Zenobia, Daughter of Palmyra's most powerful cheiftan, resists marriage, turning down each of her father's carefully selected suitors. After her father's untimely death at enemy hands, she arranges her own marriage to the Roman backed governor of Palmyra, even though he is happily married. Her married life is full of tension, she doesn't love her husband and the first wife hates her. Still she has a son and plots for the future of her City. When her husband dies, Zenobia bat-Zabbai takes up the banner to become Zenobia Augusta.
I was immediately drawn in to Zenobia's world. I loved her fierceness and also loved Zabdas. Hawker does a wonderful job of describing Palmyra without it becoming heavy handed. I did wish that Zenobia could have made different choices, but then she wouldn't have been extraordinary. Very good novel.