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The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers

A Novel

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Alice Hoffman’s bestselling, spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women in Masada in 70 A.D. will be a four-hour miniseries airing on CBS and produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the married team behind the History Channel’s Emmy Award–winning The Bible and Fox’s feature film Son of God.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
  • Scribner | 
  • 528 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476790381 | 
  • March 2015
List Price $16.00
Ships on or around March 17, 2015

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The Author of Practical Magic Discusses Her Latest Novel

The Dovekeepers is a story about murder, magic, faith, love, loyalty, fate and personal destiny – making for one of the most dramatic passages in ancient history.

Read an Excerpt

The Dovekeepers The Assassin’s Daughter
We came like doves across the desert. In a time when there was nothing but death, we were grateful for anything, and most grateful of all when we awoke to another day.

We had been wandering for so long I forgot what it was like to live within walls or sleep through the night. In that time I lost all I might have possessed if Jerusalem had not fallen: a husband, a family, a future of my own. My girlhood disappeared in the desert. The person I’d once... see more

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Dovekeepersincludes an , discussion questions and a letter from author Alice Hoffman. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

  1. The novel is split into four principal parts, with each of the main characters—Yael, Revka, Aziza, and Shirah—narrating one section. Which of these women did you find most appealing, and why? Were you surprised to find you had compassion for characters who were morally complex and often made choices that later caused guilt and sorrow?

  2. Yael describes her relationship with Ben Simon as “a destroying sort of love” (p. 46). What does she mean by that? Are there other relationships in the novel that could be described in the same way?

  3. From Yael’s setting free the Romans’ lion, to Shirah’s childhood vision of a fish in the Nile, to the women’s care of the doves, animals are an important component in the book. What did animals mean to the people of this ancient Jewish society, and what specific symbolic forms do they take in the novel?

  4. The figure of Wynn, “The Man from the North,” who comes to serve the women in the dovecote, is based upon arch
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