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Queen Dido (Didone Regina)

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Original Language: Italian | 208 pp. | May 2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch rights.

HISTORICAL FICTION

“Gaia Servadio, multitalented writer, raises the rate of beauty and elegance in culture, and not just the Italian one. Citizen of the world, based in London, she always crisscrosses boundaries, starting with those of writing”. — La Repubblica

A sailing sheep carrying three sisters flees from riots in Tyre sparked by a conspiracy to stop Dido, the eldest, from becoming queen. An adventurous sea voyage among Cyprus, Egypt and North Africa. This is the start of the myth of Dido, queen in her own right, exiled to appease the Assyrians.

Dido is a wilful, impulsive, intelligent woman and, because of this, she is feared, loved and finally protected by her people in the new colony that she settles: Carthage. And there Dido meets the man for whom she will lose her heart for the first time: Iarbas, a very handsome youth and cruel desert prince. For him she will give up what is most precious to her: her son Hannibal. For Prince Iarbas Queen Dido will cross the Sahara and distance herself from her city, ending up humiliated and betrayed. Once returned to Carthage, where her crown is now in doubt, she faces assassination in the temple where she’s high priestess.

Imagining Queen Dido’s life and times, Gaia Servadio vividly evokes Phoenician practices such as sacred prostitution, ritual sacrifice of the first-born and crucifixion, the cruellest punishment meted out to traitors. Masculine power frees itself from a troublesome woman, too strong for her times. History finds its first heroine.