Tag Archives: Stephanie Thornton review

The Tiger Queens: Women of Genghis Khan is Enthralling Epic

Tiger QueensI know you’ll ask me this, so let’s start off with it, “if I had not already known Stephanie Thornton, would I have chosen this book at the women of Ghenghis Khan?” I want you to know, before going any further, yes! I’d have chosen it for the cover and the synopsis! Not only is the cover gorgeously appealing, but I love the theme. Sometimes I feel that loving this ancient historical era of the Mongols, or other prehistoric settings and native american themes, sets me aside from some other historical readers that consistently only read those authors that headline the genre. I absolutely love to read any books of women in the ancient worlds, but I have a true heart for these stories of people of the land.

However, though this era of the Mongols and Ghenghis Khan intrigues me alone, now is where Stephanie’s pure writing and storytelling talent comes in. I believe this might be her best book to date! As The Secret History was amazing enough to cement her into the historical fiction world as a top seller and earned her high regard, The Tiger Queens far surpasses even it. Stephanie’s writing was stellar in her debut novel, but her growth in wordbuilding, phrasing, details, and emotional development of characters is quite apparent.

From the moment I cracked open this long awaited novel, I was absorbed in it. I was glad to stay up late into the night and savor her writing. I was thrilled the moment that I began reading. She created her characters–the four women she focuses the story on, as well as the supporting characters–with such finesse. I had to stop and think several times about them. She created people with such detail and dimension that we can actually feel that they existed, like if we were reading their journals left behind. She writes with elegance and a lyrical pen.

I felt as compelled as I feel inside a book as when I read Jane Auel, Sue Harrison, and W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear. They don’t write of the women of Monguls, but of similar people of the lands, many times showcasing the strength of clan or tribe women. And this is high praise, as there is no one that compares to these writers for me. They are my secret place of happiness and so I’m happy to secure Stephanie’s The Tiger Queens on this special shelf since it was such an engrossing novel about the People of Felt.

I enjoyed how she separated each story and was excited each time to move on to the next to see how they all fell into place. The women of the Mongols were respected and were such political influences, even though captives and other women were treated so brutally by the men. I am not sure why more of their stories haven’t been told, except for the fact that there is little information on them. I applaud Stephanie very much as her historical research was so intense and labored and she poured every ounce of what she learned into the pages in order to bring the story so visually to life. It was as if we were walking on the steppes and viewing each story ourselves.

I know some about the Mongol culture, but whether seasoned on the topic or a newbie reader, Stephanie holds nothing back in her writing for anyone. They can be really brutal, disgusting, and harsh. Stephanie doesn’t leave any of it out, but creates an authentic world. At the same time, she does it with such grace you almost just “get it,” and move along savoring even the abhorrent parts (ha!). She helps the reader to immerse into their world and understand the time and place, the sights and sounds, the scents and even the acts and emotions. She shows how they can be gentle and brutal at the same time. It’s quite the balance and I felt that Stephanie pulled it off with a seamless interlacing. It left me feeling very satisfied, as there aren’t enough of these books to keep me happy, and I think it would entice more readers to enjoy these types of books and want to learn more. That’s a great thing when a book can light a fire for history.

Not only did the book give a much needed glimpse into the women of the Khan, but it also gave an interesting look into the rise of Ghenghis Khan, told in more gentle fashion through the eyes of these women. I enjoyed not only that, but the plots between male characters and the engaging war history as well.

However, this book is proof that WOMEN are no joke, to put it bluntly! Where did we ever come up with the notion that women are weak in this country or era? Stephanie shows us what great warrior women are made of: compassion, love, strength, endurance, fortitude, and they put the meat behind the phrase, “behind every man is a great woman.” I love Stephanie’s portrayal of these strong women from ancient lands and times. They struggled, sacrificed, and loved, all to save their families. Stephanie offers them a superb lasting legacy.

I really can’t say enough about the luscious candy sentences that Stephanie serves us. They roll around like caramel in our mind, forging alliances with characters we won’t ever forget. I truly think that Stephanie has a very bright future as a novelist, as her writing stands alone on great merit. She may become one of the best historical novelists of our time. For now, I know this is one of the best books I’ve read all year.

The Tiger Queens, Synopsis~

Tiger QueensPublication Date: November 4, 2014
NAL Trade / Penguin
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

In the late twelfth century on the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, following a violent feud between blood brothers, the victor Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself Genghis Khan. But behind one powerful man stand many strong women…

After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, darkness looms over Borte’s life. She becomes an outcast among her clan and after seeking comfort in the arms of an aristocratic traveler, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man she was betrothed to years ago but who abandoned her long before they could marry. And he will only leave her behind again.

Temujin will make Borte his khatun, his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new empire. Their daughter, a fierce girl named Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, seeks revenge against the Mongol barbarians who destroyed her city and murdered her family, but in the end will sacrifice everything to protect the Golden Family. Demure widow to Genghis’ son, Sorkhokhtani positions her sons to inherit the Empire when it begins to fracture from within.

As Genghis Khan sets out to expand his conquests and the steppes run red with blood, Borte and the women of the clan will fight, love, scheme, and sacrifice, all for the good of their family and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls…

Praise for The Tiger Queens~

“A gripping epic of sacrifice, revenge, and conquest…kept me riveted from beginning to end!”

–Michelle Moran, bestselling author of The Second Empress

“From under the felted ger tents of Genghis Kahn emerge four powerful women. It is a testament to Thornton’s writing prowess that she can so intricately whittle heroines that are both compassionate and ruthless from the bones of our ancestors…a stunning achievement!”

— Barbara Wood, New York Times bestselling author of The Serpent and the Staff and Rainbows on the Moon

“A vivid depiction of warrior women tough as the harsh, windswept steppes which nurtured them and who, as the warring Mongol clans battle for supremacy, survive… to ensure their men emerge the victors. Gripping stuff!”

–Alex Rutherford, author of the Empire of the Moghul series

“A sprawling historical saga centering on the wives and daughters of Genghis Khan. These bold, courageous women make tremendous sacrifices in the face of danger, revenge and high-stakes survival, all in the name of family love and loyalty. Be prepared to be swept away by Thornton’s richly drawn epic of an empire and its generational shifts of power.”

–Renee Rosen, author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants

“They were the Golden Family of Genghis Khan. Yet their lives were anything but golden as they struggled to hold together the very center of the largest empire the world has ever known. An empire that was built in one lifetime, and would have been destroyed in the next had it not been for the wives and daughters of the Great Khan. This is historical fiction at its finest.”

— Gary Corby, author of The Marathon Conspiracy

“Three generations of strong women live, love, suffer, and triumph in a fresh and gritty setting—Genghis Khan’s forging of an empire in thirteenth century Mongolia. Marginalized in most histories, these Mongol mothers and daughters, empresses and slaves, claim their voices again in Stephanie Thornton’s The Tiger Queens. Unusual and imaginative!”

–Elizabeth Loupas, author of The Second Duchess and The Red Lily Crown

“Stunning. The Tiger Queens sweeps the reader into the ruthless world of Genghis Khan’s wives and daughters with a gritty realism as intense as the eternal blue sky and blood-soaked steppes. Vivid characterization and top-notch writing. This story of strong women, their enduring friendships and passions give a rare glimpse into a shadowy period of history. A worthy successor to Taylor Caldwell’s The Earth is the Lord’s.”

–Judith E. French, author of The Conqueror, The Barbarian, and The Warrior

Buy the Book~

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Powell’s

Author Stephanie Thornton, Biography~

Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt are available from NAL/Penguin.

The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan will hit the shelves November 4, 2014, followed by The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great in November 2015.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website and blog.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

Follow her Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thetigerqueensblogtour/

Hashtags: #TheTigerQueensBlogTour #HistoricalFiction #GenghisKhan

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @StephMThornton @PenguinUSA

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Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton is a Compelling and Emotional Tale of Ancient Egypt

Daughter of the Gods(1)

Notice: The interview and giveaway for May will be posting sometime soon!! Sorry for inconvenience!

Daughter of the Gods, Review~

If  you put the words book and Ancient Egypt in the same sentence, then you have my undivided attention. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard last year that one of my favorite debut historical novelists and new writing friend, the awesome Stephanie Thornton, was writing a book on Hatshepsut, one of the most successful Pharoahs in Egyptian history!  Always a huge interest of Stephanie’s since childhood, I knew if she wrote Daughter of the Gods as well as she wrote The Secret History about Empress Theodora, then Hatshepsut’s Ka would be remembered and understood by our modern world.  She succeeded in making the female Pharoah a lasting memory now seared to my heart and mind.

Stephanie does her research well, pours her passions and emotions into her written work, and is becoming quite the historian on forgotten women of the ancient world. What Michelle Moran did for Nefertiti and Nefertari by immortalizing them in engaging and absorbing prose, Stephanie does for us with Hatshepsut. What Stephanie Dray did with her Cleopatra Selene series in terms of being swept away by romance and intrigue, Stephanie Thornton does with Hatshepsut’s story, yet with her own original writing.

Stephanie’s novel is not only well-researched, offering a myriad of information from the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt, but highly detailed so that we can feel the heat sear our skin (as well as it being cooled by many ingenious ways), pick the dust from our teeth, savor the morsels of cuisine, and admire and visualize the attire. Stephanie can really set a scene and make us not only spectators, but participants.

Beyond that, her characters are very developed and three-dimensional. We not only have a good understanding of Hatshepsut and feel her many varying degrees of emotions, but Stephanie has a knack also for creating amazing supporting characters such as in Aset, the second wife who becomes her friend, as well as the mothers (hers and of other characters) and the children.  In both her books so far, she really does a good job with the dialogue and emotions between mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, friend who becomes like mom or sister, etc.  She never forgets any family member and seems to always have them in the proper place.

In her plot, she has someone to cause intrigue, a love interest that is unwanted and scorned, as well as a romantic interest, one that fully consumes Hatshepsut’s being and steals her heart. The love felt within this story is so endearing, especially given Hatshepsut’s raging personality. As an apple, this romance has each half fitting to make a whole and it’s so beautiful.

With all of this, we have emotional turmoil, intrigue, twists and turns, and by the end we are left bereft due to the loss  that such upheaval brings. I was shocked by the end that I didn’t see the finale coming. Then I cried. Then, I had to remember to breathe as I was not. Yet, I am alive to type this, though not fully really wanting to be in the present but still with my nose in that book. I was sad when it ended.

Stephanie doesn’t  hold anything back in regards to the battles fought, the lengths that the Egyptians went to on the battlefield or to create fear of revolt. In some historical fantasies, we don’t have as much blunt, visceral knowledge of the blood, torture, dismembering, and the like as in Stephanie’s novel. She takes us down to the main floor (so to speak) of the battle field and offers things that made even this lover of Egyptian history cringe.

I’m glad she did though, as she showed how brutal a world it truly was and how Egypt having a female Pharoah was extraordinary in terms of the playing field.  She showed Hatshepsut’s merciful heart and loving heart, but also then showed her strength among men, which led her to be able to successfully declare herself Pharoah at a time a woman could not sit on the Isis Throne. Hatshepsut set a precedent becoming Pharoah, which of course is probably why her history was destroyed years later and her images and buildings removed. It’s sad to think about, especially after all she gave up for Egypt to prosper.

Stephanie’s novel was a fully developed historical biography of what Hatshepsut’s life and reign might have been like. In the writing the novel, even though you know Stephanie admires the woman she is writing about, she didn’t let it bias her. She wrote based on factual history too and let us see all of Hatshepsut’s strengths and weaknesses in her personality. She shows us her vulnerable side as well as her temperamental side. But what she shows best is her independent nature and  her ambition.  The novel was well-rounded and kept me in emotional suspense as well as plot suspense.  She created just enough intrigue to keep me guessing, which propelled me to keep turning the pages.

Stephanie completely captures the amazing woman that is Hatshepsut, leading me down the path of her life, letting me in to feel her success and her loss, her love and her sacrifices. I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you like history from ancient civilizations. Stephanie keeps climbing the ladder of success and is rising to sit upon the book throne of best-loved historical authors along many great writers of the genre. 5 stars!

Be sure to watch for my interview with Stephanie to come soon!!

If you have further interest, Stephanie wrote a guest article about Hatshepsut during my Women in History series, see that HERE!

Daughter of the Gods, Synopsis~

Daughter of the GodsPublication Date: May 6, 2014
NAL Trade (Penguin)
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Egypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half-brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….

Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

Praise for Daughter of the Gods~

“Daughter of the Gods is a wonderfully intimate and dramatic evocation of Ancient Egypt, where one headstrong young woman dares to become pharaoh. Stephanie Thornton vividly portrays the heat and the danger, the passion and the heartbreak of Hatshepsut’s struggle, as she defies even the gods to ensure success on the throne of Egypt. A touching love story combines with a thrilling tale of death, courage and political intrigue to produce a superbly researched and powerfully written novel. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A remarkable story, remarkably told.” -Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

“Stephanie Thornton’s heroines are bold, brave, and powerful–they make me want to stand up and cheer!” -Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City

“Daughter of the Gods is a full-out, total immersion experience of ancient Egypt. From her moving love affair with a commoner to her fierce and unwavering commitment to Egypt as a female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut crackles with fascinating complexity. Her ka must be grinning with pleasure at this richly textured account of her life, one that is worthy of the great queen herself. “ -Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon

“An epic saga that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid imagery and lovely prose. Stephanie Thornton is a rising star!” -Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile

Buy the Book~

Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon US (Paperback)
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Kobo Books

Author Stephanie Thornton, Biography~

Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve.

She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora is available from NAL/Penguin and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt hit the shelves May 6, 2014.

The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan will publish in Fall 2014.

For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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Tour Schedule with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:

http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/daughterofthegodstour

Tour Hashtags: #DaughteroftheGodsTour #StephanieThornton #Hatshepsut #VirtualBookTour

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