I knew from the summary that the central character was not Zenobia. He was a male relative of hers named Zabdas. Zabdas was well portrayed, but the most dramatic event that had happened in his life occurred before the novel began. I also noticed that he's a go with the flow kind of guy who lets others make decisions for him. Maybe it's because he spent so many years as a slave. He may resent those decisions, but he doesn't resist them.
Zenobia refuses to just go along. When the Kingdom of Palmyra is in jeopardy from a massive invasion she does what she can to prevent it. The trouble is that she seems to get whatever she wants. I felt that this lessened the suspense to a very great degree.
The other problem is that this is book one, and it doesn't cover the aspect of Zenobia's life that really interests me. So I liked it, but my enthusiasm was limited. It seems likely that I will prefer the second book.