I received a copy of this book via a blog tour promotion sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for the purposes of reading it and giving it an honest review. The final book is not in publication yet, so this should be considered a review of an advance copy of the book.
Ancient history has always fascinated me, to the point that for a while as a youth I wanted to become an Egyptologist, even learning a fair amount of hieroglyphics. So when I had the opportunity to read a book alternately set in the tenth century B.C. as well as modern times, trying to uncover the past, I definitely jumped at it.
The author, having earned a major in Fashion Merchandising and a minor in Business Management at BYU, might not seem the best qualified to write such a novel. But she actually lived in the Middle East for several years. Combine that with being raised by a biblical scholar, and this story likely had quite a bit of time to germinate.
The basic premise is very simple: various factions are in a race to find the true resting place of the Queen Of Sheba, who makes an appearance in various historical texts, including the Bible, Qur’an, the writings of the Roman historian Josephus, who specialized in Jewish history, not to mention Yemeni and Ethiopian texts. Each country represented as possible burial sites for the Queen have a stake in the matter. And each country has some representative involved in the search for the truth. Add in a group of pirates interested in monetary rewards rather than national pride, and the plot thickens. Throw in a murder or two, a human sacrifice, and an assassination attempt on the Coptic pope, and it gets really interesting.
Moore drops in a couple romances to smooth out the rough edges from all the political intrigue, and they seem to flow fairly naturally, albeit predictably. They do provide a foundation for future novels involving the protagonist, Omar Zagouri, as well as some of his supporting cast.
There are a couple of continuity questions I have, especially a “Why didn’t…” question, but it’s not one that breaks down the whole story. Also, if you’re familiar with the historical Queen Of Sheba, some early details about her contemporary story are very telling about which direction the author will take the Queen. But for the average person, I presume that tell will be overlooked.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. A true indicator for how much I like a story is if I’m willing to keep trying to read it, even when I’m dozing off and dropping my eReader on my face. Eventually the pain and re-reading gets frustrating enough that I will reluctantly continue reading the next day. 🙂
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)