11 Aug 2014

OVERLORD: THE RISE OF ZENOBIA #1.

OVERLORD: THE RISE OF ZENOBIA #1 by JD SMITH.

SOURCE: Received for review from the author.

ABOUT THE BOOK {According to the back cover}: 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 ...

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue: Zabdas- 290 AD- Present Day}: Clouds of sand billow across the road into Palmyra.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 73}: Silks hung from racks: blues, greens, yellows, reds, golds; every colour in between. Bottles of coloured oils and potions swung from wooden pegs, clinking, swaying, jostling to the city rhythm.

MY THOUGHTS: A big fan of this genre. If there's one thing I like more than historical fiction its historical fiction based on actual people/events and, even better still, historical fiction with a strong female lead and in Overload: The Rise Of Zenobia #1 you get all this.

Set in the third century AD and told mainly from the perspective of Zabdas, a slave come warrior, who narrates the story of Zenobia (a warrior Queen who like the perhaps better known Boudicca/Boadicea also took on the might of the Roman Empire) to his granddaughter. Whilst the narrative does jump around between time and place its not an issue.   

Full of the politics of the time (I loved the depiction of a teetering Roman Empire on the verge of collapse) and with everything from the people and places to the sights and smells vividly described this is a very well written book. Penned by an author who obviously knows her stuff, the facts are all there and yet woven into the story in such a clever way that it never feels heavy going.

My only disappointment? Whilst I appreciate that this is only part one in a series (part 2, The Fate Of An Emperor, is due for release this autumn) and therefore there is time for character development, given that Overlord was a short read of only 219 pages I personally would have preferred to see a more fleshed out Zenobia and, wonderful though they were, slightly less descriptions.


9 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

That is the tricky thing about a series...you want to make it stand alone, but you also want to save something for later. However, if things aren't strong enough in the first book, people may not read to the second book. It's a very tricky thing!

Kelly said...

Ooooo...another one you know is to my taste! I'll put this on my wish list, but will probably wait until all the books are available (is it to be a trilogy?). I'm doing the same with another that you've, so far, reviewed the first two for.

Lady Lilith said...

Sounds good. I cannot wait to hear all about part 2 at a alter date.

Melliane said...

Even if it could have been better, it sounds like an interesting book. And you're right I also love when it's about real characters.

Literary Feline said...

I work with someone named Zenobia, and now I know where the name comes from! :-)

Suko said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book, Tracy. It sounds like it is very well-written and that you greatly enjoyed your time with this (short) book.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Hm... don't think this one is for me. While you are right about the series fleshing out the characters I still need a decently strong character for me to continue a series. Great review!

Brian Joseph said...

Stories set in this time and place would be inevitably interesting to me. This one sound fun.

Unfortunately I find that if an early book in a series if weak in character development, the series does not usually pick up in that respect.

Interesting that the mood of the book portrayed the Roman Empire teetering on collapse. In 290 AD the Eastern Empire had a lot of life and time ahead of it.

Rachel B said...

Looks really interesting! I love this genre as well.