Horses of Heaven

Gillian Bradshaw, Author Nan A. Talese $20 (448p) ISBN 978-0-385-41466-1
British novelist Bradshaw ( Imperial Purple ) has created a richly detailed, absorbing historical novel of the ancient world, with strong, well-developed characters and all the right plot elements: love, war, courtly life and the magic of the gods. In 140 B.C., narrator Tomryis, age 18, is chosen by Saka King Mauakes of Ferghana (now Afghanistan), to attend his new wife, Heliokleia, a Greek from the kingdom of Bactra. The marriage is a political alliance, and Mauakes makes it clear that beautiful, intelligent Heliokleia is to have only limited powers. The aloof queen decides to seek her soul's release by being the perfect ruler. Mauakes's grown son Itaz, devoted to his father, is sensitive to both the king's isolation behind the mask of power and Heliokleia's emotional suffering. Eventually Mauakes falls in love with his wife, but he can't demand her affection, which has settled on Itaz. Aided by their sun god patron, Heliokleia and Itaz must confront the paranoid, embittered Mauakes and endure a horrible confrontation with a supernatural creature. Well-researched, interesting details on the cultural and religious customs of the period provide background for the noble characters, who fulfill the promise, good or evil, of their true natures. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-29796-6
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