Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
256 Pages
Reviewed on 03/24/2014
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Author Biography

Don Maker is a credentialed teacher and a published freelance writer of short stories and poetry. He is a board member of the California Writers Club, Mt. Diablo Branch. Don received his A.A. in Speech Arts from San Diego Mesa College, his B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from the University of California, San Diego, and his M.A. in Education from Chapman University.

During his twenty-one years as a marketing and communications executive, Don wrote a science fiction novel, "Future Tense". After an early retirement to become a teacher, he wrote a novel based around the public education system, "The Grindstone". Most recently he has written an historical fiction novel, "Zenobia", and a YA fantasy/science novel, "Miranda’s Magic". He continues to teach and to write novels on a variety of subjects, including a sports comedy ("The Jersey Jupiters"), and a surrealistic play based on the life of Sigmund Freud, "Sigi and Carl". In addition, primarily for Yahoo Voices, he writes many articles on travel, economics and philosophy, as well as education.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

Zenobia by Don Maker is a meticulously researched historical thriller. If you like historical tales that contain an element of romance and an inside look at the internecine strife that was an intricate part of all feudal societies, then this is the book for you. Zenobia starts with a scene between the young Zenobia and her dying mother. We can see where the future queen gets her drive, ambition, and political savvy. Zenobia is from a noble family, supposedly a descendant of Cleopatra. Her mother instructs her to make sure she is noticed by Lord Odaenathus, the recently widowed ruler of Palmyra. Palmyra is the center of Rome’s Eastern Empire and Odaenathus is Rome’s vassal and Governor. Zenobia succeeds in getting Odaenathus' attention in spectacular fashion by saving his life in battle. Thus begins her journey into the pages of history as a legendary warrior queen.

I love well-told stories about intricate details of Roman politics and this one is great in that aspect. One gets the feeling that Rome fell not so much because of the efforts of barbarians as the strife between the patrician families and generals of Rome itself. We see that in Zenobia. Don Maker paints a vivid picture of the treachery, jealousy, assassination, and betrayal that preceded the fall of Rome. The characters are fully developed with both their strengths and flaws on display. Zenobia herself is a strong, passionate, and brilliant woman living in a time and place when such women were rare, a heroine excelling in a man’s world.