Readers of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire will probably recall one of its most interesting side-stories, the tale of the Syrian Queen Zenobia, who took command of her kingdom after the death of her husband, and succeeded in conquering large amounts of territory in rebellion against the Eastern Roman Empire. Until she was captured and brought to Rome in chains by the Emperor Aurelian, that is.
Don Maker takes this story and expands it into a very detailed and enjoyable larger narrative of love and betrayal. His research seems extensive, but it is the crafting of his characters that is the standout element in this book.
The cover could be a little more inspiring in design. It conveys a military novel rather than the passion of Zenobia herself, which is a shame. A professionally designed, inspiring cover would add so much more to this novel.
Zenobia has been portrayed many times in historical fiction, and this version of the character, passionate, tough, and sensuous even in some very tight corners, is a masterful addition to that fiction tradition.