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Novel, ancient Middle-East, young woman and her village attacked... And she's a grandma in the next chapter?

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Dec 10, 2017, 8:50am Top

I started reading this novel a few years ago (less than 5 y) but never finished it. Note: bear with me, English isn't my mother tongue!

First, the plot seems to take place in the Middle-East, during an unknown era (but not contemporary, that's for sure--maybe Antiquity or early Middle-Ages?)

The book begins with a sort of prologue where the heroine, a young woman (about 16 yo), wakes up in the middle of the night because her town/village is under attack. I think she sees flames/smoke, and/or hears screams. She attempts to run away through an underground gallery, accompanied by her family. Unfortunately, their enemies catch up with them: her mother is killed, so is her sibling (a baby).
She joins the other survivors but notices her fiancé isn't among them. It seems to me that she asks the others to wait for him, then finally resigns. The group set off to another city.

At this point, the book takes an interesting turn. We're taken a few decades later: our heroine is now a grandmother. Her daughter(-in-law?) and her grand-daughter apparently live with her. That day, a despicable man is at her house as a suitor for her grand-daughter. I think that, for political/economic reasons, the grandmother asks her grand-daughter to make a good impression in front of this man, but not everything goes according to plan (the young girl spills the tea?).
The grandmother has the habit of saying a kind of exclamation resembling "Haya"/"Hala"/"Aya" or something like that (at least it looked like this in the French version, i. e. the one that I read).

So... it's everything I can remember--I repeat, I only read the beginning, 20-40 pages max. Even then, I'm sure some details I gave are false memories! I hope you can still help me!

Edited: Jan 2, 11:58pm Top


Dec 30, 2017, 6:39pm Top

Hmm, not a familiar plot to me. Would you have read this in English, or another language?

Edited: Jan 2, 11:58pm Top

I read it in French, but I'm pretty sure it was a translation from an American book.

Jul 23, 10:57pm Top


Aug 22, 9:22am Top

Found it: The Serpent and the Staff by Barbara Wood

Aug 22, 9:45am Top

So glad you found it! Thanks for letting us know!

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