Review: The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee

September 8, 2014

Title: The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen
Author: Tosca Lee
Publisher: Howard
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-1-4516-8404-9
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014

There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you were meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating.

Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba.

In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father’s throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world—or of Sheba’s queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite—and ruin—them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history. 

Going into this book, I didn't know a lot about the Queen of Sheba. All I knew about came from that passage in the Bible where she traveled a great distance to seek out King Solomon and question him on his wisdom. After her visit, she leaves and that is the last of it. I wondered what kind of story could be presented on this mysterious queen. As I started reading, so many things started to pop up that caught my attention (in a good way), and I wanted to know what being written was real or fiction. So, like the nerd I am, I hopped on the computer and started researching the Queen of Sheba a little bit and what I discovered is that Tosca Lee did a beautiful job of weaving each tale of Sheba together into this novel.

Not only does the Bible have it's account of Sheba, but so does the Quran, and a historic account from Ethiopia. These stories are similar in the account where the Queen visits Solomon, but they vary in other ways in how the trip ended.

In The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen, each of these stories are woven together flawlessly into one tale. And there is so much not known, and it is here where Tosca Lee's story telling shines as she brings this queen to life. Bilqis/Makeda is a women who doesn't conform to that of her time. She is the daughter of the king, born out of love, a princess. However, when her mother dies, her father, the king finds a new wife and Bilqis is pushed aside as a sad reminder of her lost mother. She does her best to stay out of trouble, but issues happen when her stepmother has ideas for her.

Bilqis suffers greatly. She could have been beaten down and gave up, but she pushed forward. People find her and help her through, but all is not as they seem when the people who found her are wanting her to take back the throne as rightful heir, instead of letting her stepmother and stepbrother rule as a foreigner.

After so much change and loss, Bilqis closes her heart and sets to rule. She is a tough and thoughtful queen who believes in being fair. She is also proud of her country and land for all that it produces. She is infuriated when she is asked to present tribute to a new king in the northern land. As time passes, she hears more of this king and is intrigued.

It's from this curiosity that a connection is formed between Bilqis and King Solomon. It is through the communication of letters we are introduced to Solomon and his character. In The Legend of Sheba, Solomon didn't come across as a the wise king, but more of infatuated school boy. When Bilqis and Solomon finally meet, Bilqis has an arrogance about her that shifts how I've viewed her to this point and the interactions between the two are that of a game to see who can rile who first. Their actions cause outrage in the city, which, I don't blame the city for feeling.

This portrayal was so different then what I ever thought the meeting was like and because of that kept me guessing to what was going to be said, or happen next. And the story was paced in such a way it kept you hooked. There is action, battles, mind games. This story was a mixture of so many things. It was a fun book to read. And I love how a story makes me go research more! It was a perfect mix to make a gripping story.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot; Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve; and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker. To learn more about Tosca, visit - See more at:
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot; Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve; and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker.

To learn more about Tosca, visit

Thank you to Howard Books, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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