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In Alice Hoffman's latest, much anticipated novel, four women have come to a historic place of no return. The time is 70 C.E.; the final retreat is Masada, a mountain fortress deep in the Judean desert. With a powerful Roman army encircling them, these fiercely independent women have sought refuge with 900 other Jews to make a tragic last stand against the siege of the conquerors. At first, these women, brought together to tend the dovecote, nurse their differences; gradually they learn to share their pain, their strength, and their dreams. Yael is an assassin's daughter, now pregnant with the child of a married man. Revka, a baker's wife, witnessed the horrific slaughter of her daughter by Roman troops. Beautiful, brave Aziza is a female warrior who was raised as a boy. Her mother, Alexandria-born Shirah, is a magician and perhaps a witch. As events grow ever more ominous, these dovekeepers form bonds under pressure. Five years in the works, Hoffman's The Dovekeepers is an ambitious fiction masterwork woven into real history.