The Victorian Empire has declared war on the Zulus if they don't accede to their outrageous demands. The clock is ticking down to the appointed hour. With no idea why the British are marching three massive columns of men and guns towards them, one Zulu general is prepared to take an impossible risk. But the life he's gambling with isn't his own . . .
The sole survivor of a shipwreck off the Zululand coast, 15 year-old Elizabeth Jones is taken in by the Zulus, the people of the sky. Six years later, her white skin becomes useful to the Zulu army as they try to work out why the Victorian Empire has pointed their war-machine at the Zulu nation. Elizabeth is suddenly Zululand's most important spy.
While infiltrating the British camp, Elizabeth's disguise as a young soldier is uncovered almost immediately by Captain Jack Burdell. However, he believes the tale she spins of searching for a missing brother and shields her from discovery, allowing her to bunk in his tent and giving her a job as his batman. Burdell is war-weary and disillusioned - no longer willing to follow regulations at all costs.
But as Elizabeth and Jack explore their growing attraction to each other, the two armies move towards their inevitable clash. Elizabeth is torn between the guilt of betrayal and her fierce loyalty to her Zulu family, and when Zulu and British meet on the battlefield, both she and Jack find their hearts and their lives caught in the crossfire.
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About the Author
Her fantasy novels include MISTRESS OF THE WIND and THE GOLDEN APPLE.
Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa, and now lives in Australia with her husband and two children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Daughter of the Sky was my first read by historical fiction author Michelle Diener and I'm very pleased to say that it was a wonderful introduction to her writing style and I'm really glad I signed up for the tour for this book. I've often felt that historical fiction set in Africa is an underused theme so that coupled with the fact that I've long been wanting to give this author a try is was prompted me to want to read Daughter of the Sky, plus my obsession with Africa may have a wee part in that as well. I was a little unsure of how the author would portray the people and the land but I was impressed with how the novel turned out. I was hooked on Elizabeth's story as soon as I started the book and spent an entire night staying up and reading it. The way the author was able to evoke such strong emotions from me for the characters in the book surprised me because it happened so fast. Elizabeth had to deal with so many hardships in her young life after being shipwrecked off the coast of Africa and left in the care of the Zulu people feeling as though she were always alone except for the few who came to accept her as one of them. She was smart, strong and funny and I loved how devoted she was to the people she loved. Jack was an enigma at first. I didn't like him right away but he did come to grow on me as I saw the tenderness in him when he dealt with Elizabeth. However he, just like Elizabeth was being pulled in two directions and their loyalties to each other, their countries and the people they love are tested. Fraught with daring adventures, drama and a taking place in the African bush Daughter of the Sky was a fast paced historical novel that drew me in and made me care about the characters. I could tell that the author did research on the period in question and it showed. I liked that the side characters weren't just used as props helping support the setting but had personalities as well. I sincerely hope that Michelle Diener writes another historical fiction novel set in Africa soon. Overall, I loved Daughter of the Sky and thought that it was a fantastic read. It was a wonderful but to introduce me to a new author and I can't wait to read more by Michelle Diener. I highly recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction that are set in exotic locations. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
This book was like a leap into another age and different culture for me. There are so many things I loved… the Zulus. Wow. I love their pride, their loyalty, their respect for each other. Elizabeth is known as Inyoni, the bird… the daughter of sky, she rises out of lightning and a sinking ship to embrace her Zulu family. The way she becomes the sister of the Lindani who rescues her… he brings the beauty and depth of the Zulu people alive. Jack Burdell is a great contrast. He sees Elizabeth as a woman, even when she’s hiding in the British army as a soldier. He is enthralled with the wild, Zulu side of her and they have so much in common with their family roots. I really love their attraction. There’s so much hesitation, potential for misunderstanding, false starts… and all that sensual tension. Their love-making dips into the adult spectrum with the wild abandoned joy of Elizabeth’s Zulu-learned love of life. Very sadly for me, and yet richer for it, this book balances the heights of love with the depths of war… or rather, the other way around. With adult-flavored nitty-grittiness, the two armies line up against each other, the Zulus against the British in what can only end in tragedy. The details of the 1st’s and 24th’s describing which battalion or column went where got knotted up in my brain. I really tried to pay attention and piece it out, too… figuring who went where, who stayed, who was who… there were a lot of details. I wanted to point out that they detracted from the story. Lol. Until I read the Epilogue and saw how meticulously true to history these details were. Suddenly… I realized that this book isn’t just a great story with characters that stole my heart and an entire way of life that I will remember forever… but it’s a crazy-great history lesson in what happened to the Zulus when the British invaded their land in Africa. Without realizing I was swallowing so much historical accuracy, I gobbled up a book I could hardly put down. Talk about taking yer medicine with a spoonful of sugar!! In short… this book is fast-paced and full of tension. The characters are multi-dimensional and amazing. The POV changes some with diary entries and random letters home interspersed with military notes. The story dives into adult themes that leave me sighing at the end, satisfied just enough, but also weeping inside over injustices. I am glad that I read this book and I’ll remember it. Anyone interested in this historical time period of Britain or Africa and especially the Zulus should read this book, absolutely. Must. I also recommend this book to anyone interested in a historic romance or strategic war… different cultures. This is the sort of book that would be awesome as assigned literature. Lol. It’s accurate enough and yet so rich in storytelling, too. My Rating: 4.65 - If I was handing this book to myself... I would tell myself to not sweat over the strategic details. I would say, "Just enjoy the story... it's amazing." I might also hand myself a box of tissues.
Daughter of the Sky is such a fascinating book. I am not one that is typically interested in stories about wars so I was a little intimated reading Daughter of the Sky. Michelle writes such intelligent books and I was worried I wouldn't be able to follow along with it. But, I love Michelle's writing so I decided to dive in head first as soon as it came out. And you know what? I was quickly engaged in the story and found it hard to put it down. I was completely lost to the outside world while reading this and was transported back to late 1800's Zululand. Michelle writes her stories with such passion for the time period and the people and events in them. While reading I actually researched Zululand a little bit. I love it when a story sticks with me that much! Jack, the hero of the story is a Captain in the British Army. He does his duty but wonders if he believes in what he is doing anymore. He finds he would rather not be fighting and is a little lost in his world right now. He feels it is his responsibility to follow in his father's footsteps to be in the army, though. Elizabeth is an adopted Zulu. She has lived with the Zulu's for the past six years and believes she is more a Zulu than she is English. Her white skin and red hair cause her to stand out among the dark skinned Zulu's which makes her the prefect spy for Zululand. She believes this task is her duty to the people who saved her from the shipwreck and are her family now. She wants to do what she can to protect them, so she agrees to play a young private in the army. Jack and Elizabeth are so fun to watch, especially since he knows she is a female while everyone else thinks she is a boy and because he is attracted to her. I am impressed at all the physical labor Elizabeth does without complaint. Both Jack and Elizabeth have their own personal issues to overcome while a bigger war is going on around them. They are both honorable people which makes you like them from the beginning. Michelle does a wonderful job with the romance between Jack and Elizabeth in this book. It was very appropriate for the characters and the story and thought things ended perfectly. Elizabeth has such a close connection with her Zulu family and it was great to see her interact with her "brother" Lindani, the one that saved her from the shipwreck. You get to see the deep love and respect they have for each other. It is so sweet. If you are looking for a book that is different than a lot of others out there with such a good story, I highly recommend Daughter of the Sky. It has so many great qualities in it that I look for in a book such as romance, espionage, family ties, pride in one's country, history, and love.
First of all, I got this book months and months ago, back in March I think, and once again I'm pretty much hitting myself on the head for not reading it sooner. Someone needs to remind me to not ever let a Michelle Diener book wait this long. With that said, we can get on to talking about the book... When Elizabeth Jones gets rescued from a shipwreck and taken in by the Zulus, she thought to have left her life in England behind her, being content with her life as a Zulu. Six years later, however the Victorian Empire invades Zululand and has declared war. When Elizabeth, now known as Inyoni 'bird', is asked to either infiltrate and spy in the British camp or leave because her white skin could cause too much trouble, she doesn't hesitate to help the Zulus and disguises herself as a soldier. It isn't long before she's discovered by Captain Jack Burdell but he agreed to keep her secret because he believes she's looking for her brother. In doing so, he allows her to sleep in his tent. Elizabeth needing to make a choice is torn between loyalty to her home and fellow Zulus and her feelings for Jack. When Elizabeth and Jack's attraction to each other grows and turns into something more, things get intense and far more dangerous than ever as the British and Zulu army move closer and closer to each other. I've read all of Michelle Diener's books now and everyone who knows me just a little bit knows that she's one of my favorite authors. I've always said that The Emperor's Conspiracy is my favorite book by her but... dare I say, this might be changed now... Yes! Although I still love The Emperor's Conspiracy, I loved Daughter of the Sky even more. You can tell that writing this book meant a lot to Michelle and reading it meant a lot to me because it was such an incredible book. The whole story was amazing and I just fell in love with the Zulu culture. I must admit that I've never been interested in this kind of history. I usually always go for the history of Egypt or Victorian England, The Tudors, that kind of thing but this book let me see how this kind of history is pretty great to read about, too. I didn't know a thing about the Zulus and I was impressed by how proud, loyal and noble they were. Really amazing! The characters Michelle creates are so great to read about. She always manages to write them in a way that's likable, not boring and pretty kick-ass. Elizabeth definitely was one of them. Her devotion for the Zulus, her intregrity towards them and her love for her Zulu family was unbelievably incredible to read about. I don't know, it gripped me by my heart. It really did. Jack Burdell was a whole other character. Very different from Elizabeth and the Zulus but so amazing. I loved him. I love how he was intrigued by Elizabeth's more wild side which came from her being a Zulu though he didn't know that at first. Their attraction to each other was almost instantly and so sizzling. I was also very fond of Elizabeth's Zulu brother, Lindani. I loved how much he wanted to protect Elizabeth and try to rescue her from the British camp when the fighting was starting. What happened there, broke my heart and I had so much trouble not to let go of a few tears. But even with that heartbreak the story was really beautiful. As for the overal story, I obviously loved it and I love how Michelle tries to include real historical facts (as you can read in the afterword). I always enjoy these kind of things. Anything historical I almost want to inhale. Anyway... this was both an entertaining and wonderful to read as a fictional book but it also gives historical facts, some true, some a little spun for the story's sake but it was so, so great! Beautiful, gripping, heart-wrenching at times, Daughter of the Sky by Michelle Diener is one of the best books both by this author and all-time for me, personally. I loved getting to know and explore the Zulu culture and the historical facts. I won't ever forget this amazing story and characters and am startled by how I still can be impressed by an author where I've read quite a few books from but there you go. A lot of love for this book and it has definitely more than earned five stars!