Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Dovekeepers


The Dovekeepers was one of the books I requested for Christmas and I wasn't disappointed.  The novel tells the story of four very different women, all dovekeepers in the Jewish fortress of Masada, where, on this seemingly impregnable mountaintop, Jewish zealots made a stand against the Romans in 70 CE.

I've always been fascinated by the history of Masada and Hoffman brings this centuries - old story to vivid life -- the people, the politics, and the economy of a group living in isolated self-sufficiency .

 And that's where the dovekeepers of the title come in -- on Masada, dovecotes or columbariums (the picture below is what remains of one) provided not only squabs and eggs but, more importantly, fertilizer for the gardens and orchards. (Wikipedia has an excellent article on dovecotes HERE.)
 
Like Wolf Hall, another of my Christmas requests, this is a fascinating and complex book and one that I'll certainly reread. 
 
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12 comments:

Victoria said...

I read this last year - twice in a row, I was so enthralled! Now you've made me want to read it again...

Blessings,

Victoria

Ms. A said...

I'm trying to imagine living in that location and the trek it would take to even get there.

Martin said...

This is all completely new to me, Vicki. I will investigate. Thank you.

Brian Miller said...

nice...high praise from you...and an interesting bit of history....will check this out a bit more...

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

The photo of the ruins makes me shudder to even think of supplying food and water to such as mountaintop fortress.

NCmountainwoman said...

Masada fascinates me as well. Once, after my husband had spent the day building a wall, someone asked him how it went. He answered with a question, "Did you see 'Masada'?"

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

Mmmm!... Thanks for sharing this miss Vicki!

JJRod'z

Brenda said...

I have never heard of this bit of history, or the book! Something for my Internet research "to do" list...

Mamabug said...

Definitely want to check this book out, sounds like a very interesting read. Hope your knee is getting better by the day. It was wonderful to be able to drive myself around again after my knee surgery.

Elizabeth K said...

I love this book, an amazing read.

Deanna said...

Will have to get this one. You have not yet steered me wrong!

jennyfreckles said...

Wow, must read that! It was the ruins of Masada that really encouraged me to start my blog. They were so amazing, blew me away - and then I realised that I LIVE in a World Heritage Site (Saltaire) and I decided there and then not to take it for granted anymore but to really find out about its history. I'd be fascinated by
that book.