Preceded by a list of principal characters of nearly Tolstoyan proportions, Fast's latest historical novel deals with a sizable land mass of ancient history-- Palestine, first century A.D., as it passes from Jewish rule through Roman occupation to the total destruction of Jerusalem. There is, at least, a heroine to unify the frayed political threads: Berenice Basagrippa, Princess of Galilee, great-granddaughter of Herod the Great, who gradually moves from haughty cruelty to an almost astonishing saintliness. After two political marriages, her third husband Shimeon of the holy House of Hillel is finally credited with the change in her arrogant temperament. Later Berenice is forced by her recent beliefs to turn away from her husband as he prepares to go to war to defend Jerusalem. While Judea falls, Berenice remains sequestered in Tiberias. Six years later she is courted by the Roman conqueror Titus Flavius although the projected union of Jew and Roman never comes about... A historical novel in the most familiar sense with considerable research as a substratum for a story of love, politics, war, and faith.