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Daughter of Sand and Stone by [Hawker, Libbie]
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Daughter of Sand and Stone Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Length: 332 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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From the Editor

What do the ancient gods have against bold, brave women? Historically, when a woman has ambitions, she’s taken to task for her hubris. Or if the gods don’t strike her down, she’s driven to self-sacrifice in order to achieve her aim. Not so for Zenobia, the only woman to ever challenge the Roman Empire. Yes, the gods punished her. Yes, she paid a steep price for protecting her people. But she never backed down; she never gave up her cause.

When author Libbie Hawker delivered the manuscript to me, I finished the first chapter thinking, Man, this Zenobia is a piece of work. Even I wanted to take her down a notch. But as I read on, it became clear that her ambition was borne not of greed but of her loyalty to her city and her family. As the story developed, I softened towards Zenobia and even rallied to her cause. Here is a woman who knew what she was capable of. She knew that if she didn’t put her life on the line, her people would be enslaved by the Romans—and she wasn’t about to let that happen.

History hasn’t been kind to Zenobia. She’s long been portrayed as a power-grabbing warrior queen. In Daughter of Sand and Stone, Libbie Hawker has finally given Zenobia a chance to be much more than that. Here she is a devoted mother, a passionate lover and a fierce defender of her people. If only she were alive today…I’m sure she’d waste no time punching through the glass ceiling.

- Jodi Warshaw, Editor


Product Description

About the Author

Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring deeply human characters, with rich details of time and place. She is the author of ten novels, most of which take place in the distant past among ancient civilizations. She lives in the beautiful San Juan Islands with her husband. Find more information about this author at www.LibbieHawker.com.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3199 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (1 Dec. 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00VOLHKHU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,986 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Here is one straight out of the "creative writing" course. Take a poorly documented historical character, and add plenty of the author's rather lurid imaginings. The real Zenobia must have been a far more interesting character than what we get in this utterly conventional story plan. Stock characters support her (the scheming first wife, the hunk of a lover who is too lowly, ...) by doing stock things. Avoid.
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By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Nov. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since the Kindle First program has started it has always been a bit hit and miss for me of what book I shall plump for. Nothing really grabbed my attention this month so I thought I would go for the historical fiction offering, after all I do like something that hopefully turns out to be enjoyable and has a good historical basis. But I really wish I had gone for something else now as this book just left me scratching my head and feeling rather perplexed.

I struggled to read this, I really did as it just isn’t that good. Zenobia who this is about is an enigma to a certain extent as so little is really known about her, and we don’t really even know who her family was or her ancestry. The author has given her a proper family here which is perfectly okay, it helps give the character roots, but none of the characters here are that well drawn. We see Zenobia as some rebellious teenager at the start of this, not marrying those men put forward by her father. She looks down on her sister as having fallen on the social ladder due to her marriage, although when you think about it Zenobia is the one who has fallen as when she does decide to marry she is only a second wife.

We never know how she manages to do what we know she did really do in her lifetime as Zenobia starts out here as a vain, selfish and spoilt girl who has some good education but from there she seems to become some great figure. There is no psychology to the character, one minute she wants to be a really great person, and next it happens. Despite the fact that she appears quite clueless Zenobia then suddenly manages to come up with a plan that makes her powerful, the plan being take Egypt.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Daughter of Sand and Stone by Libbie Hawker is a historical romance novel that follows the life of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra and Empress of the East in the 3rd century AD, as she defies her family’s expectations, fights to gain control of both her own life and the throne, and challenges the dominance of the Roman Empire. Strong-willed and courageous, Zenobia was considered a woman who doesn’t know her place as she was determined to shape her destiny on her own terms. This novel is an epic story of a young woman who breaks free of the shackles and rose to become Empress of the East.

The youngest of the three daughters of the great chief, the Ras, Amr Ibn Zarib, affectionately called Zabbai by the citizens of Palmyra, and his wife Berenike, Zenobia’s two siblings are Nafsha, the eldest, and Zabibah, second born. Her father is a powerful chief, second only to the Governor but for the Amlaqi tribe, Zabbai is the only authority. His words are as powerful as his actions. Zenobia’s sisters are married but living with her parents as their husbands are waging war. At seventeen, Zenobia is considered too old to be unmarried though eight suitors have sought her hand in marriage during the past two years, and her father would have been proud to call any of them son-in-law. Zenobia has more important things in mind.

In Daughter of Sand and Stone, author Libbie Hawker painted a sweeping picture of the land, the people and the strength of character of its main protagonist Zenobia. The story is atmospheric. The book makes for a gripping read. Captivating yet tragic, it is the story of how a young woman driven by a strong desire established herself as the ruler of her people against all odds. A romantic at heart yet someone not easily swayed, her towering presence and Libbie Hawker’s powerful narrative combined well to bring Zenobia’s character to life.
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A gripping tale woven around the life of a real historical figure, Zenobia, who genuinely did lead a temporarily successful revolt against Roman rule. The fact that not too much is known about her allowed Libbie Hawker the artistic licence to really bring her to life as a woman determined to risk all in an attempt to save her beloved city of Palmyra, in a story of political intrigue, love and betrayal, and, ultimately, humanity.

I suspect that the reference to pages of a book is an anachronism, but this did not spoil the overall effect and I found the descriptions of the desert fascinating. Where I did feel that the novel lost its way a little was in the section where Zenobia has reached Egypt. This makes it slightly a novel of two unequal halves, which is why I have opted for four and not five stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story is the author's fictional idea of a person who did actually exist. As there is little recorded about the individual she has used her imagination to fill in the gaps. Provided that you take this into account and realise it is more fiction than fact then it is a good story.
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The story takes place in a place and at a time that I knew very little of, and is interesting from that very fact. I enjoyed the book for that reason, and I'm happy with the combination of a fictional (?) tale of thwarted romance and a story from Imperial Roman history. I did feel that the ending was a little rushed by comparison with the story of Zenobia's rise.
I suppose that if you finish a book with the feeling that it should have been longer, then the author is doing something right.
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