Book of Queens: The True Story of the Middle Eastern Horsewomen Who Fought the War on Terror

Hachette Audio. Aug. 2023. 10:40 hrs. ISBN 9781668626061. $27.99. HIST
Former University of Montana provost Mahdavi’s (Passionate Uprisings) latest tells the story of women warriors and revolutionaries and the ancient Caspian horses they rode. Taking inspiration from The Book of Kings, Mahdavi focuses on one character in particular—Gordafarid, the legendary Iranian horsewoman and spiritual foremother of the contemporary women Mahdavi highlights. The author tells of how U.S.-born equestrian Louise Firouz, the author’s Iranian grandmother Maryam, and eventually Mahdavi herself strove to protect the Caspian horse breed, supporting a band of rebel horsewomen living in the mountains of western Afghanistan. She connects the stories of individual women with relevant political events such as the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, the 1979 revolution, and the war on terror. The audio is narrated by an ensemble of six talented and carefully selected voice actors—author Mahdavi, Shila Ommi, Suzanne Toren, Sitara Attaie, Nikki Massoud, and Sean Rohani—each of whom affords the characters distinct, well-matched voices.
VERDICT Narrative nonfiction at its finest. A solid recommendation for horse lovers and listeners interested in women’s rights, women warriors, and the ramifications of territorial infighting on a remarkable breed of horses.
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