Email this review


Back, back, back to Mesopotamia 3643 B.C. and the fictional City of the Dove, overtaken by the historical Sumericans (or ""Black Headed People"")--for yet another mystical/historical/feminist case of the destruction of a matriarchal society, with its complex goddess-worship and warrior women. Ianna of the Black Headed People is married, by her evil brother Pulal, to a gentle old man; and when Pulal kills her beloved sister, Ianna escapes in horror to hide in the mountains. There she discovers new powers: flowers and plants seem to speak to her; she overcomes savages by assuming her Wolf mystical clothing. And there she also meets and heals Enkimdu, a wounded man from the City of the Dove over the mountains. They learn one another's language (""Grass sliding thing called snake, yes?""); Ianna hears of the City of the Dove and the goddess with two forms (the good Lanla and the evil Hut); they become lovers. But then Ianna is captured by Pulal, returned to the Black Headed People, becomes a healer--and must excape when she finds herself pregnant by Enkimdu (who unwisely enters Pulal's territory and is killed). Vowing revenge, Ianna escapes yet again, trudging to the City of the Dove. And though the City is in decay, Ianna is drawn to this female-dominant culture: she's declared the heir of the aging Queen when it is discovered that her child was sired by the Queen's son. (And it's a girl!) Meanwhile a wicked high priestess, hungry for human sacrifice, is out to trick Ianna, to take away her child. So, while Ianna does become the Warrior Queen of legend--training her army to fight Pulal's invaders, dreaming of conquest in her Wolf-persona--the war will be lost. . . and, with her lover, Ianna will survive in a ruined city to establish a new dynasty. A stolid treatment of ancient times, but lacking the lyrical, inaginative leap that might have given inventively arranged events some richness or depth.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1983
ISBN: 0595278345
Publisher: Seaview/Putnam