Roma Downing’s The Dovekeepers: Miniseries airs on CBS, Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1, a two-night miniseries based on the New York Times bestselling novel of the same title written by Alice Hoffman. The historical fiction story is based on the real-life events of the Siege of Masada in 70 AD. Masada, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, is an ancient mountain fortress near the Dead Sea where Romans found the last pocket of Jewish resistance after they conquered Jerusalem. The miniseries focuses on four fiery women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival.
Fans of the book will be delighted to see actresses Cote de Pablo and Rachel Brosnahan glow in their title dovekeeper roles. The two actresses anchor the telling of the story through the lens of the strong women they portray. Hoffman explains when she visited Masada the book came to her as a gift. “It was a gift from my great-great grandmothers, the women of ancient Israel who first spoke to me when I visited the mountain fortress of Masada. In telling their stories of loss and love, I’ve told my own story as well.”
Roma Downing, who starred in the TV show Touched By an Angel, now creates programs with her husband, producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice”). Downing was moved by Hoffman’s novel and she found the story of a persecuted people whose courage was greater than fear compelling.
Avid fans of the book will either delight in debating the differences of the book to the miniseries or be thrown for a loop with the introduction of the character Josephus. Josephus is a real life historical figure. He is an ancient and important historian and we know of the Siege of Masada today due to his works. Josephus’s writings are the only written record and because of this, the accuracy and plausibility of his accounts have been hotly debated over the years—a theme highlighted in the program. According to Josephus, [spoiler ALERT!] the death of 960 inhabitants of Masada and the destruction of the palace and the possessions were the premeditated acts of all the people acting in unison.
Masada is an ancient ruin in Israel and an ancient story about an ancient people. The violence of that time and place can seem unnerving given what is happening in that region in our world today. Perhaps whether the events at Masada happened as Josephus recorded them seems to matter little as this myth unfolds. As Downing admits, The Dovekeepers is essentially a love story as it follows the loves and the losses of its female storytellers.
Post written on behalf of CBS Television Network through the Role Mommy Writer’s Network. All opinions remain my own.