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A novel

This is a rollicking reimagined story of Lilith, who in Jewish mythology was married to Adam before Eve, leaving him when he insisted on being above her.

Her refusal to submit saw her demonised through the ages, her story unheard. Until now...

'I am Lilith, and this story is mine’ 

 

High Priestess Lilith reigns over Ancient Sumer’s greatest city in a world where female rule has been unquestioned for eons—until roving gem miner Adam warns that men are raising a rebellion.

To ensure a secret prediction of a male-dominated future does not come to pass, Lilith must uphold the subjugation of men, including the lie they have no role in procreation.

 

With a rebel war imminent, and her conscience deepening in her love of Adam, Lilith is torn between trying to prevent the dreaded future eventuating and honouring her radical truth…that women and men stand as one.

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“As an astrologer, I'm intrigued that 6,000 years ago—when Adam and Eve apparently existed—marks a point in an astrological cycle when a matriarchal era became an equally tyrannical patriarchal era, followed by a fated reunion. That era of unification begins now.”  

 

- Melanie Dufty

Read the opening pages of I Am Lilith

 

PROLOGUE

 

When you realise my place in history, you might wonder how you haven’t known of me until now.

And if you have heard my name, you probably marked me as an evil seductress and baby killer, because if history wasn’t ignoring me, it was demonising me. I was made an example of what happens to women who won’t submit, and it’s true I lived up to my wicked reputation for a while.

Now, as I look down upon the passing of thousands of years, I see that before men turned the tables, I didn’t really know what I was made of. For sure it wasn’t Adam’s rib.

But I grew strong in the dark, and the time has come when my voice can be heard once more, and I have something to say.

I am Lilith, and this story is mine.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

The city of Uruk in the land of Sumer, part of Mesopotamia, some 6,000 years ago

 

The girl, face hollow with hunger, came forward and dropped to her knees before me. She opened her mouth to speak, exposing the gap where her first milk tooth had fallen out. She must be about the same age as my own daughter, but that was where the similarity ended; where Aea was rosy and sturdy-limbed, this girl was skinny and bedraggled.

‘High Priestess L-l-lith.’ Sobs heaved the child’s chest. ‘Please let my brother stay.’

Her tears shone in the sunlight on the Temple of Inanna’s reception terrace, where I was dealing with another group seeking refuge from the drought shrivelling eastern Sumer.

I rubbed my knuckles at the place between my bare breasts as I took a fortifying inhale, keeping the movement of my belly hidden from her people. The women and girls of her tribe rested beneath a pergola of magenta flowers, where my novices fed them honey cakes and tended their feet, bruised from days of walking through rocky desert. The men and boys had already been ushered into a separate cluster by my matrons, ready to be escorted from the city as soon as they were given barley bread and lentils.

A boy, clearly the girl’s brother, came to kneel beside her and wrap a skinny arm about her shoulders. I averted my gaze to take in the vista of Uruk, the city stretching far below the mighty ziggurat that housed our temple complex. Beyond the elegant apartments and civic buildings that lined the plaza, laneways ran through the working districts where the men lived, giving way to fields of barley growing beside the Euphrates River. The lapis lazuli waters sparkled, but the river ran low. If the spring rains failed, our irrigation channels would not fill and the crops would dwindle. I’d accepted some refugee men and boys over the last few months, but the numbers were not slowing and I had spread the word—Uruk would take no more.

A flash of irritation strengthened my resolve. Why did these people petition me when they knew I must refuse their men? I’d authorised an area downriver where these people could re-settle and, in the meantime, desert game and fish were plentiful. The women were free to join their men at any time, including this girl’s mother, who had chosen the glamour of Uruk and the opportunities it offered her daughter over her son.

Reviews

  • Jenna Lambert-Porter, Perth, Western Australia

    This novel is truly one of the most brilliant I’ve ever read - some moments more outrageous and brilliant than I could have ever dreamed up, while also absolutely perfect for the higher meaning of the story.

     

    I was awed and enthralled by the complexity and the incredibly profound messages throughout. 

     

    I Am Lilith is told in the honest and bold voice of Lilith, her story largely unknown...until now. Words barely do justice to the feeling and depth behind this creation. There’s just so much to love.

  • Libby Turner, editor, NSW, Australia

    An epic re-imagining of the story of Lilith, this is a moving work with a profound message of acceptance and balance.

     

    Breathtaking and heartbreaking in equal measure, I Am Lilith will grip you until the last page and stay with you long after.

     

    This novel is on a huge scale that somehow still manages to be wonderfully and sometimes terribly intimate. The ceremonial set pieces are breathtaking, especially on my second read when I fully understood what was being invoked and why.

     

    On the smaller scale, the characterisations and interpersonal relationships are beautifully realised and often heartbreakingly real. Your characters made me laugh and made me cry, and most of all, you made me care deeply about what they thought, felt and did.

  • Janina Norton, London, England

    I challenge you to read this book and forget it…I simply cannot. Many months on, the characters and events remain vividly with me. 

     

    I Am Lilith is tantalising and profound in equal measure. It is layered with mystery and meaning well beyond its captivating plot. Melanie has shared a story here that is so refreshingly different to any other I've read and it storms confidently through the traditional narratives we have held about women and men.

     

    This is a wild tale that is sensual, raw, brave and confronting. The fact it will make its grand entrance into the world now, at a unprecedented time of major shifts in our collective consciousness, seems almost by perfect design to me. This is a story you simply must read.  

  • Anita Benetts, Perth, Western Australia

    When you pick up a book and want it to move you, be relevant or at the very least entertain you… I Am Lilith did this for me and so much more. 

     

    It awoke something deep within that I can no longer ignore.

     

    In the wake of #metoo, in the midst of a global pandemic and shifting balances of power, I hope that reading this wonderful and evocative story will have the same profound impact on you as it did me.

     

    From the perspective of a woman time has distorted and vilified, I Am Lilith is heartbreaking, but not without hope.

  • Gina Witt, New York, USA

    I Am Lilith is an absolute page-turner that is entertaining and thought provoking with a deep and powerful message of unity. 

     

    The characters come alive and are so well developed, you feel like you know them. I felt transported to another place and time in the beautiful scenes detailed in the story. 

     

    This is an emotive read filled with sensuality, humor, intrigue and betrayal, all played out with such depth to give you a whole new perspective on Lilith as we have known her, until now.

  • Marie Hoy, Perth, Western Australia

    I absolutely love this novel. I was torn between racing to uncover the narrative, while re-reading chapters for the delight of the writing and the depth of meaning.

    At once reverential and hilarious, Melanie's heart-centred writing provides insights into the most intimate aspects of female relationships and rites. In fact, the moments of Lilith and her squad together are some of the greatest moments in this novel.


    I Am Lilith depicts a civilisation ruled by women, featuring some figures with whom we are familiar and, fascinatingly, through these characters we are challenged to re-consider our own, and broader societal concepts of gender.

    You will want to gift this book to all your friends - no matter what their gender identity - just so you can talk about it and discover more layers of meaning in the content.

CONTACT

Melanie Dufty

Melanie@melaniedufty.com

Perth, Western Australia

© 2020 by Melanie Dufty. Website by White Mouse Design

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