Joan's education could not be continued unless she simulated being a male. She had a yearning for knowledge that was worth the perilous decision to disguise her gender. Escaping the confines of being a woman meant she needed to learn 'maleness.' Because of fear she might be recognized - incognito, she would need to relocate. It required she and her companion, Michael, flee from their homeland.
Their journey is filled with suspense. Within the corrupt, violent nineth century, danger was around every corner. Luckily, Joan and Michael met another traveler - an entertainer named Amadeus. He assisted them as their path repeatedly crossed with scheming villains.
The character development of the trio is brought alive with marvelous dialogue. They take the reader with them on the travel toward their destination of Athens. As they trek toward the seminary, Joan's wisdom and courage increases with each adventure.
The story of Pope Joan is often called legend, fiction, and historicized folklore. Many versions have been told, dismissed, retold, and so on. If it is urban legend, so be it. This is a terrific, believable read.
This is a story made credible by a plethora of incredibly accurate research. The reader is placed inside the story's time and place with enthralling protagonists. The superb, informative and interesting description paints the picture of a place you can reside while reading.
Dax fleshes the story out, and keeps it unraveling smoothly. It may be a fictional depiction of a female pope either cheated by history, or exalted by rumor. Either way, this version is fascinating. I found it riveting and I highly recommend it.
This well-crafted beginning will be followed by Part 2, and Part 3. And I'm one reader who will be looking forward to them.