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Written in the Ashes Kindle Edition

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Length: 458 pages

Constantinopolis
Historical Fiction
An epic historical military adventure, Constantinopolis plots out the future of civilization as shaped by a number of fascinating characters. Learn more

Product Details

  • File Size: 7323 KB
  • Print Length: 458 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: BalboaPress (July 13, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 13, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HI39SU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,616 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

K. Hollan Van Zandt has always loved libraries, oceans, ancient history and migrating birds. Her mentor, novelist Tom Robbins, instilled in her an abiding love and respect for language. She lives in Southern California, and dreams of a home in Greece. This, her first novel, took ten years to complete

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeacherWriter on September 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Let me first make a confession. I joined this book review tour because the description for Written in the Ashes sounded intriguing. What might our world be like today if the Great Library of Alexandria hadn't burned?

Once I received my copy, I put it on my Kindle, but didn't start reading it until about two weeks ago. Now I regret waiting so long to begin this book. From the very first paragraph, no, the first sentence, I was in love with Van Zandt's prose and her mastery of historical fiction. The story begins:

"All trees hold secrets."

How could I put it down after that opening sentence? If only I had started the book sooner, I could have read it once and read it again by now. Yes, this is one of those books to keep on your shelf or ereader to be enjoyed many times over.
Let me make another confession. I haven't finished this book yet. However, it's because I take my time with the best historical books, savoring the sensations and descriptions as I read. I found myself stopping to reread passages and leaning back in my chair, taking a moment to picture things the author had created on the page. It's even been picked up by an Academy Award winning producer to turn it into a mini-series.

Yes, it's that good.

K. Hollan Van Zandt has a magical way with words that sweeps you into ancient Egypt so readily, and with such finesse, that not only can you picture the setting, you can smell the dusty clay earth floating into your nostrils as you walk the trails. Her writing evokes the taste of desert honey melting in the sun and dripping off your fingers as you lift them to your lips. For example, in this very short excerpt, I can feel the breeze and taste the salt in the air as I watch the wind lift the bed curtains.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SM on June 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Library at Alexandria has always facinated me. What if it had not disappeared? What history of the ancient world might we know?

This book is a very interesting novel which looks at one scenario for the destruction of this famed library. As the author notes in the epilogue "It is most important to recognize that this novel in your hands is a synthesis of legend, history and imagination." Since so much of the actual history of this time was lost by the destruction of this famed library, I think the author did a great job of creating a story with what history we do know, and I love how she tells at the end of the book what is based on history, what is based on legend, and what parts she created to fill in the story.

I also enjoyed learning about Hypatia, an amazing historical woman who I knew nothing about prior, and the legend of The Emerald Tablet is also facinating to me.

A great historical novel, and an excellent job for the first work of this author. I would recommend it for fans of historical novels who have any interest in learning about this time period. The kindle edition I purchased was a great deal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RivkaBelle on June 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Review originally published at my blog: [...]
eBook provided by author for review.

Hannah is a Jewish shepherdess, roaming the wilds of Sinai with her father, until her world is shattered by slave traders one night. Sold to a prestigious - and merciful - family in Alexandria, Hannah struggles to regain interest and enthusiasm for life, bearing scars on her body and her heart. As time begins to heal her wounds, Hannah finds her new life to be one of surprises. From private tutoring in the Library of Alexandria, to finding a strangely patched-together new 'family' in her master's house, Hannah slowly settles into her life. But these are uneasy times, and nothing is permanent. Nothing is safe - not even life. Relations between the Bishop in Alexandria, Cyril, and the "traditional" population are tense and volatile. The Library itself is threatened, and anyone deemed in cahoots with "the pagan enemy" is placed on a watch list, or "questioned" as a preemptive measure. This is Hannah's new reality, and she finds herself playing a surprising role in the bloody 'negotiations.'

The story is engrossing. It's rough and brutal - very blunt, a little gory. It's not a light read, and if you're particularly sensitive some scenes could be disturbingly harsh. I loved the characters - Hannah stole my heart from the very beginning, still out on the plains of Sinai, and as I met new characters, I forged new alliances, even as she did. It's a detailed story, rich in ideas and images. The Library at Alexandria has long captured my imagination, as a librarian and as a story-loving history geek, and to read about its struggle for survival, to get a glimpse into how things could have been - it's beautiful, even as it's heart-wrenching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Rieseck VINE VOICE on June 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
While this book initially started out a little bit slow for me, it quickly picked up and I became instantly attached to the characters and the events that transpired. The characters were wonderfully written and I LOVED Hypatia. I had a vision of her in my head from the film Agora staring Rachel Weisz and I think my biggest issue was that I couldn't match the Hypatia in the book with the one in the movie. But as far as looks go, that is my least concern. For someone who we don't really know all that much about I loved getting to know her. She was a very learned woman and it was entirely unfair that people didn't understand the difference between science and witch craft and the world lost her much too soon. In terms of the leading men, I found myself intermittently in love with Gideon and Julian - both very good and brave men.

I enjoyed all of the drama brought about by the quest given to Hannah to find the Emerald Tablet. The exchanges between the characters in these scenes were some of my favorites. The scenes at the height of the novel were so action packed that I couldn't put it down; I felt like somehow I would miss things unfolding while the cover was closed.

I have to give high praise to the author for the atmospheric world of Alexandria and beyond that she brought to the page. For a lighthouse and library that no longer stand - and which I have never seen any images of - I could certainly picture them in my mind. We also travel to two oracles - one at Delphi and one in Egypt, whose name escapes me right now. I had not ever read about oracles before and really didn't know what to expect, however I enjoyed how van Zandt presented them. When they left Delphi I felt sad.
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