My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Isle of Shadows is book one of the Seven Wonders series by T.L Higley. Set in the heart of Rhodes in 227 B.C. This story takes us to the base of Colossus and into life of a hetaera. *In ancient Greece, hetaerae were courtesans—highly educated, sophisticated companions. (See “Notes” for more information on the hetaera of Ancient Greece)
In this story we meet Tessa, a beautiful and well known hetaera. Tessa was sold to Servia as a hetaera ten years ago and has been in bondage ever since. Tessa desires for freedom but that chance is dashed when her patron Glaucus, meets an untimely demise. That is, until Tessa finds a friend in his daughter, Persephone. The two of them conspire to keep his death a secret until Tessa can escape to Crete.
We follow Tessa through the depths of her despair, her guilt and her shame as she tries to come to grips with her past…and present life. With the help of a man she doesn’t dare to love and an older Jew who cares for her as a daughter, Tessa fights for her freedom. Simeon introduces her to the God of Israel and promises her that God can deliver her and give her peace.
This book is Christian Fiction and is not simply Historical Fiction. Though the author takes us back to Ancient Greece we learn not only of the Greeks but also of the Jews who were scattered across the land at that time. Often living lives of servants or slaves.
On this note I must address the issue of Simeon. I have seen comments that the author took too many liberties with this character in regard to his age. As to not spill the story of Simeon in this review I would encourage those that read this part and puzzled at time discrepancies to please go back and read the author’s notes and “Story behind the Story” I think you’ll find her explanation to be satisfactory. As you read her explanation please keep in mind that the Bible tells of men that lived up to 900 years so I did not feel that this part of the story was too hard to believe.
I really enjoyed this book. Tessa represents a lot of people living in their pain and grief. She’s built up walls to protect herself from hurt and in doing so she has no joy, no peace. Only through her submitting herself to God will Tessa find the peace she craves. Aside from the message of grace and forgiveness in this book, I found myself completely immersed in an ancient landscape. I could almost see the colossus and the docks on the island of Rhodes. The author painted such imagery with her words that I could almost smell the salt air as I read and imagine the waves as they beat against the shore. I definitely suggest this book for readers that are interested in the ancient world and also enjoy Christian fiction.
About the Author:
The author of nine historical fiction novels, including the popular
Seven Wonders series, Higley isn’t just transporting readers: She’s
transporting herself, too.
“My Iifelong interest in history and mythology has taken me to Italy,
Greece, Egypt, Rome, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, where I’ve gotten to
study those ancient cultures in rich detail,” says Higley.
“It’s my desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past,
and I figure what better way to do that than to visit the cultures
For more information or to read “Tracy’s Travel’s” blog, please visit www.tlhigley.com.
“Hetaera.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 25 October 2012, from
I received this book free from the author through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own