At long last, the third book is in print. You can now buy all three novels—The Throne in the Heart of the Sea, The Stars in Their Courses, and A Meteor Shower—on the Ebisu Publications website at https://ebisupublications.com/books/.
Forty-one years ago I was reading the history of my people, and it seemed clear to me that Jezebel, Queen of Israel, got a bad rap. Down through the centuries, her name had come to mean a sexually immoral woman. But even from the Bible story it’s clear that she was no such thing—her crime, according to the Israelite priests who wrote the Biblical account, was that she was loyal to her husband and to the polytheistic religion she was raised in, rather than the one God of Israel. With all this in mind, I decided to write about Jezebel. Since my story contradicts the popular version, I determined to back it up thoroughly with research. I traveled to Israel and the West Bank, and spent years in libraries, in museums, and on the internet.
In the third book, A Meteor Shower, Tamar steals away from the Israelite capital, Shomron, and crosses the desert to find and ransom her lover Bez in Assyria. While passing through war-ravaged lands she meets a child orphaned by the retreating army and buys her, changing both of their lives forever. Jezebel grieves the loss of father, husband, and son, and then an unexpected relationship brings her new life and joy. The prophet Elijah passes the mantle to his disciple Elisha, who vows to complete the work the master began—but at what cost? Yoram, now king of Israel, fulfills his father’s dream of recapturing a lost territory, but finds that his invincible Captain Jehu is a two-edged sword. Our characters’ lives are braided together as they struggle to survive wars and sieges, drought and epidemic, and one final, fiery summer.
Here’s what other writers have to say about A Meteor Shower:
Martha Shelley’s latest work, “A Meteor Shower” the final book of the trilogy, is a love story. Shelley is in love with her people, their lives, their world, their heart aches and their triumphs. She recreates their world with astounding accuracy and affection. She surpasses both historians and anthropologists in her willingness to immerse herself in that dangerous ancient world of the Biblical Middle East. We taste the herbs and spices, travel the desert terrains and mountain passes. We live in their houses and ride on their donkeys. But most of all we experience life, exuberant, full, scary, unpredictable, and beautiful. This book, once picked up, cannot be put down until the last pages are turned.
–Dr. Barbara Joans, director emeritus, Merritt Museum of Anthropology
I was utterly transported by this novel, the last in a trilogy—I could not put it down as it transported me to ancient times, where I could almost smell the tantalizing food, flowers, sea-breezes, and medicinal herbs. Some of the characters are fictional, others are fictionalized portraits of historical figures such as King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The novel brings the Biblical Middle East back to life in a roar of color and customs. She is not fond of patriarchal barbarism or religions and depicts the ways in which women rebel and survive. Her heresy extends to Islam as well—but the story is set in pre-Islamic times. Shelley’s pages teem with women warriors, women physicians, princesses and Queens. Her characters are both straight and gay, kind and brutal. She is very sensitive to class differences and the prerogatives of royalty but is fair to one and all.
–Phyllis Chesler, feminist psychologist, author of Women and Madness
A Meteor Shower is a richly textured re-imagining of the story of Jezebel, through the eyes of two unusual women who step outside the expected social categories. Their lives — and hers — go through unexpected twists and turns, against a backdrop of ancient medical practice, battles, court intrigues, and love affairs. So what if you can’t put it down? This novel takes you on an absorbing journey through the lives of women in ancient Israel and beyond. It’s as close as anyone has gotten to the real story of Queen Jezebel.
–Max Dashu, founder, Suppressed Histories Archives
The book is really gripping: I loved the sensory details, and the high drama and suspense Martha Shelley does so well. It was three a.m. and I could not stop reading. I love all the stories surrounding the lesbian pair and their friends and the family they make. All the characters are so likeable and real—including the very vivid minor players. A mammoth work—happy I got to read it!
–Judy Grahn, poet and author