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By Libbie Hawker

When Zenobia takes keep an eye on of her personal destiny, will the gods punish her audacity?

Zenobia, the proud daughter of a Syrian sheikh, refuses to marry opposed to her will. She won’t undergo a life of subservience. while her father dies, she units out on her personal, pursuing the facility she believes to be her birthright, dreaming of the Roman Empire’s downfall and her ascendance to the throne.

Defying her relations, Zenobia arranges her personal marriage to the main influential guy within the urban of Palmyra. yet their union is something yet peaceful—his different spouse begrudges the wedding and the start of Zenobia’s son, and Zenobia unearths herself ever extra attracted to her guardsman, Zabdas. As conflict breaks out, she’s confronted with bad choices.

From the decadent halls of Rome to the golden sands of Egypt, Zenobia fights for energy, for romance, and for her son. yet will her hubris draw the wrath of the gods? Will she examine a “woman’s place,” or can she ultimately stake her declare as Empress of the East?

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Aurelian, perhaps. Cleopatra’s destiny isn't really yours. ” He lifts her chin along with his loose hand, staring at because the firelight performs over her flushed cheeks. “Where is the lady who was so definite of her future? ” “Not here,” Zenobia says, turning away. She walks clear of him, following an aimless direction in the course of the darkish, chilly backyard. He hurries after her with the torch, yet regardless of how briskly he strides, she is still simply at the fringe of the sunshine, a phantom ceaselessly out of his succeed in, vanishing in a blur of white linen. “Wait,” Zabdas calls out. “Let me stick with you—I needs to defend you! ” Clutched via worry, by means of a walk in the park that he'll lose her, he breaks right into a run. Zenobia halts while she hears his pounding footsteps. The firelight leaps, and all of sudden she is beside him. She is greater than an insignificant presence, higher than lifestyles in his ring of torchlight, a strength of character that turns out to tower over his more advantageous top. Zabdas gasps in shock. “Gods! ” But the torch gutters down back, and she or he is herself—small and good, bundled in her cloak, having a look up at him. “There is not any backing down now,” she tells him, her phrases slightly greater than a whisper. “If there ever used to be. ” “Do you remorse the promise you made me, Zabdas—to be my dependable guy, to face beside me it doesn't matter what might come? ” He touches her cheek and slides his hand round to cup the nice and cozy nape of her neck. “Never. ” Zenobia appears down on the phial in her palm. within the torchlight, she will be able to see that it really is enameled in crimson, as slick and shining as fresh-spilled blood. Resolutely, she closes her fist round it. “Even if i'll again down,” she says bravely, with hardly ever a capture in her voice, “I wouldn’t. ” Zabdas hears the lie in her phrases, and senses an surprising texture via their filmy veil. Is it remorse he detects hiding in her voice? absolutely now not. “I know,” he says, to assuage her. “I know,” she replies without delay. Zabdas is startled to work out her smile—a speedy curve of the mouth that appears a great deal like mischief. “I recognize what I’ll do. both the gods really do help me, or they don’t. in the event that they are going to determine me via this, Zabdas, I’ve bought to teach a few dedication to their reason. ” He laughs—he can’t support it. “I imagine you’ve proven good enough dedication to fulfill any god. ” “They’re trying out me,” she says. “Testing my religion of their designs. Or they performed me for a idiot and feature deserted me. both method, I’ve acquired to force forward with all my could. There’s no method out yet ahead. ” Forward, Zabdas thinks. there's no approach out in any respect. yet he merely nods mutely. Zenobia faucets a finger opposed to her chin. “It’s not sufficient to invite Aurelian for his cooperation—or his blessing. i have to succeed in out and take what i would like, now not settle for it from any man’s hand—or it is going to by no means be really mine. ” They begin again towards the palace, jogging slowly, the torch held low. It casts an excellent egg-shaped glow alongside the floor, stretching and receding with the rhythm of Zabdas’s stride. “You reached out and took Emesa,” he issues out. “And Antioch, after which Egypt, Rome’s breadbasket, within the identify of all that’s sacred.

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