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By Libbie Hawker

When Zenobia takes regulate of her personal destiny, will the gods punish her audacity?

Zenobia, the proud daughter of a Syrian sheikh, refuses to marry opposed to her will. She won’t undergo a life of subservience. while her father dies, she units out on her personal, pursuing the facility she believes to be her birthright, dreaming of the Roman Empire’s downfall and her ascendance to the throne.

Defying her relatives, Zenobia arranges her personal marriage to the main influential guy within the urban of Palmyra. yet their union is something yet peaceful—his different spouse begrudges the wedding and the beginning of Zenobia’s son, and Zenobia unearths herself ever extra attracted to her guardsman, Zabdas. As battle breaks out, she’s confronted with bad choices.

From the decadent halls of Rome to the golden sands of Egypt, Zenobia fights for energy, for romance, and for her son. yet will her hubris draw the wrath of the gods? Will she study a “woman’s place,” or can she ultimately stake her declare as Empress of the East?

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Babak strikes shut, at once at the back of her, and Zenobia pauses. All her senses come to prepared alert like these of a cornered animal as she perceives that Babak has moved to dam her from any retreat. She shudders as a thrill of worry wracks her. She sees in her mind’s eye the boring glimmer of moonlight on embroidery and the flickering photograph of golden checks—the headcloth of the Tanukh who clawed at her these decades in the past. Zenobia’s correct fist tightens—on not anything. She has no sword, no top from which to swing, and no Zabdas to stab the fellow within the center and end the bloody task. She needs to pass into this struggle by myself, armed with basically her wits—what little is still of them after her days of flight in the course of the wilderness. She turns to provide Babak one lengthy, chilly glance of scorn, then walks into the tent’s lamplit depths. she's going to now not be marched or dragged; she will, at the very least, visit her destiny with dignity. the inner is as luxurious as a tent will be. the ground is made up of Sasanian rugs, as soon as advantageous sufficient for any property, yet threadbare and previous now. In areas the tricky styles, the photographs of bounding animals and floral motifs, are worn into indecipherable smudges from a long time of treading ft. however, they serve their function good. The carved frames of some cots stand to at least one part, assembled yet no longer but coated through camel-hair mattresses or by way of the linens that lay stacked in a wide basket within sight. a number of lengths of pink wool are draped from the tent poles, as though an try used to be made to split the gap into rooms, yet then swiftly deserted. it sounds as if this tent and its proprietor arrived within the village slightly prior to Zenobia. She turns towards Babak, and sees for the 1st time the guy who opened the tent’s door—a burly Sasanid soldier. “Who . . . ? ” Zenobia’s query trails off as she senses circulation from in the tent and turns to determine a serving lady, garbed in silk together with her face part lined by means of the modest veils of her variety, emerge from the shadows and draw apart one of many crimson woolen hangings. On a stack of cushions a determine is seated cross-legged, palms braced on knees as though at the palms of a gilded throne. Zenobia takes within the sight of the lady with a lurch of panic and popularity. She is aware this slender, hard-angled body, the form of the excessive cheekbone and the dry, stark strains of the based hand. the girl seems to be up, her eyes shining with bad triumph, and Zenobia whispers her identify. “Fairuza. ” “Bring our visitor to me,” Fairuza says. She speaks in Aramaic—the language of Palmyra, of the husband those girls as soon as shared. If her Sasanid servants have no idea the tongue, it makes no distinction. Fairuza’s that means is obvious within the yes, speedy gesture of her hand, the criminal of 1 commanding finger. Trembling, Zenobia sinks onto a cushion contrary Fairuza. the feminine servant locations a lamp at the flooring among them, and the sunshine glows alongside the angles of Fairuza’s face, polishing her tom cat good points and turning her stare right into a leopard’s predatory gaze. “Well,” Fairuza says. “Here you're. ” Zenobia balls her fists and resolves to make no answer.

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