The Singer and Her Song (Empire at Twilight Book 2) by N.L. Holmes. This author continues to impress me with each book I pick up. This author knows how to write a unique story that will have readers intrigued and hoping for more. The storyline was definitely one that drew me in from the beginning and I liked getting lost in the pages. Characters are complex and relatable. Uqnitum is as unique as her name and I really liked following her story it was a great way to spend my time in a book world. Storyline was well written and paced nicely, the attention to even the smallest details are something I appreciate about this author. I’m really looking forward to more from this author. I’m usually more for a more here and no type of read but this author definitely knows how to pull me in to her older times type stories. Four stars and highly recommended!
This is the second book in the Empire of the twilight series, a fascinating tale of historic fiction set in Syria in the early 13th century BC. The story is centered around Uqnitum , a singer from the musical lineage, who had to flee from Mittani, which was wiped by the Assyrians, when she looses her husband and her youngest child. She flees along with her pregnant widowed daughter and her guilt makes her an abusive dangerous mother. She has to fight and get back her strength from sinking into the darkness.
This is my third book from this author and I enjoy reading her books. To start with, I loved the title of the book, it is quite lyrical. Rich, vibrant in history and vivid descriptions, this book is both informative and entertaining at the same time. The book delves deep into a range of human emotions, from anger, pity, betrayal, fear all the way to self-realization and discovery. This was a very compelling read and I hope to read more from N.L.Holmes.
This is the story of Uqnitum, she is the daughter of a musician and has a family with her husband who plays the lyre, she lives with her son and pregnant daughter in Kahat, a city in the Mitannian Empire and they are under siege from the Assyrians and have been for months, they are running out of food and water and the relentless pounding of the battering ram against the city gates has become the norm, they toil away in the daytime moving rocks to the gate, everyone plays their part, the women and children moving the rocks and the men breaking the buildings down and piling the rocks behind the gate. At night, she thinks about the past, how she met her husband, defied her father and ran away to start a family, also the differences in their personalities and how they can sometimes work against the other and resentment creeps in, but she knows she has to be string in the circumstances for them all regardless of whether they can be strong in return.
The daily routine has been the same until one night when the gate is breached and all hell breaks loose in the small city, it turns out that the Assyrians have been undermining the city walls and now they are collapsing along with their houses, as Uqnitum wakes in the middle of the night, she realises what is happening and herds her family out of the house in an attempt to escape the soldiers, they however become surrounded by the soldiers as well as the fires their arrows have ignited in their neighbours homes and after declaring that they are musicians and singers, hoping for leniency, they are moved and grouped with the other residents of the city, where they are all bound together and led through the city gates, all the while stepping on the bodies of their neighbours and outside to the army camp where they are separated from her husband.
A water flask is passed round, she manages to get her son to drink despite his fear, they then begin to march in a long line as the day heats up, they are exhausted, thirsty and hungry, but they have to keep moving onwards, the soldiers seeing that they do by hitting them with their swords flat edge if they fall behind and those who do fall are left where they fall for the vultures. Eventually they come to a river and are forced to cross, Uqnitum and her daughter carry her son across, he can’t swim and has a fear of water, fortunately, he keeps his eyes shut and they make it across, but as he becomes more tired, she is worried that he may start to cry and scream, he prays that he won’t. Later on they all stop marching and the men are brought back, only for them to be blinded by the soldiers using hot pokers,Uqnitum’s husband is spared when she repeats that he is a musician, but nobody else is as lucky, after this horrendous event, they are allowed to rest, the water flask is passed round again, as is some dry bread, her sons still struggles understanding what is going on and this all comes to a head when the worst happens and he attacks one of the soldiers for taking the water away, all too quickly it is over, her son is dead and Uqnitum flies into a rage over it and because of this her husband is blinded, as the march continues, he loses hope and as the pain and despair overtake him, he goes mad and shouts at a soldier with all the insults and curses he can think of, the soldiers retaliate, he is beaten to death and left at the side of the road as well.
This is just the beginning of their journey when an escape is made and another long journey begins when the rains arrive and a deluge starts, they manage to avoid soldiers, hunters and dogs by crossing rivers, bridges and rolling hills, but they are weak from lack of food, water, shelter and are thankful, but wary when they find the Hittite army and are taken in and taken to the court of Ugarit, however safety is not yet theirs as Uqnitum feels the guilt in her part in the deaths of her family and is struggling to come to terms with it, but will her mind shatter from the grief, or will it make her a stronger person who is able to deal with whatever the future holds? This is a story of tragedy, determination, grief and love, it will leave you heartbroken and yet hopeful at the same time and you will want to read until the end to see what happens to the family on this hard road they take.
Reviewed by @roxsannel
The Singer and Her Song (Empire at Twilight Book 2) by N.L. Holmes. I love these books so much. The author writes so vividly that I feel as if I’ve been to these places. Its is book 2 but it can be read as a standalone easily but I recommend reading both. This book is set in 14th Century BC and the book tells the story of refugees from the ancient land of Mittani in Mesopotamian. This little known nation has been wiped out by the Assyrians and the refugees of this fine land are all musicians. They are known to have amazing musical skills. Uqnitu is a singer that is not liked at all because of her temper and controlling ways. These things also help her in her field. Of course dysfunctional families are nothing new and Uqnitu comes from a very dysfunctional one. This book shows us horrible conditions these families are living under and building new lives from the ground up. I loved this book and I didn’t want it to end.
There is little praise I could give N.L. Holmes that she hasn’t received already. The Singer and Her Song is the third book I’ve read by this author and it reads well as a stand alone novel. It follows the story of a musician, Uqnitum, in the midst of war. Her kingdom of Mitanni falls to the Assyrians and she must flee for her life with what’s left of her family. Ancient history is such a delight to learn about, but N.L. Holmes’ rich world-building and strong characters gives special life to people and events from thousands of years ago.
The Singer and Her Song is an immersive historical novel by N.L. Holmes. It is the second book in the Empire at Twilight series and can be read on its own.
I adore Holmes’ vivid descriptions of historical settings. She combines in depth historical research with a rich imagination and attention to detail to bring to life worlds that are millennia old. The characters feel so alive and their experiences and emotions are so moving and engaging.
The Singer and Her Song is a dark, heart-breaking story. Uqnitum, the singer, is not a likeable character. She has a temper and a need to be in control that drives people away from her and makes her difficult to work with. But it is also the strength and conviction that she needs to survive in a world that seems determined to take everything from her. The narrative alternates between different perspectives and whilst from other perspectives we see the damage Uqnitum wrecks on those around her, from her own perspective we see her processing immense grief and loss and fighting to protect what she has left.
For me, the real strength of this novel is how it addresses issues and struggles that are just as real today, with the writing style bringing them to life and drawing the reader in. We see refugees living through terrible experiences and then struggling to build a new life in a strange place. We see tensions in families who love each other but can’t spend time together without getting into fights. We see people in power thinking they can get away with hurting others. It all feels very relevant
This story contains graphic descriptions of violence and death, as well as scenes of sexual abuse. As such, it’s not suitable for younger readers but would make a great read for adults who loved historical fiction in their youth.
For me, this is a five-star book. It totally drew me in and transported me to an unfamiliar place and time. It’s not a cheerful read, but there is hope and strength in the characters and their stories. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and stories about messy family life.
The Singer and Her Song (Empire at Twilight Book 2) by N.L. Holmes is a historical fiction story. This time we are transported to Mesopotamian land of Mittani. As usual NL is passionate and well researched in the genre that each story is written and shows in the storyline. She also has the ability to paint a vivid picture. The narrative is original and engaging and NL does a great job of bringing it all together. This is not just a story it is also a lesson on life in Syria in 1235 BCE.
Reviewed by @jennadb
The Singer and Her Song (Empire at Twilight #2) by N.L. Holmes
Another great read by Holmes. I’ve read many of her other books and to say this one tops my favorite list is an understatement.
Uqnitum comes from a long lineage of musical performance. There is bad things going on outside of the town’s gates and it’s not looking promising. Having lost a son-in-law and now worrying about losing her husband and youngest son. The quote I chose for Uqnitum is: “You’re expecting humanity from those people? Gods protect us all. I’ll collect the dishes. Tatasshe may or may not snap out of her snit…”
Highly recommended for Historical lovers.
I’ve read many new authors this year. Above them all stands N. L. Holmes. She really is my newest favorite. I know when I pick her book up it will be a good read. They don’t always end the way I wish but isn’t that just like life. The Singer and Her Song delivers in the same way that all her books do. A world rich with the tapestry of everyday living, characters so real you feel you know them or at least someone like them. She doesn’t pull any punches with the raw emotion involved with the mundane affairs of everyday living or the inevitable crisis. Who hasn’t had a family or a family member that’s so dysfunctional it’s a poison to everyone around them? Even people that came unaware to the party. Once again this is a story set in an ancient land in an ancient time but with characters that reflect the same flaws that so many of us have in this time and place. The stage may change but the actors remain the same. Congratulations N. L. Holmes another excellent read.
This is the second book in the Empire At Twilight Series. It is a really captivating and great story. The author does such a good job with the characters and also with the historical aspect as well that it feels like you have actually stepped back in time.
Uqnitum and her family are giftesld musicians. They have lived a happy life until their village is invaded and their life’s are destroyed.
After Uqnitum loses her family and one of her children, she and her pregnant daughter are forced to flee to try and find safety. However the guilt of losing her husband and her child is becoming harder for Uqnitum to bear and when she starts to become a danger things need to change.
Can Uqnitum and her daughter reach safety? Can Uqnitum regain herself before she hurts someone or herself? Is she strong enough to get over the loss of her family and the guilt its brought?
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