AGE: 14 up
This thoughtful historical work explores the question of what motivates people to fight. Horacius, a Roman commander, has been sent from his base in Syria to help put down the Jewish revolt. Indifferent to the Jews, he is spurred by considerations of vanity and reputation.
Clara, a young Christian girl tossed on the storm of the unrest, has been forced by Horcius to be his concubine. Baba is a Jewish woman who has come to the region to try to reclaim her property. Miriam is sucked into the turmoil through her son, a local governor. These four diverse characters meet at the cave at Nahal Hever, the last refuge as the revolt fails, creating an eerie story of coincidence.
The text is poetic and elegant, the characters strong. The exact details of the battles of the revolt offer a fascinating sub-plot.