The Court Of Lions by Jane Johnson is published by Head Of Zeus books on the 6th of July 2017. It has one of the most breathtaking covers I have seen this year. It’s intricate details and shimmering gold spine make it stand out. I am very lucky to have a sneak peek excerpt for you to indulge in.
JANE JOHNSON is a British novelist and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Dean Koontz and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Married to a Berber chef she met while researching The Tenth Gift, she lives in Cornwall and Morocco.
Court of Lions ~ Sneak Peek
We made for Guadix, a long night’s ride to the east, where Momo’s mother had assured us we would be welcomed. Set in a desert of jagged limestone, bare earth and scrub below the Sierra Nevada, it was not a welcoming place, but I had rarely been so happy as when we entered that dour fortress.
Momo had been silent for most of the journey, and trotting along at an ever-increasing distance behind him on my mule, I was close to tears. But once we were inside those thick ochre walls our story fired its way around the town and soon everyone was talking about it. I was treated as a hero for my part in Momo’s daring escape and, after feeling very sorry for myself, was so carried away by all the flattery that I was able to put the disaster of the kiss to the back of my mind; I was in severe danger of bursting with pride. The young men of the town gathered around, chattering, praising God, slapping us on the back, delighted that Moulay Hasan and his brother had been outwitted. Some of them smiled at me and touched me lingeringly on the arm, drawing me aside to suggest a sunset walk later along the ramparts, a massage in the steam baths or that we explore the network of grottoes beyond the town walls. I was charmed to be the centre of attention, and a little light-headed from lack of sleep and food, but I suddenly became aware of Momo’s slitted, disapproving glances, and gently turned these invitations aside.
At last, when we were shown to our quarters and were alone, I summoned my courage. “I’m sorry I’ve offended you.”
He turned his beautiful, melancholy face to me. “Offended me?”
I could not look at him. “The kiss.” I shuffled my feet.
“Oh, that. That was nothing.”
Nothing? I lifted my eyes. “Then why are you so upset with me?”
He laughed. “Not everything revolves around you, Blessings, even though the fellows here seem to find you so fascinating.”
He had noticed, then.
“I was thinking about Mariam. What will become of her, alone in the palace, without me?”
Mariam. I had forgotten Mariam. “She’s been without you all these weeks,” I pointed out. “And she has her women.”
“She’s so young, so defenceless. She’ll be lonely: she doesn’t know anyone. I feel responsible for her. I’m her husband and I just … ran away.”
“Better to have run away than been beheaded,” I said, already impatient.
How quickly we take our lives for granted once the right order has been restored.
An epic saga of romance and redemption. Court of Lions brings one of the great turning points in history to life, through the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada.
Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever.
Court of Lions brings one of the great turning-points in history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.
Thanks to Jane Johnson and the team at Head Of Zeus books for the opportunity to be on the tour.
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