*A desert queen journeys north with her caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king and his one God. The story goes that she was conquered by him and returns to her home with gifts.
It’s the question that drives us.
This is the story we are lead to believe, but with exquisite storytelling ability and intricate historical detail, Tosca Lee, breathes life into this legend and give us a story that is filled with sorrow, intrigue, and love.
Bilqis never wanted to be queen, but then a shocking death happens in her family and she is thrown in the midst of pain and war within her soul. She is then hurt physically and after a while suffers another loss.
This one makes her a queen.
But she is now queen with questions. Who is her god Almaqah? Who are the priests praying to in their temples?
And most importantly, who is this king who speaks often of his one God who is faceless?
An intricate weave to choice parts.
Honestly, hands down Tosca Lee is in a league of her own. Her books are a reflection of hard work. She can describe a garden so well you feel as if you are in it watching Bilqis and Solomon talk and touch one another.
And this can be daunting as well. Even with knowledge of how the story of the Queen of Sheba goes, I wanted more of her and Solomon; more romance than intricacies of seasons, storms, and treaties. This is not Tosca’s fault because ultimately it is all connected. However once we get to the queen's time with Solomon(which is in the middle of the book), the pace of the book picks up so well.
Their intelligent discussions, the way she fascinates Solomon even though he has 400 wives at this time, made my heart thump. Solomon was smooth but cunning. He reminded me of a panther playing with his prey- it was quite thrilling.
The Legend of Sheba earns 5 stars mainly because it seemed as if the events really occurred. As if Tosca’s third eye witnessed what we can not. The book also earned its five star place because Bilqis was a head strong yet sensitive woman and her talks with Solomon were witty and seductive. The entire story is a seduction- kind of like how God brings us unto Him, coaxes us to ask of Him, to learn of Him.
A brilliant story from a hard working author.
*This review is based on an ARC(Advanced Reading Copy) provided by Netgalley for Howard Books.
Publisher: Howard Books
On Sale September 9, 2014