Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hand of Fire by Judith Starkston

     I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review Judith Starkston's debut novel, Hand of Fire. This novel focuses on Briseis, a queen who is often no more than a footnote in the beautiful story of the Trojan War. I absolutely adore books that really flesh out otherwise minor characters since it is imperative for world-building. In Hand of Fire Briseis is given a beautifully woven back story. We see her spring to life as a young healing priestess who is taken captive by the Greeks.
     Leading the Greeks in their attacks is strong, handsome demi-god Achilles. Unlike many portrayals of Achilles in other works, Ms. Starkston's Achilles is well rounded and more complex. He is shown not as a mindless war machine, but as a young man who is aware of destiny and capable of being tender. Even after all the grief Achilles has caused for Briseis their relationship feels believable and real. 
      This story is so incredibly well researched, but not at all textbook-like that any reader, from the casual reader looking for a strong story to die hard history buffs, will find this book a pleasure. I really loved how this book made the ancient world come to life and be relatable to audiences while not losing its authenticity. It is evident Starkston felt such an attachment to her characters, because they are just so real! 
      All in all, I give this novel 4.5 out of 5 stars! If you are looking for an except of Hand of Fire, please click here, or if you are interested in purchasing it click here.
Judith Starkston

Find Q&A, book reviews, ancient recipes, historical background as well as on-going information about the historical fiction community on Starkston’s website www.JudithStarkston.com
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