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Publisher's Summary

My name is Zabdas: once a slave; now a warrior, grandfather and servant. I call Syria home. I shall tell you the story of my Zenobia: Warrior Queen of Palmyra, Protector of the East, Conqueror of Desert Lands …
The Roman Empire is close to collapse. Odenathus of Palmyra holds the Syrian frontier and its vital trade routes against Persian invasion. A client king in a forgotten land, starved of reinforcements, Odenathus calls upon an old friend, Julius, to face an older enemy: the Tanukh.
Julius believes Syria should break free of Rome and declare independence. But his daughter's beliefs are stronger still. Zenobia is determined to realise her father's dream.
And turn traitor to Rome ...
©2014 JD Smith (P)2014 JD Smith
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Gilly on 12-17-14

Bringing the past to life through audio

Would you consider the audio edition of The Rise of Zenobia to be better than the print version?

I have read and loved the print version of this book also, and have to say the audio adaptation really took the story to another level. I think the narrator did a brilliant job with the characters. The voices were just as I had imagined them in my head. And listening to the book, rather than reading it, seemed to transport me to the location.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bamdad! The voice was wonderful, and although he was probably my favourite character when I read the book, I was delighted with the narrator's handling of him. Brilliant!

What does Paul Hodgson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I think because for me you listen to longer spells of the story - maybe in the car or on a train journey - than I would if I read - you become much more involved and immersed in the story. The characters become real. I do feel with this kind of historical fiction, audio is a fantastic choice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed at a lot of Bamdad's parts!

Any additional comments?

Can't recommend this highly enough, the marriage of a talented writer and equally talented narrator has resulted in a real joy here.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Cinders on 04-23-17

PALMYRA !!!! and Rome….. and even the Persians...

This is marvelous historical fiction. Highly recommended for history buffs, not to mention those of us who never got to see Palmyra before ISIS reduced her ruins to total rubble. I must add that in addition to loving the writing, I enjoyed the narrator very much, and the only reason he didn't get a 5 instead of a 4 is because of the Scottish accent he used for a Syrian. Otherwise, a truly grand listen.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By leekmuncher on 02-04-15


If you could sum up The Rise of Zenobia in three words, what would they be?

Loyalty, courage, character

Who was your favorite character and why?

Zabdas - his older and younger selves are both equally well drawn. And Bamdad because he has a rough manner but a soft heart. And Zenobia, of course, for her wit and passion. And Julius, for his noble mission.

What about Paul Hodgson’s performance did you like?

The distinct but not exaggerated way he represented each character and paced the battle scenes so well

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Zabdas first met Julius.

Any additional comments?

The book, the story, the voice transported me far away from a frosty drive through a snow-covered forest and into the ancient deserts of Syria. So much so, I parked up round the corner from my destination and listened till the end.

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By Gilly on 12-18-14

Bringing the past to life!

Where does The Rise of Zenobia rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I've only recently started listening to more historical fiction on audio, and have to say I think the genre benefits from some brilliant narrators who transport you to a far flung world. Definitely in my top three.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rise of Zenobia?

Zabdas's whole story from the slums of the docks and his dramatic rescue - to his position beside Zenobia. I love how the author has given us two perspectives on his story - retelling it to his granddaughter, Samira, as an older man and also allowing us to relive the key scenes for ourselves. Although this story is about the rise of Zenobia, I love seeing it through Zabdas's eyes.

What does Paul Hodgson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Perfect characterisation. The voices are authentic and natural and fit the characters. I particularly liked his interpretation of Bamdad who is a brilliant creation!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I loved all of the battle scenes, the terror and passion and fear of the people came through. There were some wonderfully amusing moments too - Bamdad in particular has a brilliant dry wit. To be honest, I loved it all, and it ended far too soon.

Any additional comments?

Audio really takes this novel to another level for me. A talented author + a talented narrator is a match made in heaven and I can't wait to hear the next in the series.

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