from the dust jacket of the 1964 Doubleday first edition
Red-haired, green-eyed, and strong-willed Queen Berenice, great-granddaughter of the evil King Herod the Great, was envied and worshipped, loved and hated. Commanding awe and respect in an era when Jewish royalty ruled only by consent of the Roman Emperor, Berenice attempted to preserve the remaining Jewish sovereignty from greedy and unscrupulous Roman procurators. But as the feuding factions of Israel engaged in bloody civil war within the holy city of Jerusalem, the Jews became a part of their own destruction.
Once a cold, unloving woman, this magnificent queen became a disciple of the House of Hillel -- a school of peace -- only to see her beloved husband, physician and grandson of Rabbi Hillel, become involved and destroyed in the fratricide of civil war.
Having been taught love by Shimeon, Berenice accepts the offering of love from Titus, son of the Emperor, and they plan an impossible but beautiful union between the royal lines of Rome and Israel.
In this major novel of the ancient world, Howard Fast paints both the splendor and the ugliness of the people and the cultures of Rome and Jerusalem as he traces the story of the beautiful Berenice. A moving and provoking love story this is perhaps the most mature and the best of Fast's novels.