Welcome to Book Lovers Paradise

Welcome to my attempt at blogging. I am a true to heart bibliophile. Here I will discuss and review books as I read them. You are welcome to do the same. The only rules are no profanity, no politics, no religion, and have fun!

Monday, September 15, 2014


The Trojan War threatens Troy’s allies and the Greek supply raids spread. A young healing priestess, designated as future queen, must defend her city against both divine anger and invading Greeks. She finds strength in visions of a handsome warrior god. Will that be enough when the half-immortal Achilles attacks? Hand of Fire, a tale of resilience and hope, blends history and legend in the untold story of Achilles’s famous captive, Briseis.

Very rarely can I not give enough stars for a book. This is such a book. I love the Iliad, it's become one of my favorite books over the years. Judith Starkston has brought the characters of the Iliad to life, but she's done so with her own spin. Through the eyes of Briseis, the priestess/healer. The woman who was briefly able to calm the rage of Achilles.

This book will leave you breathless. I could not put it down. The descriptions so incredible, you can smell the flowers as you walk through the forests of Mt Ida.

Briseis is a multidimensional character who dominates this story. She is a woman who will capture your heart. She could be your friend, your sister or your daughter. You will just love her. She is a strong woman with courage and compassion.
We watch her grow from a young woman losing her mother to a strong Princess of Lyrnessos. We watch her become a captive of Greek soldiers and a confidante of Achilles. Through it all, she is an incredible character.

I loved this book. I didn't want to sleep or eat, just wanted to keep reading. When I was finished, I started over and read it again. It's that good. Judith Starkston- thank you for bringing some of my favorite characters to life for me.

5+ tea cups

HAND OF FIRE is the newest entry into our BEYOND 5 STARS club!  Yes-- it is THAT good!!!!

about the author:
Judith Starkston writes historical fiction and mysteries set in Troy and the Hittite Empire. Ms. Starkston is a classicist (B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A. Cornell University) who taught high school English, Latin and humanities. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Arizona with their golden retriever Socrates. Hand of Fire is her debut novel.

Find an excerpt, Q&A, book reviews, ancient recipes, historical background as well as on-going information about the historical fiction community on Starkston’s website www.JudithStarkston.com

Link to the tour schedule: Hand of Fire Fireship Press Virtual Tour

Visit on Goodreads Hand of Fire

Advance Praise:
"In Hand of Fire, Starkston's careful research brings ancient Greece and Troy to life with passion and grace. This haunting and insightful novel makes you ache for a mortal woman, Briseis, in love with a half-god, Achilles, as she fights to make her own destiny in a world of capricious gods and warriors. I devoured this page-turning escape from the modern world!" -- Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

“Suspenseful, tragic, surprising and sexy” –Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Chalice

In Hand of Fire, Judith Starkston frees Briseis from the actions of Achilles and Agamemnon and gives her the power to become the heroine of her own story. … Starkston does a lovely job of bringing the characters to life, and her descriptions of the religious rites, the scenery of Mount Ida, and life as a woman of privilege in the ancient world put me firmly in the story. The love story between Briseis and Achilles is well-rendered, as are Briseis’ relationships with her father and brothers, her nurse, and the other women in the city and in the camp. A wonderful new take on a timeless story. –Historical Novels Review

"Briseis steps out from the handful of lines she gets in Homer's epic, and fearlessly tells her own story as healer, war prize, and partner to the famous Achilles--here a godlike hero who manages to be all too human. Recommended!"–Kate Quinn, author of Empress of the Seven Hills

“In her portrayal of Briseis, Judith Starkston has cast a bright light on one of the Iliad's most intriguing sub-plots. With her fast-paced story, three-dimensional characters, and fascinating cultural details, Starkston has given historical fiction fans a tale to remember.” –Priscilla Royal, author of Covenant with Hell and 9 other Prioress Eleanor mysteries

“Starkston breathes new life into an age-old tale in this masterful retelling of the Iliad. The reader experiences the terror, bravery and heartbreak of Briseis who now takes center stage in one of the most famous love triangles of all time.” Elisabeth Storrs, author of The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice

“Absolutely loved the book. Couldn’t put it down. Wonderful writing. And, I see no errors whatsoever as regards the history.” –Professor Eric Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, George Washington University 

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