Book Review: The Legend of Sheba

24 Apr

There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you were meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating.

Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba.

In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father’s throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world — or of Sheba’s queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite — and ruin — them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history.

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of ten novels including The Line Between, The Progeny, Firstborn, The Legend of Sheba, Iscariot, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages and been optioned for TV and film. A notorious night-owl, she loves movies, playing football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.

You can find Tosca at, on social media, or hanging around the snack table.


My Impressions:

I chose The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee as a complimentary novel for my Faith And Fiction Bible Study/Book Club. My group spends 3 weeks studying scripture and then on the 4th week we have book club. Sometimes I read the novel before starting the study; other times I do not. I am glad I waited until after studying the scripture before diving into this book. Lee does an admirable job bringing the legendary Queen of Sheba to life. However, she mixes myth and legend with the scriptural text to come up with this what if? I found Lee’s Sheba fascinating — a woman who does not fit into her time and place, yet comes to power and influence through sheer force of will. Known as Bilqis in Saba (modern Yemen), Makeda in Punt (modern Somalia/Ethiopia) and Sheba in Israel, she matches wit, wisdom, and will with King Solomon. I had a few takeaways from my reading experience:

  1. Sheba gives a unique perspective to Solomon. Lee depicts him as a man who has been given much, but is still very restless in his drive for more — perhaps she drew inspiration from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
  2. Israel is portrayed as an infant nation. Although Abraham’s covenant with God occurred centuries before, it is true that compared to other nations in the Middle East, Israel was an upstart.
  3. Sheba’s desire is to be fully known — by God and man. Lee articulates that very human need extremely well.

The Legend of Sheba is not an easy or quick read. The first person account from Sheba’s perspective involves a great deal of observation and pondering. There is action of course, but the feelings of the heart and soul are predominant. As always Lee writes in a beautifully descriptive prose that engages all of the reader’s senses. The book is described as cinematic by one reviewer — very apt. And don’t forget that Sheba was a pagan queen and that Solomon, though the wisest man ever to live, did have a LOT of wives and concubines. 😉 Lee does explore the intimate side of relationships (though not in a graphic manner).

So who would I recommend this book to? Readers who want more than a love story, more than an historical account, and more than a quick read are the target audience. You have to be willing to invest some time and thought into Sheba’s story. From early conversations with my group, I anticipate a great discussion. Not everyone liked the book, but are glad they read it.


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


3 Responses to “Book Review: The Legend of Sheba”

  1. Hey,

    Something is very wrong with my accounts…wordpress…twitter…I keep getting these Mail Delivery Subsystem emails to this email, but it has all kinds of junk and it also has a very old, inactive email for me also. I don’t understand. Some of them have things from By the Book, some twitter, some pinterest. I’ve deactivating all those accounts associated with the accounts. It doesn’t make any sense, but can you remove me as a “follower” and let me see if some of these Mail Delivery emails quit? I haven’t received a “real” one from you since 4-24-19. All this started after that. Thanks for your help and understanding. If it resolves, I’ll check back with you and “follow” again.



    • rbclibrary April 27, 2019 at 7:28 pm #

      Sorry you are having issues. I think if unfollow my blog it will work.

    • rbclibrary April 27, 2019 at 7:35 pm #

      The only way I can remove you as a follower is to block you. I don’t know if that’s what you want me to do. Try to unfollow the blog first to see if that works.

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