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Queen of Palmyra
Volume 1 : The Dance of Gods

The saga of the Syrian Cleopatra, a woman who led a kingdom, stood up to the great Roman Empire, and became a legend in her lifetime.

After the international succes of the INCA (500 000 copies sold in France, translated into 25 languages), un a new novel by A.B. Daniel.

Born in a tent amid a nomadic clan of the 3rd century BC, nothing predestined Zenobia to become the great queen of the Middle East… Nothing except perhaps a shooting star that lit up that night’s sky.
This sign comes to represent Zenobia’s impetuousness and contributes to the growing legend around her. As a teenager, she resists the marriage arranged by her father and flees to the great city of Palmyra – the capital of an empire that reaches from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, where she will marry Palmyra’s king.
When her husband is murdered, Zenobia surprises all and takes the helm as queen, and her rule will be exceptional. She becomes known for riding into battle with her troops, conquering her enemies first hand. That is, until she comes up against the great Roman Emperor Aurelius, a man who both battles her tenacious spirit and is also charmed by it…
Today, all that remains of Zenobia’s kingdom are the time-worn columns, walls and outlines of the ancient city — beautiful ruins amid the Syrian desert that are visited by tourists and archaeologists. But Petrarch, Boccacio, Montaigne and Flaubert were all inspired by Zenobia’s legend over the centuries, now A.B. Daniel fill her lost kingdom with the life, love, excitement and adventures of “The Queen of Palmyra”.

Richly documented and evocatively imagined, A.B. Daniel frame Zenobia’s story against the backdrop of the rise of Christianity, the deadly politics of the Roman Empire and the equally vicious rivalries of the Syrian tribes – a freshly uncovered treasure for the reader.

Author's interview

In “The Queen of Palmyra” we wanted to re-find the grandeur and historical splendour of our previous saga, “Incas”.

Zenobia immediately captured our imagination: she is as mythical as she is mysterious. Her destiny was exceptional because she wanted, quite simply, to become the first female emperor of Rome.
She lived during an exciting era. The Roman Empire stretched from England to the Euphrates, but it was crumbling… The gods that had governed the beliefs and daily lives of its subjects for more than seven centuries were slowly being overtaken by the God of the Christians, who heralded a new era – one which has continued right up to the modern day.
It has always been important to us to respect the historical facts of the great periods and characters that we write about. However Zenobia’s personality remains shrouded in mystery – not even an image of her has survived.
We know for certain that she was a Queen, wife to the King of Palmyra, and a formidable warrior. And that she challenged the Emperor Aurelian and was conquered by him. She was also, no doubt, very intelligent and iron-willed – she had to have been, to make Rome quake as she did!
Thus she has become legendary, and those who tell her story cannot help but compare her to Cleopatra, usually to conclude that she was even more beautiful. The texts that have created this “legend” speak much of her charm, but also emphasize her coldness and chastity. Luckily for the reader we haven’t followed suite – there were so many more interesting and beautiful stories to imagine… unrequited love, a traumatic youth, and a dreadful desire for revenge that led to Zenobia’s fearless ambition and drove her to build a mythical empire.

Jean-Daniel Baltassat.


“The reader will be left breathless as he falls into this epic novel.” – Le Parisien

“The Queen of Palmyra has all the ingredients to enjoy the same success as Incas” – Figaro Magazine

“A journey into a legendary Syria… The Queen of Palmyra draws its readers into the torments of an ancient world in decline, beleaguered by attacking Barbarians and torn apart by infighting and religious rivalries… Three hundred pages to be devoured, with no need to wait for the second volume.” – Métro


Foreign versions

 Sold in 6 languages

Bulgaria : Uniscorp
Denmark : Moentgaarden / Bonniers
Italy : Cairo Editore
Poland : Albatros
Romania : Rao Books
Serbia : IP Sezam

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