Published by Howard Books on May 2015
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Historical
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Her name is legend. Her story, the epic of nations. The Queen of Sheba. A powerful new novel of love, power, and the questions at the heart of existence by Tosca Lee, the author of the award-winning Iscariot.
The Legend of Sheba | Tosca Lee
She is an enigma, a mystery, an unknown even to those close to her. A queen in a patriarchal world. Ruler of a wealthy kingdom in the middle of a barren land. Rough yet feminine. Calculating yet not devoid of emotion. Wanting love but knowing that to do so risked her power.
She is Bilqis, queen of Sheba. And this is her story.
She grew up in the palace of her father, an only child, a lonely child. Her mother, Ismeni, died when she was young. Her stepmother hated her, saw her as a threat. And so she was exiled, sent away. But time would pass and her father would grow old and sick. Her stepmother connived to take the throne, but other powers would rather see Bilqis as sovereign. That was how she became Queen. She did not ask for it. Did not really want it. But she did embrace it with passion.
Her dealings with the politics and trade systems of neighboring countries lead to an interest in Solomon, king of Israel. The first half of The Legend of Sheba is, in reality, a continual buildup to that encounter. Lee treats it with all the depth and wonder and mysticism it deserves, providing a depth of character and setting that is simply unparalleled. The second half deals with her interactions with Solomon, his people, and his God. Lee paints Solomon as a complex creature—a man of passion and emotion, yet of shrewdness and wisdom; a conflicted character whose perfections and imperfections are brought out in stark contrast.
The core of the story comes from the biblical account in 1 Kings 10 (and 2 Chronicles 9), which briefly states that the Queen of Sheba, hearing of Solomon, came to him to ask hard questions of him. We read this and miss out on what a revolutionary thing it is. But in the same way Lee challenged reader’s perceptions of Eve (Havah) and Judas (Iscariot), she now challenges of perception of the infamous Queen of the South.
The Legend of Sheba wraps tradition, legend, and speculation around a core of factual truth to develop a story that is breathtakingly beautiful in premise, prose, and plot. History and Scripture come to life in this epic tale of one of the Bible’s most speculated upon encounters. It’s a wild camel ride through the desert full of twists, turns, and surprises. It’s a luxurious royal feast of eloquence, imagery, and theme. A beautiful story brilliantly told that will enchant, enthrall, and enrapture. Tosca Lee has the heart of a poet, the mind of scholar, and the imagination of a Storyteller. The three coalesce perfectly into The Legend of Sheba.