Starlight in the Dawn

Written by Naveen Sridhar
Review by India Edghill

The city of Ur, about 2300 BCE: Sargon the Great rules the Akkadian Empire, and his daughter Enheduanna is the high priestess of Ur. Enheduanna is an intelligent, spirited, and talented woman, creating new hymns to worship the goddess Inanna and the moon god Sin. She’s the earliest named poet in history. In Starlight in the Dawn, we’re given a fictionalized version of Enheduanna’s life: a life of passion and conflict.

For not everyone is happy to serve Sargon’s empire. Lugalanne, King of Uruk, schemes to usurp Sargon’s throne—and Enheduanna becomes entangled in the resistance to Lugalanne’s plots. Not only her life, but the religion she loves, is endangered, but she perseveres, creating peace and finding love.

Starlight in the Dawn is a mixed bag. The story’s good, but the writing is awkward. However, English is not the author’s first language (or even perhaps his second, as he speaks eight languages), and the historical details, the vivid feeling of what it might have been like to live in ancient Ur, make up for that. It’s always exciting to discover an influential historical woman of whom one’s never heard, and Enheduanna is an exhilarating find.