills to fight in this last stand against the Roman legions. Suspicious of one another early on, the women, each with her own secrets and talents, powerful lovers and magical spells, soon develop a loyalty so fierce that they are willing to sacrifice everything for each other and for the children they are entrusted with. Hoffman (Here on Earth) can tell a tale and knows about creating compassionate characters, but the leaden archaic prose style she uses tells more than it shows. Massive descriptive paragraphs slow the action, until, by the end, the reader is simply worn out. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , Alice Hoffman’s richest, most ambitious novel ever, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.
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