Steamy romance story set atop Masada

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The TV dramatisation of the Masada story from the bestselling book, Dovekeepers, is a “four-hour limited event series”. For SAJR Online’s many US users, it premieres in 2 consecutive 2-hour episodes: Tuesday March 31 & Wednesday April 1 (9 -11pm, ET). The rest of us will have to download it or wait for it to arrive on our shores. This will be a made-for-TV blockbuster so we can all expect it soon. One of the stars is Cote de Pablo, who plays an Israeli in NCIS. It turns out she isn't Israeli, or even Jewish, despite being typecast as such. Find out who she really is…
by ANT KATZ | Mar 29, 2015
Premiering next week on CBS, “The Dovekeepers”, based on the bestselling Alice Hoffman novel of the same name, dramatises the story of Masada, the ancient Israeli mountaintop fortress, with bloody sword fights, battering rams and flaming torches.

Dovekeepers1The series includes a lot of steamy make-out scenes by candlelight and overwrought romantic dialogue.

“Can you defend yourself, my little dove?” “Try me.”

While the Jewish rebel leader Eleazar ben Yair and the Roman governor of Judea, Flavius Silva deliver impassioned speeches, the show really focuses on the stories of four women, including Cote de Pablo of NCIS fame as the magic-wielding Shirah, and Kathryn Prescott of Skins and Finding Carter as the fearless fighter Aziza.

 “You don’t fear things like other women.” “I’m not a woman. I’m a warrior.”

And for something a little different, last week the Smithsonian Channel’s take on Masada took on a decisively more reality-based tone. The one-hour special, Siege of Masada, questions the accuracy of Josephus’ account of mass suicide. While renowned Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin uncovered human hair and ancient clay shards within Masada’s walls, only three sets of human remains have ever been found, and it remains unclear whether any of them were in love with any of the others.

Click here for some 'SNEAK PEEKS' of video scenes from The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers is what CBS calls a “four-hour limited event series” from executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE MANY SAJR ONLINE USERS IN THE US, it will be broadcast in two consecutive two-hour episodes on Tuesday March 31 and Wednesday  April 1 at (9 to 11pm, ET/PT).

For the rest of us plebs, we will have to steal it online or wait for it to arrive on our own shores. By all accounts this will be a blockbuster and as it is a made-for-TV event, we can expect it everywhere soon.

The project stars Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan and Kathryn Prescott in the title dovekeeper roles, Sam Neill as first-century Jewish scholar and historian Josephus, and Diego Boneta as a star warrior of the Jewish army at Masada. The series is based on Alice Hoffman's bestselling, critically acclaimed historical novel about a group of extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada.

Dovekeepers Full NCIS
Cote de Pablo (PICTURED ABOVE) is not Israeli, and not even Jewish, despite being cast as an Israeli in the hit series NCIS and now, again, in The Dovekeepers. Her full name is María José de Pablo Fernández and she uses the stage name of Cote de Pablo. She was born on November 12 1979 in Santiago, Chile, and moved to the United States at the age of ten, where she studied acting.

Dovekeepers3Set in ancient Israel, The Dovekeepers is based on the true events at Masada in 70 CE. (SEE MASADA PICTURE BELOW)

After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert.

Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies.

The project will recount the events from the perspective of a few extraordinary women who arrive at Masada with unique back stories, but a common bond for survival.

Additionally, these women, who work together daily as dove-keepers, are all concealing substantial secrets.

Hoffman's novel was published in 2011 by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, earning the New York Times' bestseller status and widespread critical acclaim, including being hailed by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison as "a major contribution to 21st century literature".

Dovekeepers2The Dovekeepers will be brought to television from executive producers Roma Downey and multiple Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett (SURVIVOR, "The Voice"), the production team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries "The Bible," which scored big ratings for the History Channel in March 2013, and the feature "Son of God."

Frank Siracusa, John Weber and Yves Simoneau also serve as executive producers, with Simoneau directing. Ann Peacock adapted the novel for the screen.

The Dovekeepers is the first project from CBS Entertainment and CBS Television Studios' Limited Series and Event Programming unit. It is a co-production between CBS Television Studios and LightWorkers Media, a division of United Artists Media Group.


Mount Masada, as it looks today, is a major archeological site


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