Cover Image: Akmaral


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Member Reviews

The writing is very good and I really felt immersed in the world. I would have liked more surprises in the characterisation and plot.

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An ancient matriarchal tribe of nomads living on the Ukok Plateau, in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. The story centers on the life of the anointed girl child, Akmaral, whose extraordinary bravery, and fully realized humanity, make her into a heroine.
A highly imagined civilization from 2,400 years ago — it’s shimmers with authenticity with all the great details… Smells of horses, aches of a warrior who it’s also a mother and a lover.
Amaral loves her tribe with its relentless God, the silent captured enemy. She takes into her life, and the child she bears him.
But what if the stranger turns on her because she loves too much?
This is an incredible historical fiction novel.
The author took great effort - skillful diligence research to bring us (readers) this magnificent book.

Dedicated to the author’s mother and all women who must fight for peace. …. and a little story of how this book would not have been written if it were not for the authors son …. (a touching-inspiring awakening that happened when he was only two years old)

In a society where men and women fight together - side by side - spears and arrowheads - Akmaral is our heroine. She was orphaned as a young girl… then grew up to become Mother-of-her-tribe > a leader of her Normadic matriarchal tribe - Central Asian Steppe in the 5th century.
We take an amazing adventurous journey facing love, loss, betrayals, fears, death, and determination.

“These fierce ancient warrior women existed….
……woman warrior making peace with making war”.

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The writing in this book is beautiful. The prose is gorgeous, and there was one part where I dropped a tear onto my Kindle.

I love stories that entwine history with gorgeous writing, and this delivers in abundance

I was entirely wrapped in this story throughout. However, the slight criticism is that the ending felt abrupt, and the last 15 percent felt too much of a flurry of events

I would love to read more from this author

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Historical fiction at its best - an emotional and inspiring story about a strong woman and her influence on a whole tribe.

As the nomads roamed the Asian steppes, in some tribes the women fought side by side as equals with men - at least until they got pregnant.

Akmaral loves her life training for battle from a young age, mastering horse riding as well as archery and fighting with spear and blade.

There is tense rivalry between her and the strongest man, Erzhan, and they can't seem to decide if they want to kill each other, or kiss...

To protect their people, the must fight side by side, but further tension is created when they capture Timor, the leader of one of their attackers. Akmaral is mesmerised by Timor, but Erzhan does not trust him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of a society where women and men fight together, where loyalty is a must for survival and where making peace with war is a must.

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This novel tells the story of the eponymous Akmaral, a "woman who makes peace with making war". Akmaral is orphaned as a little girl, but grows up to be mother to her ever-growing tribe. Her path across the Central Asian steppes is marked by love and loss and painful lessons, until she becomes a powerful leader. However, in her history of personal loss and betrayal, she makes fatal mistakes.
In her historical notes, Lindbergh explains how she wove the story from what scant archaeological and written sources there are, and she makes this distant time and people and their culture come alive. It's amazing to see how matriarchy worked out but was eventually toppled by male ambition and the need for revenge.
I deduct one star because at times I felt the language a tad overdone in trying to evoke the long distant past; this I felt mostly in dialogue, which at times feels unnecessarily stilted. Sometimes, the pacing felt a bit off, but I suppose that was an attempt at recreating the pace of travel and rest versus raids.
The novel is not for the squeamish in its depcitions of ancient warfare.

Thank you to for providing this ARC.

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Thanks to netgalley for providing this advanced copy for the purpose of review.
This was a little different from my usual reads but I found it to be enjoyable. It was so well written and really bought everything to life.

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"Akmaral" by Judith Lindbergh is a captivating and impactful book set in the 5th century BCE, bringing to life the ancient world of the Central Asian Steppe through the journey of Akmaral, a woman who rises from vulnerability to become the leader of her nomadic, matriarchal tribe. Lindbergh weaves a tale of love, adventure, and battles, skillfully portraying Akmaral's transformation from a vulnerable child to a powerful visionary. The prose is rich, evocative, and authentic, drawing comparisons to works by Margaret Atwood and Madeline Miller. The story explores matriarchal power, the complexities of love and hate, and the struggles for survival in a vividly recreated world.

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This is a fantasy story written by a talented writer. I had zero context on this world and I'm now the better for knowing more about it.

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A dazzling landscape of warrior women on horses — the Sauromatae serving the war god Targitai — and ana-women (childbearing women) in yurts. it's about making artwork of deer, it's about the magic of turning into birds, in a land where death is a returning home, even if "you cannot go back." Physical and spiritual. About social bonds, prediction, doubt, and courage.

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Akmaral is one of the most spellbinding, distinctive, and impactful books I’ve ever read. Judith Lindbergh brings to life the ancient world of the Central Asian Steppe in 5th century BCE through a woman named Akmaral who becomes the leader of her nomadic, matriarchal tribe, the Sauromatae. Readers follow the arc of Akmaral’s life from vulnerability to power, from orphaned child to trainee, from murderous warrior to disarmed lover, from cutthroat slayer to a remorseful and insightful visionary. History, legend, and the mystical dream world converge in a book that is both a love story, an adventure story, and a sweeping universe of battles and conquests. This tour de force of a book never failed to captivate me. The atmosphere Lindbergh evokes is rich in detail, evocative, raw, brutal, and very authentic in feel. I appreciated the author’s stunning prose and strong imagery. Her sentences are beautifully crafted. Akmaral is a worthy comparison to Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, which also presents the difficulties and heartbreaks of a strong female protagonist in an ancient culture. Readers who have enjoyed Madeline Miller’s Circe will also relish this novel.

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An amazing story of a warrior woman trying to protect her tribe in times so long ago, it might have been real. The author clearly states in the afterward that this is a work of fiction and that she has borrowed many elements from the Mongolian lifestyle, but I wish she had borrowed less. While I understand there are trends and human nomads tend to live similar lifestyles across the globe, the Mongolian elements like the kumiss and the mention of the tall Mongolian headdress for a female leader left me disjointed coming from the Iranian plateau.

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Akmaral may be one of the most fascinating warriors in literature…. Written with a wild poetry, the author brings to life a strong woman and her unforgettable story amid stark cliffs and green pastures. Akmaral is pure literary magic.

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