Hannah Blue Heron’s many readers will be delighted with The Virgin, her first novel. Living in prehistoric times (c. 3200 BCE), the Temple Virgins serve the Goddess, Inanna, by bringing men from the local villages into union with Her in ecstasy. Their village of Al-Rah is threatened by the teachings of the rough men from the North, the Kurgans, who denigrate women and are beginning to destroy the temples of the Goddesses, replacing them with temples to their fierce Gods.
At only twelve sun journeys of age, Ashannah is commanded by the village Oracle to lead the women of Al-Rah over the Great Mountain, which they have never attempted to climb beyond the lowest foothills. Ashannah is filled with fear and confusion. How would she know the way?
Unpredictable appearances of Inanna to Ashannah help them begin their journey. Common sense and great determination get them through danger, loss and near starvation. They finally get over the mountain and down into the beautiful valley, only to find that there is already a village of men inhabiting it.
The surprising ending, is, in some some ways, no ending at all.