Priestess of Ishana

Priestess of Ishana
Title: Priestess of Ishana
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Published: November 17, 2018
Author's Twitter: @JudithStarkston
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 make offerings to the goddess Ishana, but he conceals his true mission in the city. As a connection sparks between King Hattu and Tesha, the Grand Votary accuses Hattu of murderous sorcery and jails him under penalty of death. Isolated in prison, Hattu’s only hope lies in Tesha to uncover the conspiracy against him. Unfortunately, the Grand Votary is Tesha’s father, a rash, unyielding man, and now her worst enemy. To help Hattu, she must risk destroying her own father. In a whirlpool of magic, politics, family crisis and love, Tesha pursues justice.

Assessed for Awesome Indies Book Awards


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2 Reviews

  1. Assessed for Awesome Indies Book Awards
    February 9, 2019
    Assessor: 43476

    Tesha, elder daughter of the Grand Votary of the city of Ishana, becomes entangled in a plot against King Hattu, younger brother of the Great King. When Hattu is accused of sorcery, the Grand Votary arrests him and sends a messenger to the Great King presenting evidence to support the charge. Tesha doubts his guilt. As priestess at the temple of Ishana, she had received him as a devout worshipper and felt drawn to him. So she sets about proving his innocence. Her adversaries include not only the plotters but her own father, who would be ruined if it’s found that he falsely accused the Great King’s brother.

    The plot is labyrinthine, involving quite a few characters with strange names. Keeping track of them all requires concentration. But the author has created some memorable characters, making it easy to pay attention.

    The setting is ancient Mediterranean. The author performs the creative feat of making the city of Ishana, its culture, and the surrounding world come alive. Starkson even describes the food her characters eat. One recipe begins with drowning songbirds in wine—sadistic and disgusting, but a vivid portrait of the culture.

  2. Assessed for Awesome Indies Book Awards
    May 31, 2019
    Assessor 43608

    Priestess of Ishana by Judith Starkston

    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 pages. Doubts, suspicions, plots, and danger were skilfully managed throughout.
    The best part of the book was the last section, Author Notes. In the Notes, Starkston explained the placement of the book in the actual events of the time and the names of the characters that were mentioned in historical documents. She tells where she takes artistic license and where she sticks to the facts.

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