Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.
In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean, desert, Masada. Only two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom comes to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.
The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets — about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and who they love.
The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
“Beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature.”
—Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature
“I am still reeling from THE DOVEKEEPERS–from the history Alice Hoffman illuminates, from the language she uses to bring these women to life. This novel is a testament to the human spirit and to love rising from the ashes of war. But most of all, this novel is one that will never be forgotten by a reader.”
—Jodi Picoult, author of Sing You Home
“In her remarkable new novel, Alice Hoffman holds a mirror to our ancient past as she explores the contemporary themes of sexual desire, women’s solidarity in the face of strife, and the magic that’s quietly present in our day-to-day living. Put The Dovekeepers at the pinnacle of Hoffman’s extraordinary body of work. I was blown away.”
—Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed
“Hoffman makes ancient history live and breathe in this compelling story… This is both a feminist manifesto and a deeply felt tribute to courageous men and women of faith, told with the cadence and imagery of a biblical passage.”
“Hoffman births literature from tragedy… a story of strong, intelligent women wedded to destiny by love and sacrifice… intriguingly complex… An enthralling tale rendered with consummate literary skill.”
“The women, each with her own secrets and talents, powerful lovers and magical spells, soon develop a loyalty so fierce that they are willing to sacrifice everything for each other and the children they are entrusted with. Hoffman can tell a story and knows about creating compassionate characters.”
“Ambitious…the suspense…keeps you barreling forward…THE DOVEKEEPERS pack[s] a timeless emotional punch.”