Monday, June 18, 2012
My Review of Garden of Madness
"The Untold Story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Daughter.
For seven years the Babylonian princess Tiamat has waited for the mad king Nebuchadnezzar to return to his family and to his kingdom. Driven from his throne to live as a beast, he prowls his luxurious Hanging Gardens, secreted away from the world.
Since her treaty marriage at a young age, Tia has lived an indulgent palace life. But when her husband dies and a nobleman is found murdered in the palace, Tia must discover who is responsible for the macabre death, even if her own newfound freedom is threatened.
As the queen plans to wed Tia to yet another prince, the powerful mage Shadir plots to expose the family’s secret and set his own man on the throne. Tia enlists the help of a reluctant Jewish captive, her late husband’s brother Pedaiah, who challenges her notions of the gods even as he opens her heart to both truth and love.
In a time when few gave their hearts to Yahweh, one woman must decide if she is willing to risk everything—her possessions, her gods, and her very life—for the Israelite’s one God. Madness, sorcery and sinister plots mingle like an alchemist’s deadly potion, and Tia must dare to risk all – to save the kingdom, and to save herself."
The "Seven Wonders" series continues with an intriguing story centered around the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This is a depiction of a fascinating and yet dark time in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar - as seen through the eyes of an independent and intelligent daughter who never stops loving him.
Tiamat is a strong and determined heroine who exercises as an outlet for her anxiety and stops at nothing to discover the truth. The secrets of the palace are numerous and prove to be quite painful, and yet this "Nancy Drew" of ancient Babylon keeps asking her questions and putting herself at risk. Tracy Higley does a wonderful job of writing historical suspense, as she keeps the tension - and the stakes - high. The descriptions of the palace and the city, combined with the escalating drama unfolding around Tia, make this an enthralling read.
The romance gets off to a great start (in terms of romantic tension), too, with Pedaiah and Tia constantly assessing their priorities and battling their feelings. But I confess that the ending - while engaging and generally satisfying - didn't quite live up to all I hoped it to be. Everything turned out too neat without finally endearing me to the hero.
So Garden of Madness isn't my favorite of Higley's books (I'm still partial to City of the Dead and Guardian of the Flame), but it is definitely a great read. The journey of the heroine and the theme of humility really stand out in this captivating story!
*With thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing through the Booksneeze program and the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*