I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Grip of God by Rebecca Hazell
Series: The Tiger and the Dove Trilogy #1
Published by CreateSpace on July 23, 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction
The Grip of God is the first novel in an epic historical trilogy, The Tiger and the Dove. Set in the thirteenth century, its heroine, Sofia, is a young princess of Kievan Rus. She begins her story by recounting her capture in battle and life of slavery to a young army captain in the Mongol armies that are flooding Europe. Not only is her life shattered, it is threatened by the bitter rivalries in her new master's powerful family, and shadowed by the leader of the Mongol invasion, Batu Khan, Genghis Khan's grandson. How will she learn to survive in a world of total war, much less rediscover the love she once took for granted? Always seeking to escape and menaced by outer enemies and inner turmoil, where can she find safe haven even if she can break free? Clear eyed and intelligent, Sofia could be a character from The Game of Thrones, but she refuses to believe that life is solely about the strong dominating the weak or about taking endless revenge. Her story is based on actual historical events, which haunt her destiny. Like an intelligent Forrest Gump, she reflects her times. But as she matures, she learns to reflect on them as well, and to transcend their fetters. In doing so, she recreates a lost era for us, her readers.
While reading The Grip of God I felt a nagging feeling in the back of my head, Sofia and her story reminds me of someone, but who? Last night it came to me, Cynthia Ann Parker
. Strange I know but bear with me, (and yes I know Cynthia Ann was a real person) both were abducted at an early age and thrust into a world drastically outside their own and each from a tribe. Violence could have been a daily occurrence and yet, they survived.
Without the comparisons Sofia was well-developed and was drawn into her story. She showed depth and liked that she realized how crazy it all was. Sofia grew as character the further I went with The Grip of God, as she mingled with a class unfamiliar with her. This may be a little irrelevant but the first time I read Memoirs of a Geisha I was thirteen and remember reading of a woman wearing a robe with a tie in the front. I thought nothing of it. Later, when I read it as an adult I realized it was for “easier access” I felt her growth was like that, looking back with a new perspective.
As for Sofia’s captor, Argamon was a pig, there’s really no way to go about, he’d go all Gladiator and come back expecting his romp in the hay. No matter how nicey nicey he may have played, just eww. That is all.
Honestly, my only complaint is there were a lot of characters whose names sounded similar, and it took me a while to keep them straight. Because of this, I found it a little distracting and did take away a bit of the storytelling.
The plot was original and enjoyed that it was based on historical facts. I usually read stories that are on the darker side and felt Rebecca Hazell’s novel fit the bill. This not to say that it was scary dark but more like Micheal Jackson’s Thriller video right before his eyes glow green. So the best way to describe it would be a combination of Game of Thrones narrated by Vincent Price.
About the Author
Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases.
She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.
Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.Visit Rebecca:
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