An American by birth, Rosalind Burgundy writes Historical Fiction in the twenty-first century of an ancient culture that existed 2600 years ago. Her enchantment with the amazing Etruscan culture began when she worked as Technical Illustrator and Curator for an archeologist in the Roman Forum. After forty years as educator, wife, grandmother, and world traveler, Burgundy returned to her life-long interest to create Odyssey of an Etruscan Noblewoman and two other Etruscan novels: Song of the Flutist and Tuscan Intrigue. She divides her time between California and Florida.
“...a survival tale of lost heritage, homelessness and empowerment...”
– Kirkus Reviews
An Etruscan noblewoman undergoes numerous trials and tribulations in another work of historical fiction from author Burgundy (Tuscan Intrigue, 2005, etc.).
The action begins in a tomb in Etruria, a region of central Italy. Dressed as a man (women cannot be scribes), Larthia enters the tomb of her ancestor princess-priestess Larthia on orders from prince-priest Zilath, a magistrate for whom she secretly scribes. Zilath desecrates the tomb, but the honorable Larthia is blamed. Kidnapped and separated from her homeland and her family, she is exiled for years, journeying through other regions, including Phoenicia and Egypt. Many are drawn to Larthia; some scarcely hide their jealousy as various VIPs recognize her talent as a scribe. Enduring misery and defeat, she nevertheless expresses gratitude and patience, remaining self-aware and wary, inherently alone, eventually distrusting even the gods who seemingly abandoned her. Repeatedly, she pays for her abilities: “I knew too much, more than my place.” Pacing is brisk in this insightful narrative weighty with historical detail. In her misadventures, Larthia is raped, forced to become a courtesan and nearly murdered before ascending to service as a priestess. It’s an impressive arc that works on multiple levels, as Larth/Larthia/Etrusca (her various names) traverses land and sea, seemingly at everyone’s mercy, increasingly doubting her faith. She is used and misused, and her lengthy separation from her homeland drains her of vitality. Yet she is a feminist in the making—a woman of integrity, intelligence and presence who wishes to keep the secrets of her native land even as she is coerced into divulging them. It’s a clever conceit that allows for comparison of Etruscan ways with those of other cultures, including Rome and Egypt. A map of her cosmos is included.
A historically based survival tale of lost heritage, homelessness and empowerment that ably incorporates regional traditions, customs and commerce.
Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2005
Page count: 348pp
Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015
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