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The Grip of God: The Tiger and the Dove,…
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The Grip of God: The Tiger and the Dove, Book 1

by Rebecca Hazell

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I received a free copy through Goodreads.
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I really enjoyed this book. It took a little getting use to the different language but it was relatively easy to get into. The story might have started off slow but it certainly set its own pace in building the story. I was fascinated by the Mongolian invasion, but never got around to actually reading up on this. This story left me yearning to find out more about the Mongolians, who are certainly an interesting, albeit somewhat savage bunch. It certainly showed a different side of the Mongols during that time period and made me want to find out more about them and their culture.

Sofia is quite the character. I enjoyed reading the story through her perspective. She is such a feisty and headstrong girl. Hard to believe the story started off with her being so young and unfamiliar with the ways of the world. Sofia and many of the other characters were brought to life, beyond the literature world.

It was an amazing journey. I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy! ( )
  Dream24 | Jan 6, 2016 |
In thirteen century Kievan Rus, which is now made up of parts of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, Princess Sofia is being sent away to Constantinople in fear of the upcoming Mongol attacks on her city. As her party travels away from the only home and family she has ever known, Sofia’s camp is attacked by the very people she was trying to avoid. Sofia is captured as a Mongol slave by the warrior Argamon, who raped her and kept Sofia as his own as believing she is part of a prophecy that will bring him good fortune. Sofia is crushed, but her spirit stays strong. As she navigates her new life in the Mongol camps she comes to terms with her relationship with Argamon, her religion, and the customs of the many different people who now surround her. As Sofia grows and begins to assimilate to life as a Mongol, she opens herself to friendship, love and acceptance of other people.
This was definitely one epic journey through a treacherous time period and setting. I went into the story not really knowing much of anything about the Mongol invasions, so everything described was a learning experience for me. Through Sofia’s point of view, the Mongal people, customs and her part within this very different society was masterfully detailed. I was very interested to learn about their intake and treatment of people that they had captured, their leadership hierarchy, mix of belief systems and even their food and lack of bathing. The beginning of the book when Sofia was leaving Kievan Rus actually felt a little slow to me and was difficult to get into, it was not until she was captured by Argamon that the pace livened for me. Sofia was an intriguing character, she was very young when she was captured, but was fortunate enough to be educated and have a stubborn streak, both which proved useful with the Mongols. Her and Argamon’s relationship was an absolute rollercoaster, and quite unexpected. I would never think that Argamon would be a character that I could relate to or respect, but as Sofia grew up, became more knowledgeable and opened herself to understanding, her attitudes about Argamon changed. Overall, an intense journey with unexpected outcomes. I will be reading the second book of the trilogy to see what happens to Sofia next.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Jul 31, 2015 |
This book takes place in an era and area you don’t often see represented in books; the time of the Rus in the era of the Mongol (13th century/Ukraine, Belarus, Russia). It is narrated by a young princess of the Rus, Sofia and she is a vibrant and very likable character. Her life is all a young woman of privilege could ask. But there is danger on the horizon as her father is facing the advancement of the Mongols into his kingdom.

He sends Sofia away to be safe but she is capture by the men he fears the most and her life is turned upside down. Suddenly she is a slave to the Mongol leader – her innocence taken and finding herself living in a camp where she doesn’t understand the language or the way of life. But instead of letting her circumstances get the best of her Sofia instead sets out to make the best of her situation. She learns all she can about her captor and the others in the camp and she tries to instill a bit of humanity into a very inhumane group of raiders.

This novel is based in history and I found it to be rather fascinating. It took me a bit to become engaged but once I did I found it hard to put down. Ms. Hazell has a way of bringing the 13th century to life and I did feel immersed in that world. The historical detail is well woven into the story and it really brings the Mongol camp alive. Where it falls a little bit short is in the interactions between people – dialog is not the strong suit here but don’t let it deter you from a really wonderful novel. It’s the first in a trilogy and I’m going to enjoy following Sofia on her adventures. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Jun 26, 2015 |
A few years ago I tried to read The Grip of God and was unsuccessful. Not sure why, I think it may have been the era that the book was written in. I had not read a lot of the Mongols, I love historical fiction but mostly 15th-17th century Britain and Ireland. So this was a bit of a stretch for me to read or even want to read about the Mongols. When I was offered the book again for review I figured that I had better give it another chance. I am really glad I did though, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

A young girl, Sofia, a princess from Kievan Rus, now called Russia, is captured and enslaved by Mongols. This story is written from Sofia's point of view and she tells of life as a captive of a young man. She is raped and abused by Armagon repeatedly until slowly their relationship changes and I believe that he truly comes to love Sofia, but the Mongol culture is a savage one, where the Mongols take over Asia and Europe. They live a nomadic life, never in one place for very long, which I imagine was very difficult for Sofia, who had lived a privileged life in Kyiv.

Sofia's goal is to escape however she can but along the way she becomes a part of the lives of these Mongols, becoming close to Armagon's mother, Q'ing-ling and Dorje, a man who teaches Sofia the customs and language of the Mongols. Sofia is a very well educated young girl and eventually becomes a translator for the leader of the Mongol tribe, Batu Khan grandson of the famed Genghis Khan. Life for Sofia is difficult at best, having to learn the ways of this violent and nomadic people, she struggles with her faith, while trying to understand the Mongols religion and beliefs.

I did enjoy this novel, it is well researched and I did learn a lot from this book, I liked Sofia, it is amazing to me how young she is in the story, 12 years old, snatched from a life of privilege to live with these barbaric people but she perseveres and makes good from a bad situation, making friends and even coming to understand and maybe even love her captor, but always with thoughts of escape and finding her family.

There are two more books to the Tiger and the Dove series, Solomon's Bride and Consolamentum, which I look forward to reading. When reading historical fiction, I don't always read or stray very far from British or Irish history, and reading The Grip of God, I became more aware of the other cultures during this time period. This is a story of a strong young princess who comes of age in a violent world, who makes her situation work for her. I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading the rest of Sofia's story.

I received an ebook for review and was not monetarily compensated for the review. ( )
  celticlady53 | Jun 23, 2015 |
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