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Remarkable New Novel Explores Women Warriors Descended from the Ancient Amazons
In AKMARAL, a nomad woman warrior of the ancient Asian steppes must make peace with making war.
WEST ORANGE, NJ – Author Judith Lindbergh unearths the forgotten past in her latest novel, Akmaral, about a powerful woman who leads her people into battle on the Central Asian steppes in the 5th century BCE. The titular character Akmaral grows from an orphan in an isolated clan to the imposing leader of a great confederacy. But Akmaral is no fragile flower who must learn to toughen up. Like her ancestors, the legendary Amazon women of Greek mythology, she is destined for the battlefield from the day she is born.
Inspired by archaeological discoveries made across Central Asia from Ukraine to Mongolia and Siberia, Akmaral brings to life a time and people lost to history and breathes humanity into the provocative image of the woman warrior. At the same time, Akmaral is a deeply human story about a woman who struggles through tangled obligations of love and loyalty to her people.
“Akmaral grew out of one question,” Lindbergh says. “What would a woman like me fight and die for? The answer was clear: she would fight to protect her family.”
Lindbergh’s critically acclaimed first novel The Thrall’s Tale, about women in Viking Age Greenland, was called “historical fiction at its best” by The Philadelphia Inquirer and praised by Pulitzer Prize winners Geraldine Brooks and Robert Olen Butler.
“My passion is exploring wild, invincible landscapes and the people who lived in them. Whether it’s the Norse in Greenland or the Scythians of Central Asia, these cultures and traditions epitomize the resilience of the human spirit. They have important stories to tell, even though most people have never heard of them,” she says.
Lindbergh spent years diving deep into archaeology and history to uncover this extraordinary story of a matriarchal culture where women rode side by side into battle with men.
“Women really did ride and fight on the ancient Asian steppes. Archaeology proves that they died of battle wounds and were buried with daggers, arrows, and other weaponry. But I wanted to go beyond a study of artifacts and bones. I wanted to understand these women’s lives.”
Akmaral is her answer to those questions.