Maggie Anton takes readers on a journey to fourth-century Babylonia as she continues the story of Rav Hisda’s daughter. Hisdadukh, called Dada, is grieving the loss of her husband and young daughter. She journeys to Pumbedita, a major city on the East-West trade routes, to continue her studies as a charasheta, enchantress, with Em, a master sorceress. Already a skilled writer of amulets and incantation bowls, she will learn to use herbs for healing and study magic and spells. She will also deal with the complex relationship that she has with Rav, her late husband’s teacher. She once believed that he was responsible for her husband’s death, but now she would also like to marry him.
This well-researched historical novel gives readers a taste of life in ancient times, when demons, spells, and magic were part of daily life. Sorcery was an esteemed profession that gave women status and power in the community. Dada must use her powers to conquer an evil sorceress who wanders in the desert, determined to seek vengeance on her family. Readers will be turning pages quickly to see how this epic battle ends. Will Dada succeed and fulfill her destiny as Rav’s wife? The author thoughtfully provides readers with a timeline, a cast of characters (there are many!), and a glossary. Book clubs will have a great deal to discuss. Who knew that the sages of the Talmud also dealt with magic? Some of their incantations are, in fact, now part of the prayers that Jews chant in the synagogue.