Written in the Ashes .
When the Roman Empire collapses in the 5th century, the city of Alexandria, Egypt is plagued with unrest. Paganism is declared punishable by death and the populace splinters in religious upheaval.
Hannah, a beautiful Jewish shepherd girl is abducted from her home in the mountains of Sinai and sold as a slave in Alexandria to Alizar, an alchemist and successful vintner. Her rapturous singing voice destines her to become the most celebrated bard in the Great Library.
Meanwhile, the city’s bishop, Cyril, rises in power as his priests roam the streets persecuting the pagans. But while most citizens submit, a small resistance fights for justice.
Hypatia, the library’s charismatic headmistress, summons her allies to protect the world’s knowledge from the escalating violence. Risking his life, his family, and his hard-earned fortune, Alizar leads the conspiracy by secretly copying the library’s treasured manuscripts and smuggling them to safety.
When Hannah becomes the bishop’s target, she is sequestered across the harbor in the Temple of Isis. But an ancient ceremonial rite between a monk and priestess inside the Pharos lighthouse ignites a forbidden passion.
Torn between the men she loves, Hannah must undertake a quest to the lost oracles of Delfi and Amun-Ra to find the one thing powerful enough to protect the pagans: The Emerald Tablet.
Meanwhile, the Christians siege the city, exile the Jews, and fight the dwindling pagan resistance as the Great Library crumbles.
But not everything is lost. . .
“Written in the Ashes is one of those rare novels that sets ‘history’ afire, to bathe readers in the glow of a greater, hotter truth. Fans of the Mists of Avalon will find this romantic/alchemical/feminist/spiritual epic equally captivating.”
-Tom Robbins, New York Times bestselling author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
“Van Zandt’s vivid description of the Great Library instantly transported me to a lush fifth century Alexandria. Her lyrical writing style and breakneck storytelling kept me riveted to the very last page.”
– Robin Maxwell bestselling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Signora da Vinci.
“In her captivating debut novel, Written in the Ashes, K. Hollan Van Zandt brings to life a fascinating and forgotten woman of history: Hypatia of Alexandria, who may have been one of the greatest female minds of all time. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk the streets of long ago Egypt, then look no further. You will be enthralled!”
– Michelle Moran, international bestselling author of Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter
“Written in the Ashes is a story that could have been ripped from today’s headlines. It opens the door into a magical, fascinating and frightening era in our history. With hope, it’s one we will not be doomed to repeat.”
– Josh Conviser, Executive Consultant HBO’s Rome, authorEchelon and Empyre