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Who is Zenobia? Until Russ Wallace's book I had never heard about the true historical figure Zenobia. Why haven't we read about this extraordinary woman in our history books?
In my opinion why she's been unknown until now is because it's the victors who write the history books. Rome wanted to silence the warrior queen. They certainly didn't want anyone to know how close she came to conquering them.
Some accounts portray Zenobia as a power hungry woman. They say she ruined a beautiful part of the country. It’s true if you visit Palmyra, Syria today you will find massive structures that are now rubble. When her army fought against Rome many temples and buildings were destroyed.
Russ Wallace was inspired by Zenobia's story. He had to get into the mind of a warrior to find what motivated her to fight. In Zenobia – Birth of a Legend, the historical fiction by Russ Wallace, he explores the injustices that may have provoked Zenobia into action.
In beginning of book one, Zenobia - Birth of a Legend, we learn how Zenobia should've been put to death at birth just because she's a girl. She's raised pretending to be a boy. You can only imagine this experience teaches her life is not fair. You have two choices when you face the cruelty of life; you either become a victim or you become an advocate to fight against injustice. Zenobia decides to fight.
When her true identity is revealed, her Syrian tribe decides to spare her life because she shows great potential to be a leader and is skilled in archery.
Most historians agree Zenobia is extremely smart. She speaks many languages and surrounds herself with scholars.
Women of her time are married off as trading leverage. Zenobia instead is trained as a warrior, becoming proficient in swordsmanship and archery.
Zenobia travels to Egypt for an education. One of her professors, Longinus, is known as a great thinker. His influence will play a major role in her life. It's documented that he becomes Zenobia's top advisor.
A highly intelligent woman, who's as skilled as a man, what would lead her to a life of war and bloodshed?
In the Zenobia Book Series, Russ Wallace will answer the many questions that the history books have missed. Not all of what Wallace portrays may have actually happened, but many of the influencing factors are realistic. We know she did become Queen of Syria and she was a powerful warrior who fought alongside her troops. We also know she lost the battle against Rome, because we've all heard of Rome but not Zenobia.
(Zenobia in chains statue by Harriet Hosmer at the Huntington Library in California)
We may not know all the facts but we can ponder on what would motivate us to battle against the greatest empire. Is money and power really a great motivator to do something so completely dangerous?
I think not. Our hearts would need to be fully behind such a daring act. Zenobia was a great leader in her time and I believe the love for her people made her stand up against the injustices of her world. She doesn't want to live in fear. She wants the same world we all dream about; a place where everyone is equal and our thoughts and ideas matter.
Even today, many people around the world are experiencing the same injustices that Zenobia once fought against. A novel that not only entertains and educates us but motivates us into action is just what we need.
is available for 50% off until the end of November.