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Priestess of Ishana

(Tesha #1)

by
4.12  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A curse, a conspiracy and the clash of kingdoms. A defiant priestess confronts her foes, armed only with ingenuity and forbidden magic.

A malignant curse from the Underworld threatens Tesha’s city with fiery devastation. The young priestess of Ishana, goddess of love and war, must overcome this demonic darkness. Charred remains of an enemy of the Hitolian Empire reveal bot
...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 17th 2018 by Bronze Age Books
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  83 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Iset
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Me when reading historical fantasy: “Why couldn’t the author have been more faithful to the actual history? Real history is way more exciting!”

Me when reading historical fiction which takes too many liberties: “Why couldn’t the author have just been open and honest about the changes they made and called this straight up historical fantasy?”

So, as you may have gathered, there’s a reason why I haven’t read Priestess of Ishana until now, even though I enjoyed Judith Starkston’s Hand of Fire histori
...more
Juliew.
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Set in the Bronze Age this was a story about a Hittite priestess fighting to save a neighboring king from execution when he is mistakenly accused of murder.Convinced of his innocence she must find the real murderer before it's too late.I liked the ancient times element,the rituals,murder mystery and complex beliefs of the characters.I haven't read much fantasy lately so this reminded me how much I still enjoy it. ...more
Xerxes
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My review:

Priestess of Ishana is one of those novels that features a small incident and turns it into a rollicking three-four hundred page of adventure, misery, betrayal, and politics. In a basic nutshell, a shepherd and his son flee from a cave rumored to carry the curse of the underworld, and King Hattu is arrested by Grand Votary Pintep on the suspicion that he caused the curse to happen.

During this book, I felt thoroughly immersed with the main character, Tesha. She is bright, young and inte
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Coco.V
Oct 02, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (10/2/2019)! 🎁
Tinney
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel would be a pleasure to read even if it was only the product of the author’s fertile imagination, but it delights me that so much of it is based on real events and real people in the distant past – events and people we only know about through ancient clay tablets with cuneiform writing. Even the exotic fantasy elements have their roots in the beliefs of the Hittites. Starkston brings us Bronze Age magic, as well as vivid characters based on real historical people, and an exciting, mult ...more
Charles Ray
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tesha, a priestess of the goddess Ishanna, must try and save her city from demonic forces. When King Hattu, younger brother of the Great King, comes to her city on a secret mission, he’s accused of being in league with the demons and sentenced to die. With his fate in the hands of the grand Votary, Tesha’s father, who is a strict and unyielding man, things look dire. In order to save him, Tesha must destroy her own father, using her wits and forbidden magic.
Priestess of Ishanna by Judith Starks
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Beth Cato
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I blurbed this! "Priestess of Ishana evokes everything I love about historically-inspired fantasy with a strong and savvy heroine, a compassionate hero, and a world both blessed and cursed by the oversight of gods. Mystery, romance, action: this has it all." ...more
Erin Al-Mehairi
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
We know so little of the Hittite culture, don’t we? I’m enamored by the ancient civilizations and especially drawn to some of them as it’s such a puzzle to figure it all out. These people lived but so far removed from us. What were they like? Like us? Or were there supernatural elements of the gods? Art and fiction point us in all sorts of directions. I’m an overall historical fiction reader as well as fantasy and when they mix, I know it’s probably going to be something I might enjoy. With Judi ...more
Faith Justice
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have a preference for stories about little-known historical women. I think women have been systematically erased from history over time and it takes a lot of effort to uncover their stories and restore them to their proper place. But let’s face it. Sifting through academic papers and archaeological reports is way beyond what most busy people will sign up for. That’s where the historical novelist comes in. We do the hard work and the public reaps the reward: an exciting story, an introduction t ...more
Kristen
My Blog | My Twitter

Tesha is the 15 year old high priestess of the goddess Ishana, a deity of war and love. Her duties and devotion to the goddess are strong and she carries out her role faithfully at the temple, believing she knows her life’s role. Until one day, two shepherds discover the charred remains of a man’s body in a cave, who had been killed by sorcery, a crime punishable by death. When the Great King’s younger brother, Hattu, arrives to Tesha’s city to deliver a great treasure to the
...more
Lori
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love learning about history - any time period or place - and historical fiction is my preferred teacher, so historical fiction that feels “real” is my go-to. I’ll take my historical fiction with a generous sprinkling of provable facts, please. When I started Priestess of Ishana - described by author Judith Starkston as “historical fantasy,” I wondered if it would satisfy my nerdy need for historical detail. I haven’t read fantasy since the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 8th grade (which I did lo ...more
Lori
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love learning about history - any time period or place - and historical fiction is my preferred teacher, so historical fiction that feels “real” is my go-to. I’ll take my historical fiction with a generous sprinkling of provable facts, please. When I started Priestess of Ishana - described by author Judith Starkston as “historical fantasy,” I wondered if it would satisfy my nerdy need for historical detail. I haven’t read fantasy since the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 8th grade (which I did lo ...more
Rosanne Lortz
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
As priestess of Ishana, Tesha must perform the rites that keep the goddess happy with her people, but when a dead man and a burn curse crop up in the nearby cave of demons, Tesha's abilities are tested to the limit. Is her training and her magic strong enough to control the powers threatening to engulf the city?

Hattu, the brother of the high king of the Hitolian Empire, arrives with offerings for Ishana just as the city dissolves into panic. Accusations of sorcery fly wildly, and before he can m
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Rebecca
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A delightful story that carried me off to a lavish, half-historical, half fantasy world. The result of the author's mingling of fact with fantasy was a tale I didn’t want to put down. In this magical place, the stars have a shimmery rainbow color, and there are fantastical creatures as well as intriguing humans. There are curses, shape-changers, and demons. The goddess makes her wishes known pretty clearly. I was reminded a little bit of “The Wizard of Earthsea.”

Priestess of Ishana starts on a c
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Paul Bennett
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
full review soonBLURB

A curse, a conspiracy and the clash of kingdoms. A defiant priestess confronts her foes, armed only with ingenuity and forbidden magic.

A malignant curse from the Underworld threatens Tesha’s city with fiery devastation. The young priestess of Ishana, goddess of love and war, must overcome this demonic darkness. Charred remains of an enemy of the Hitolian Empire reveal both treason and evil magic. Into this crisis, King Hattu, the younger brother of the Great King, arrives to
...more
Margaret
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
√Tesha Uses Magic and Brain Power to Fight the Forces of Darkness

This novel will appeal to readers who like their historical fiction spiced with fantasy and intrigue.

A charred body found in a cave frightens the people of a prosperous city state in the Hitlolian empire. They believe this burned corpse means that the dark forces of the underworld are about to destroy them. Tesha, Priestess of the goddess Ishana, vows to protect her people. She’ll rely on her connection to Ishana to give her vision
...more
Deborah
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Waid
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are a fan of historical or new world fantasy, I recommend Ishana’s Priestess. The world created by the author is new, but infused with details drawn from Bronze Age Mesopotamia, which gives the novel an atmosphere you can smell and taste, and lends its ritual magic the strange plausibility of dreams.

Tesha is a priestess of Ishana and the daughter of Grand Votary Prentip, who serves as both governor and high priest for the influential city of Lawaza. When a handsome king visits the city, T
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Dixiane Hallaj
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author brings the readers into the Bronze Age by creating a world with counterparts of actual historical people and events. Her characters come to life in a world that works in accordance with the beliefs of the time—curses, sorcery, gods and goddesses who can and do interfere in the lives of men.
Even though the outcome of the romantic interests is clear from the onset, the author’s excellent portrayal of the politics of the time, combined with the very believable characters kept me turning
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Elisabeth Storrs
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Judith Starkston's Hand of Fire expertly re-imagined the tragic love triangle of Achilles, Patroclus and Briseis of Trojan War fame. In Priestess of Ishana, she recreates the Hittite civilization with a mixture of fantasy, romance and mystery. Quite an accomplishment. I admire her attention to historical detail which brings a little known culture of the ancient world alive. The priestess, Tesha, is a strong female character who is believable because Starkston makes her work within the constraint ...more
Leslie
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this book free as an ARC reader for review.

This book is long. Not necessarily long in pages, but long as in “oh dear God is this never going to end?” The characters are poorly defined, and so vacillating it gets frustrating. The imprisoned warrior king starts to go mad after only a couple weeks in prison. A priestess of Ishana constantly seems to forget the power her role entails and acts like a brainless twit in the face of a father’s wrath. There are so many antagonistic players th
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Crystal Denny
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I don't typically get on board with "religious" books that much...this was more......religious/fantasy. I liked that it was "historical" fantasy too. I really admire Tesha and how she wanted to find the truth and do what was right; no matter the consequences to herself or her family. Her relationship with Daniti was so sweet. I know she felt responsible for Daniti's issue but I loved their sisterly bond. While I felt King Hattu was a little arrogant at times, I was still rooting for him an ...more
Christine Phillips
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tempestuous Priestess Ishana hopes to resist her father’s politics. Her parents are introducing her to suitors meant to increase the family’s fortune and political power. Instead, Ishana falls in love with Hattu, the Great King’s brother. Loyalty to her family is further tested when her father unjustly imprisons Hattu for murder and sorcery. If Hattu is judged guilty, he will be executed. If Hattu is deemed innocent, Ishana’s father will be punished by the Great King. When the situation becomes ...more
Toni
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t generally read high fantasy, but Priestess of Ishana by Judith Starkston had me hooked from page one of this intricate novel. Based on historical events in the Bronze Age, Starkston wraps history and magic together in an unforgettable package. I was drawn in by the young heroine as she struggles to save her kingdom. Lovers of fantasy will do well to pick up this novel. I would also recommend it to any young adult readers who want to see a young woman learn who she is.

I voluntarily revie
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Amy Shannon
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Grand Read

Starkston pens a grand historical fantasy story in Priestess of Ishana. This story reads like it would be perfect for young adults who enjoy fantasy. This story also add a historical element to the story, making it more interesting, and giving the story depth. It's set in the Bronze Age, and adds a touch of magic and superstition to the plot. It's an easy and fast-paced read, and it works. The story just works, and gives the reader a great story and wonderfully strong characters. I loo
...more
Rachel Diamant
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The action starts right away in "Priestess of Ishana"! This book is a great combination of murder mystery and fantasy in a historical setting. I found the historical aspects of the book fascinating, and the characters intriguing as the murder mystery unfolded. No spoilers here, you'll have to read the book! ...more
Helen Hollick
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

'This novel is Hittite historical fantasy, which is surely one of the most interesting and unique genres I’ve ever come across.'
...more
Michael
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well woven tapestry

When an author uses historical fact as a foundation , the reader is usually treated to an excellent story. The story found here is extremely detailed and intricate. Please read with an open mind. Enjoy!
Michele McGuinness
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love this well written, historical fantasy.
Barbara
Apologies... I started this during the pandemic, gave up my Kindle unlimited subscription several months later without ever having finished it. Sigh.
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Judith Starkston has spent too much time reading about and exploring the remains of the ancient worlds of the Greeks, Hittites and the Near East. Early on she went so far as to get degrees in Classics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and Cornell. She loves myths and telling stories. This has gotten more and more out of hand. Her solution: to write historical fantasy set in the Bronze ...more

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Tesha (3 books)
  • Sorcery in Alpara (Tesha #2)
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