The Dovekeepers

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New York Times bestseller

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.



Named a favorite book of 2011 by NPR, The Seattle Times and The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

“Beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature.”
Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature

“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

“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

“The Dovekeepers is a stunningly crafted work about a tragic and heroic time. It also showcases Hoffman’s immense gift for telling stories about women, magic and complex relationships. Perhaps The Dovekeepers is the masterpiece she has been working toward all along.”
The Seattle Times

“Alice Hoffman weaves fiction and fact in The Dovekeepers, a thrilling, passionate saga…The book pulses toward its stunning climax. Hoffman’s fiction is always compelling, but the history within The Dovekeepers makes this novel haunting.”
USA Today

“First-rate historical fiction, an epic saga of war, passion and the ferocious instinct of survival…The beating heart of the story is one that pulses through the author’s body of work: a celebration of women and their wondrous ways.”

“Magisterial…an intricate literary tapestry interweaving history and compelling dramatic narrative.”
Hadassah Magazine

“Vivid and visual…Intricately crafted, replete with the foreshadowing and symbolism of classic myth, The Dovekeepers will join Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon as one of the great feminist reimaginings of war epics.”
Ms. magazine

“Spellbinding…Ancient times come to shimmering life in this superb novel.”

“Striking…[Alice Hoffman] grounds her expansive, intricately woven, and deepest new novel in biblical history, with a devotion and seriousness of purpose that may surprise even her most constant fans.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Splendid…thrilling…fueled to fever pitch by a rich imagination…remarkable.”
The Boston Globe

“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.”

“Powerful…True to the history of Masada…[Alice Hoffman is] one of our best novelists.”
NPR’s “All Things Considered”

“The suspense keeps you barreling forward…but moments when Hoffman’s characters come to a full stop—registering what it’s like to be running out of options, experiencing their probably already false bravado evaporating in the arid mountain air—pack a timeless emotional punch.”
ELLE magazine

“Immersive…An enormously ambitious, multi-party story, richly decorated with the details of life 2,000 years ago…Dramatic and engaging”
The Washington Post

“[It’s] as if a wind has blown through and animated the lives on the page.”

“Alice Hoffman has breathed literary life into the dust of history and resurrected four simple dovekeepers, beautiful and moving women in a stunningly detailed world.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Ambitious…Sure to appeal to Hoffman’s core readership.”
New York Magazine

“[The Dovekeepers] tells of the historic siege of Masada as only the bestselling author of Here on Earth and The Third Angel could…a page-turner.”
The Miami Herald

“An enthralling tale rendered with consummate literary skill.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A gripping, masterful narrative…”
The Daily Beast

“Hoffman’s prose is vivid and unforgettable, scorching like the desert heat, and will stay with you long after you finish the last page.”

“Powerful and gripping…Hoffman finds poetry and beauty, dignity and honor, even in those perilous, blood-soaked times.”
Library Journal

“Brilliant…Read [The Dovekeepers] for Hoffman’s fine sense of narrative, history and detail as she shares the story of four women who come by various paths to Masada.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Alice Hoffman embraces the account and the women who gave it…Her master work.”
The Star-Ledger

“Bold…an in-depth and preternaturally empathic fictionalization of the months-long Roman siege of the mountain fortress of Masada.”
The Kansas City Star

“Hoffman creates a vividly detailed world…Mesemerizing.”
Star Tribune

The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Carefully researched…Alice Hoffman brings history to life.”
The Christian Science Monitor

“Ancient times comes to shimmering life in this superb novel…Hoffman re-creates in spellbinding detail the community’s fight to survive.”
Knoxville News-Sentinel

“Beautiful, intriguing and compelling…”
Vancouver Sun (Canada)

“Hoffman is at the peak of her powers as a writer.”
Globe and Mail (Canada)

“Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel to date.”
The Guardian (UK)

“The Dovekeepers is a book as monumental as its subject, magical, moving, quite beautifully written…A genuine masterpiece.”
Daily Mail (UK)

“A real tour de force…”
The Independent (UK)

“Incredible creative power and intense imagination….The Dovekeepers shows just how far and deep historical fiction can go.”
Observer (UK)