My name is Zabdas: once a slave; now a warrior, grandfather and servant. I call Syria home. I shall tell you the story of my Zenobia: Warrior Queen of Palmyra, Protector of the East, Conqueror of Desert Lands …
The Roman Empire is close to collapse. Odenathus of Palmyra holds the Syrian frontier and its vital trade routes against Persian invasion. A client king in a forgotten land, starved of reinforcements, Odenathus calls upon an old friend, Julius, to face an older enemy: the Tanukh.
Julius believes Syria should break free of Rome and declare independence. But his daughter's beliefs are stronger still. Zenobia is determined to realise her father's dream.
And turn traitor to Rome ...
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Loyalty, courage, character
Zabdas - his older and younger selves are both equally well drawn. And Bamdad because he has a rough manner but a soft heart. And Zenobia, of course, for her wit and passion. And Julius, for his noble mission.
The distinct but not exaggerated way he represented each character and paced the battle scenes so well
When Zabdas first met Julius.
The book, the story, the voice transported me far away from a frosty drive through a snow-covered forest and into the ancient deserts of Syria. So much so, I parked up round the corner from my destination and listened till the end.
Bringing the past to life!
I've only recently started listening to more historical fiction on audio, and have to say I think the genre benefits from some brilliant narrators who transport you to a far flung world. Definitely in my top three.
Zabdas's whole story from the slums of the docks and his dramatic rescue - to his position beside Zenobia. I love how the author has given us two perspectives on his story - retelling it to his granddaughter, Samira, as an older man and also allowing us to relive the key scenes for ourselves. Although this story is about the rise of Zenobia, I love seeing it through Zabdas's eyes.
Perfect characterisation. The voices are authentic and natural and fit the characters. I particularly liked his interpretation of Bamdad who is a brilliant creation!
I loved all of the battle scenes, the terror and passion and fear of the people came through. There were some wonderfully amusing moments too - Bamdad in particular has a brilliant dry wit. To be honest, I loved it all, and it ended far too soon.
Audio really takes this novel to another level for me. A talented author + a talented narrator is a match made in heaven and I can't wait to hear the next in the series.