Legend of Sheba: The Rise of a Queen   -     By: Tosca Lee
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Legend of Sheba: The Rise of a Queen

Howard Books / 2014 / Hardcover

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Product Description

In the tenth century BCE, on the eve of her father's death, the new Queen of Sheba, Makeda, has inherited the throne and all his riches. Makeda's realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But growing tension with Egypt threatens her trade routes by way of the Red Sea. The queen has heard tales of Solomon for some time. Concerned about alliance with Egypt, Makeda decides to travel north to cement her own alliance with Israel's king. As she and Solomon spend days testing one another, Solomon becomes tortured by his love for her. He submits to love her and is willing to give her anything she asks of him-as a king or as a man.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 6.00 X 9.00 X 0.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1451684045
ISBN-13: 9781451684049
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Her name is legend. Her story, the epic of nations. The Queen of Sheba. A powerful new novel of love, power, and the questions at the heart of existence by the author of the award-winning “brilliant” (Library Journal) and “masterful” (Publishers Weekly) Iscariot.

There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you were meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating.

Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba.

In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father’s throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world—or of Sheba’s queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite—and ruin—them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history.

Author Bio

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot; Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve; and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker. To learn more about Tosca, visit ToscsaLee.com.

Editorial Reviews

"Another winner by Lee."
“Tosca Lee’s The Legend of Sheba is a tale of lush prose, rich setting, and meticulously researched historic detail. The Queen of Sheba may be a figure obscured by the millennia, but Tosca Lee brings her to life—and she is strong, capable, and irresistibly seductive.”
“I didn’t think I could admire a novel more than I admired Iscariot, but Tosca Lee has outdone herself with The Legend of Sheba. As luscious as the ancient Arabian kingdom and as fascinating as the queen who ruled it, Sheba captivates with beauty, depth, intelligence, and cunning storytelling skill.”
“Tosca Lee’s The Legend of Sheba is a rich, sensuous tale of passion. Sheba has it all: power, riches, intrigue, dangerous journeys and a timeless, unforgettable romance. Lee brings the Bible story of Solomon and Sheba alive. You'll never read it the same way after you devour this amazing book.”
The Legend of Sheba is an enthralling, impeccably-researched novel full of wisdom that will appeal to both religious and secular audiences. The vivid beauty of Lee’s prose is unsurpassed. I felt as though Sheba herself was speaking to me, and her struggles and triumphs were my own.”
"Beautifully imagined, culturally informed, and compellingly narrated, Tosca Lee brings new life to an ancient story."
The Legend of Sheba is no fairy tale romance of a woman swooning for a king. Tosca Lee has once again proven to be a fearless, dare I say, reckless storyteller as she gives us an unbridled retelling of a queen strong in wisdom and heart. It will leave you reflecting far beyond the turn of the last page.”
“As a meticulous researcher Lee consistently strives to make her stories not just believable but eye-popping with realism. The Legend of Sheba leaves no novel stone unturned—action, intrigue, romance, and even a mystical make this a novel that must be read in a single setting. The verbal tapestry of a minor biblical narrative will have readers examining the story of Sheba and Solomon in a completely new light.”

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  1. GC
    Canada
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    POIGNANT
    September 12, 2014
    GC
    Canada
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I am unashamed to say that I mostly read and long for more character-driven stories.

    When immersed in a novel, the amount of attention I pay to the setting and plot is undeniably less than the focus I place on the novel's characterisation - though, I suppose these elements are arguably interrelated. For the characters to evolve, the plot has to evolve and the setting provides a framework for this to happen. If, according to C.S Lewis, we read to know we're not alone, then, people in literature are the reason why I read, giving me glimpses into hearts that are thirsty for answers, and looking for the way to true life. Hearts just like mine that help me understand this strange world we live in.

    There are authors who are masters at characterisation. Then, there is Tosca Lee.

    I am truly always left flabbergasted by the humanity she breathes into her characters. Lee latches onto the most forgotten and negatively perceived people from the Bible and boldly magnifies them, exposing their very souls. She is unafraid to show them at their most baldly state while fiercely communicating through her work how fragile and weak we are - social positions, types of intelligence, closeness to God notwithstanding.

    Solomon - Who would have thought a wise king so lonely... so foolish. A confused person, he is. The strong, capable figure he is usually portrayed to be, he is not. There are times I seriously wanted someone to slap him, (for his womanising ways, for one) Sheba's queen, maybe, who, I should mention, at some point, dares to gives him a good piece of her mind even as I cheered her on. Such a frustrating character! But so human, I was absolutely beside myself when he wrote some of the most profound words I've ever stumbled across :

    '' They call me wise, but wisdom does not guarantee peace. It only reminds us what we do not know - what we cannot know and of our frailties, so that we resign ourselves to them again and again and again, in those rare moments that we let go of the world we must rule'' (41% of the book, around p. 138).

    Bilqis - A gorgeous woman, truly, she is a wanderer among wanderers. I love her restless spirit that continually seeks for answers. Her character, along with Salomon's, speaks to me as in spite of her brokenness and emptiness she looks for ways to press through. Lee has beautifully shaped her - strong as the queen she is but as vulnerable as humanity calls us to be.

    Their love story - I knew it would be tragic, however, I was not prepared to not be able to read certain parts of its conclusion. Honestly, I am surprised that I had no need for a tissue while reading this book. The degeneration that takes place, on so many levels, toward the end of this story is described through such raw, exquisite emotions, I applaud anyone who was able to thoroughly finish The Legend of Sheba : Rise of a Queen. I was not. Lee's words are powerful. They offer no answers but simply painfully describe what the characters experience, compelling readers to put the book down and breathe once in a while and mull over the story long after they've turned its last page.

    Even so, the author's latest offering is not for everyone. Certainly not for conservative believers for she combines different religious accounts of Bilqis to fashion her own. This might bother some people and if so, I would understand, but, I hope readers will also take into consideration the heart of story. What I've found bothered the most were the frequent writings of the name of God - the One True God - with a small g and the fact that from the queen's point of view (in the synopsis) the story told of Sheba - the one of her paying homage to Salomon and his God - is mostly a lie... I know this is a fictional character speaking but I think her thought could have been articulated in a way that would not have made me feel as though she is saying the Bible's account of the story is a lie.

    Nonetheless, I cannot deny that this book has provided what most of us have come to expect from Lee : an intellectual challenge for the reader and a mirror for humanity. I will read the next book after The Legend of Sheba : Rise of a Queen.

    Tosca Lee's writing voice is haunting.
  2. RonieK
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Masterfully written!
    September 9, 2014
    RonieK
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Masterfully researched story, brilliantly drawn characters, and written only the way Tosca Lee is capable. I truly think this is my favorite of Tosca's books to date. The way Sheba and Solomon are depicted, weaving together various stories of these two legends, drawn from Arabic, Ethiopian, and biblical reports creates a rich and believable tapestry. Compelling and yet heartbreaking. Even the back matter--the Afterword and Author's Notes--were informative and fascinating.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
  3. Amy C
    VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Legend of Sheba
    September 9, 2014
    Amy C
    VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Legend of Sheba is a wonderful story. I really enjoyed Tosca Lee's creative vision of how Sheba lived. I loved how she imagined Sheba and King Solomon together. I felt like I was part of the story, being transported back to Biblical times. This is the first novel I have read by this author and it definitely will not be the last.

    5 stars

    I received this book from Howard Books in exchange for my honest review which was given .
  4. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Giving life to a Bible story
    September 9, 2014
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    If you're like me, you've probably read a story in the Bible and not given it much thought. I've read 1 Kings 10 and never wondered how she came to be queen in a male dominated world. I never gave it much thought as to how she heard about Solomon and his wisdom or what her visit was like.

    Lee has done an incredible amount of research an has crafted a thought provoking fictional account of the queen's visit. She gives us a plausible story as to how she became queen with her mother dying and her father remarrying. The cruel step-mother has her exiled to Punt. When the king finally dies, those loyal to the kingdom come to her to make her queen.

    She wants to excel as queen and refuses marriage. Men from her kingdom who trade, taking spices to the north, tell her of the new kingdom there and the king. She is amazed at the influence and power of such an upstart king of an infant kingdom.

    She is stunned when she hears that Solomon is building a port city at Ezion-geber. Solomon, the Israelite king, meant to neutralize Saba's trade and render our caravans obsolete. (126) Who was he to presume to challenge the queen of a land as old as time itself? Her counselors advise war but she wants to send an emissary to negotiate with the king. With the very future of her nation threatened, she decides to go herself.

    As I have found with Lee's previous books, she is meticulous in her portrayal of the ancient world. She describes well the caravan and the journey north that takes months. Lee has also written a very thought provoking lengthy interchange between Solomon and the queen. It was thought provoking for me because I hadn't given much thought to Solomon's spiritual state at this time in his life. Lee explores the many wives Solomon had and what that meant.

    Lee has combined the biblical account, extra-biblical accounts, and legend into a very readable and enlightening novel. She provides a plausible reason for the legend that the ark of the covenant ended up in Ethiopia. She adds drama to the fact that Solomon knew his kingdom would be divided.

    I am again impressed with Lee and her ability to craft excellent historical fiction. I highly recommend this book. It brings to life a portion of Scripture I have too often quickly read through without thinking.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
  5. Kate
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A book that will capture you up into it!
    September 8, 2014
    Kate
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Going into this book, I didn't know a lot about the Queen of Sheba. All I knew about came from that passage in the Bible where she traveled a great distance to seek out King Solomon and question him on his wisdom. After her visit, she leaves and that is the last of it. I wondered what kind of story could be presented on this mysterious queen. As I started reading, so many things started to pop up that caught my attention (in a good way), and I wanted to know what being written was real or fiction. So, like the nerd I am, I hopped on the computer and started researching the Queen of Sheba a little bit and what I discovered is that Tosca Lee did a beautiful job of weaving each tale of Sheba together into this novel.

    Not only does the Bible have it's account of Sheba, but so does the Quran, and a historic account from Ethiopia. These stories are similar in the account where the Queen visits Solomon, but they vary in other ways in how the trip ended.

    In The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen, each of these stories are woven together flawlessly into one tale. And there is so much not known, and it is here where Tosca Lee's story telling shines as she brings this queen to life. Bilqis/Makeda is a women who doesn't conform to that of her time. She is the daughter of the king, born out of love, a princess. However, when her mother dies, her father, the king finds a new wife and Bilqis is pushed aside as a sad reminder of her lost mother. She does her best to stay out of trouble, but issues happen when her stepmother has ideas for her.

    Bilqis suffers greatly. She could have been beaten down and gave up, but she pushed forward. People find her and help her through, but all is not as they seem when the people who found her are wanting her to take back the throne as rightful heir, instead of letting her stepmother and stepbrother rule as a foreigner.

    After so much change and loss, Bilqis closes her heart and sets to rule. She is a tough and thoughtful queen who believes in being fair. She is also proud of her country and land for all that it produces. She is infuriated when she is asked to present tribute to a new king in the northern land. As time passes, she hears more of this king and is intrigued.

    It's from this curiosity that a connection is formed between Bilqis and King Solomon. It is through the communication of letters we are introduced to Solomon and his character. In The Legend of Sheba, Solomon didn't come across as a the wise king, but more of infatuated school boy. When Bilqis and Solomon finally meet, Bilqis has an arrogance about her that shifts how I've viewed her to this point and the interactions between the two are that of a game to see who can rile who first. Their actions cause outrage in the city, which, I don't blame the city for feeling.

    This portrayal was so different then what I ever thought the meeting was like and because of that kept me guessing to what was going to be said, or happen next. And the story was paced in such a way it kept you hooked. There is action, battles, mind games. This story was a mixture of so many things. It was a fun book to read. And I love how a story makes me go research more! It was a perfect mix to make a gripping story.

    Thank you to Howard Books, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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