by Alice Hoffman
Scribner, 2011, hardcover and e-book
“The Dovekeepers” is set in ancient Israel and is based on the true events of the Romans’ siege of Masada in 70 CE. It follows four women who have come to Masada for different reasons. There’s Yael, whose own mother died in childbirth and whose father never forgave her; Reyka, a village baker’s wife who watched the brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; Aziza, a warrior’s daughter raised as a boy; and Shirah, born in Alexandria and wise to the ways of ancient medicine and magic. The lives of all four intersect during the last days of the siege.
Hoffman bases her novel on the accounts of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the findings of archeologist Yigael Yadin.