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My  interview about writing To Hold the Throne is Available Now on Kirkus Review's Fully Booked Podcast. Please Access it at the Following Link:

My Interview Begins at Minute Marker 4:41 

Thanks for Listening!



  • Historical figures and events meet page-turning fiction in Joni Okun's compelling debut novel. To Hold the Throne breathes life into the extraordinary story of King Herod the Great and Mariamne, the last Maccabee Princess, told in alternating points of view. 

  • Fueled by shifting political tides in Rome, the Triumvir Marc Antony disrupts the longstanding Maccabee Dynasty of Judea when he crowns Mariamne's new husband, Herod the Great, as King, setting off a firestorm of power-grabbing, betrayal, and tragedy in the quest for the ultimate prize: the throne.

  • Mariamne never surrenders her belief that her brother Aris, scion of the royal line descending from King David, is the rightful King of Judea. She wrestles with her conscience and with family expectations about how far she is willing to go to oust her husband the king, who loves her with great passion even as he grows increasingly paranoid about her fidelity and suspicious of her disloyalty. 

  • When a Maccabee family member is found murdered, Mariamne is thrown into a whirlwind of accusations and terror. 


Feeling Grateful Today......  

To Hold the Throne, is an Amazon Best Seller in several categories:

#1 in Religious Biblical Fiction 

#1 in Historical Middle Eastern Fiction

 #15 in Jewish Literature (Kindle Store) 

Ancient Judean Date Palm


Methuselah the Judean Date Palm is still going strong even after sprouting from a 2,000-year-old seed. ( By Benjitheijneb (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons)
By Laura Clark

Read more:…/tree-grown-2000-year-old…/…

My Blog

June 6, 2019


What was it like for Mariamne I, the beautiful and intelligent last Princess of the Maccabean Dynasty, to be the wife of King Herod the Great? What impact did his passionate obsession with her have on her life at the dawn of the Herodian Dynasty? 

Who was King Herod the Great? What was at the root of his brutality and his take-no-prisoners ambition? Was he simply a monster or was he a complex and deeply flawed man whose visionary building projects left an indelible mark on Israel's horizon?  

These are the questions that inspired me to research and write To Hold the Throne. I hope you enjoy reading it.