Teddy's Reviews > Written in the Ashes

Written in the Ashes by K. Hollan Van  Zandt
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's review
May 26, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: ancient-times, egyptian, historical-fiction, read-in-2012
Recommended for: Historical Fiction Lovers
Read from April 27 to May 01, 2012

Written In the Ashes takes place in the 5th century after the Roman Empire collapses, in Alexandria Egypt. It opens with teenager, Hannah, a shepherd girl roaming the desert with her father in search of a new place to live that has water for their sheep and themselves to live. One night Hannah sleeps close to the sheep to keep an eye on them but she is awakened by men who kidnap her and rape her. They bring her to Alexandria and auction her off as a slave to the highest bidder, Alizar.

Alizar recognizes the beauty and talent in Hannah for her intelligence and singing voice. He decides to give her the opportunity to buy back her freedom and sends her to the Library of Alexandria to get educated and is taken under the wings of Hypatia, the library's headmistress and other's. When Hypatia gives lectures, she invites Hannah to sing and the audience is mesmerized.

Meanwhile, the Bishop, Cyril vows to rid Alexandria of all he views as pagan, including Jews and Hypatia. Cyril does find a way to chase the Jews out and a great many are killed. How far will he go? Does he and his disciples have anything to do with the burning of the Great Library? How will Hannah fair in all of this?

You must read Written In the Ashes to find out! Yes, this is a must read for all historical fiction lovers. This is K. Hollan Van Zandt's first book but you would never guess it. It sung to me like the main character, Hannah with beautiful prose, gleaming characters and 5th century Alexandria, Egypt being brought to life. The words poured off the pages and as hard as I tried to savour each word, I could not put Written In the Ashes down. I cried at the end because I was so upset that the book ended!

Written In the Ashes is book one in what Van Zandt hopes to be a trilogy. It has been optioned by Mark R. Harris, Academy Award-Winning Producer (Crash, Gods & Monsters) for a TV mini-series! Van Zandt told me that one of the big publishers really loved the book but doesn't think that readers are interested in 5th century Alexandria, Egypt and the burning of the Great Library. I find that hard to believe and I hope you will help K. Hollan Van Zandt, I, and others prove them wrong. Written In the Ashes is in my top 5 books of all time, I hope it will be yours as well!
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