Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
So this epileptic Norse woman is sold into slavery because her family thinks she’s been witched. She’s transported to ancient Byzantium where she’s bought by a eunuch spymaster. He hopes to convince the world that her “falling sickness” gives her a special window on the spirit world and she’s a seer of great ability. Before she’s placed in a silk trader’s harem to ferret out a plot against the emperor, she’s tutored in Greek by a disgraced Viking in the Varangian guard who falls in love with her and vows to see her free. Then they–
What? You haven’t run across this story?
Hmm. And just a month ago the folks at one prominent review site were saying historical romance was dying because the genre was too narrow and full of familiar tropes.
Granted the historical market is heavy on dashing dukes and debutantes, but that’s because readers love them. And they’re wickedly fun to write. However, for readers who enjoy something out of the ordinary, for those who aren’t put off by stories that aren’t quite safe, there are options out there. May I offer one?
People who live on the ragged edge, like the eunuch in Silk Dreams, fascinate me. They redefine the limits of human experience. A heroine who grapples with epilepsy during the Dark Ages, well, that sort of makes my daily challenges seem piddly. And as bad as those bad boys of the North were, what would a Viking have to do in order to be exiled in disgrace?
All right. I’ll admit it. I love this story and the wildly “not-the-usual-suspect” characters who live in it. Doing the research on 11th century Constantinople satisfied all my history geekness in spades. Interviewing my friend who lives with epilepsy to get that part of the story right was an eye-opener and it’s not often sexual dysfunction is dealt with in a romance, but when there’s a eunuch in the story, it can’t be ignored.
Will Silk Dreams sell like a half dozen dukes at Almack’s? Perhaps not. But that doesn’t mean Valdis and Erik‘s story didn’t need to be told. Love has always been part of the human heart, whether its dressed in a contemporary setting, a phantasmagorical paranormal world or the cruel labyrinth of ancient Byzantium.
So to those readers who love a walk through an unfamiliar world, with a hero and heroine who aren’t “pattern” (a description of conformity that would have been a high compliment in the Victorian Era but for some reason sets my teeth on edge), this story is for YOU!
“The lush smell of spices, the soft silk of the harem and the intrigue of court life combines as Marlowe sweeps readers into her novel of medieval Constantinople. She crafts a lavish love story that’s as entertaining as it is epic.” ~ RT BOOKReviews
“The colorful and captivating world of ancient Byzantium provides the intriguing setting for Mia Marlowe’s lushly sensual, sumptuously written historical romance.”—John Charles, Chicago Tribune
Here’s my question for you: If you could travel to any time and place, where would you most want to visit? (Don’t worry. This is only armchair travel. I’d never allow you to live for longer than a brief stay in anyplace that didn’t have running water, antibiotics and ebooks!)