I think I liked this book? I know that’s not quite a ringing endorsement. It was really interesting, I just think that sometimes there was too much going on. The story switched between three separate sets of people. The first was an undercover spy named Omar trying to figure out who was behind some antiquity smuggling. The second was a grad student named Jade writing a thesis about the Queen of Sheba. The third story was the actual Queen of Sheba’s tale in 960 BC.
I really enjoyed the actual Queen of Sheba parts. Her name was Nicaula in the book, and she was pretty rad. Her father was killed right at the beginning, and she spent the first parts of the story avenging his death. One of her soldiers helps her out when she’s nearly captured, and she falls in love with him. Because she’s the queen, she can’t actually be with him, so they have a little forbidden love story. She’s just really tough, and doesn’t take crap from anyone, or let them talk down to her because she’s a woman. I would’ve liked an entire book just about her.
Anyway, the other parts of the story involve finding the Queen of Sheba’s tomb. Both other parties are looking for it from different directions. Eventually they all come together (not the queen, she was super dead by then). It’s not that their parts aren’t interesting, it’s just that they’re not quite as interesting as Nicaula’s. There’s a whole murder subplot, and international intrigue. It’s definitely an interesting book, but it could’ve used some more Nicaula.