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Publisher's Summary

Amazon best seller 

Historical figures and events meet fiction in Joni Okun's compelling debut novel. To Hold the Throne breathes life into the extraordinary story of King Herod the Great and Mariamne, the last Maccabee Princess, told in alternating points of view. 

Fueled by shifting political tides in Rome, the Triumvir Marc Antony disrupts the longstanding Maccabee Dynasty of Judea when he crowns Mariamne's new husband, Herod the Great, as King, setting off a firestorm of power-grabbing, betrayal, and tragedy in the quest for the ultimate prize: the throne. 

Mariamne never surrenders her belief that her brother Aris, scion of the royal line descending from King David, is the rightful King of Judea. She wrestles with her conscience and with family expectations about how far she is willing to go to oust her husband the king, who loves her with great passion even as he grows increasingly paranoid about her fidelity and suspicious of her disloyalty. 

When a Maccabee family member is found murdered, Mariamne is thrown into a whirlwind of accusations and terror. 

©2019 Palace Publishing LLC (P)2020 Joan Okun

What listeners say about To Hold the Throne

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Interesting Historical Take

To Hold the Throne is the story of King Herod and the Maccabee Princess Mariamme. Okun's novel covers a time in history not often covered and is very clearly well researched. However, the fact that it was so well researched made me feel as if the novel was bogged down in detail and I found myself zoning out and drowning in the details. I received this audiobook in exchange in exchange for my honest review.

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Fantastic Historical Novel & Excellent Narration

Joni Okun's debut novel, To Hold the Throne, is a wonderful work of historical fiction, and the voice actors who narrate this tale are engaging and fun to listen to. It is great entertainment, as well as an easy way to learn some fascinating ancient history. The listener is transported to an exciting and turbulent time in Judea. The Maccabee (Hasmonean) dynasty has been torn apart, both from an internal struggle for power and from the foreign influence of Rome. A new king has been crowned, Herod the Great, counselor to former King Hyrcanus and married to the old ruler's granddaughter, Mariamne, the last Maccabee princess. The listener comes to know Mariamne and Herod, their complicated relationship, and their inner thoughts and fears. Other characters include luminaries of the time, among them Marc Antony, Augustus Caesar, and Cleopatra. There is something for everyone in this story, which has elements of suspense, intrigue, romance, treachery, murder and warfare. The characters are well developed, and the listener comes to care about them, even while questioning their motives and their sanity. This is a work of fiction, however it is clear that a lot of research went into bringing this ancient world back to life. Those who are familiar with Herod as a master builder and as the architect of the Slaughter of the Innocents may be unaware of the events which unfolded decades before, when his scheming first brought him to power. And Mariamne, the tortured link between the Maccabee and Herodian dynasties, is a worthy foil to her ambitious husband. If you enjoy historical fiction, or actually any form of fiction, you really should not miss this audiobook.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 07-26-20

"Blood determines destiny."

Whilst the core of the story, To Hold the Throne, is factual and a fascinating peep into a place and time not frequently looked at by most authors, it is hard to see through the hysterical outpouring and contradictions of the romance to engage with either of the main characters. Constant repitition of internal accusations and circumstances, too, made this reader wonder if Mariamne, the wife of Herod, did indeed want to live, or had the best interests of herself and her family at heart but was, instead, entirely pampered and selfish - and mad. Similarly, with all of his avowed passion for his wife, he was singularly patient: it is hard to believe that a man of Herod's disposition would never have forced himself on her in the marital bed: it would not have been considered rape then, merely his taking something she'd agreed in the marriage arrangement. No wonder, if he did truly love her, that he, too, became ... Well, read the book. Told, in the first person from the alternating perspective of Herod the Great and his wife, Mariamne, the last of the Maccabee princesses, narrators Kelly and Arthur Rowan also alternate the readings. Both have attractive and clear English accented voices, and the tale is told with good intonation, and with an excitement infused into their presentation which, fortunately, does not descend into over dramatization. There is little conversation to express, but what there is has both narrators clearly defining the characters, although Kelly has greater difficulty making her voices appropriate. Perhaps a little slow, their performances were good, overall. My thanks to the rights holder of To Hold the Throne, who, at my request, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy via Audiobook Boom. It was, at over eleven hours, for me, far too long. Removing several hours of repetitious speculation along the basic lines of 'I love her, she's, beautiful, I want her to love me. I can't live without her,' and, 'I hate him, I need him to keep us safe, I wish he was dead' would have greatly enhanced the book to a fascinating tale of it's terrifying time. But then, I am not one who enjoys most romances. Many do, and to them I would commend this simply written, rather naive story. .

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  • sm
  • 07-21-20

Good Story, well researched

This is the story of Mariamne, the last Maccabee princess, and her forced marriage to King Herod. It is not a story that I have read previously, but it tells the story of a woman whom many people will not have heard of, although she earned a place in history, It was well researched and written, also narrated well. I received this audiobook in exchange in exchange for my honest review.