Andrea Stein is back with a sequel to her first book, FORTUNE’S HORIZONS, that is a different kind of historical romance. She’s guest posting today to tell us all about it.
In Horizons East, the sequel to Fortune’s Horizon, my hero, Captain Jack Roberts, has taken a position as a commander in the Turkish Navy in 1867. His wife Lillie and their four-year-old son Charley live in a flat overlooking Rhodes harbor on the Isle of Rhodes.
Jack’s experiences during the American Civil War have made him an expert at dealing with blockades from both sides, which is just what Sultan Abdullaziz needs. Lillie was his navigator and now assists him with analysis of harbors.
In spring of 1867, the sultan is planning the first trip ever to the West by an Ottoman ruler. But there are those in the royal court who would do anything to stop him. The sultan relies on Jack as a key adviser on the trip because of his ties to Queen Victoria’s court, and the British Royal Navy.
When Jack disappears from the harbor front on Crete, Lillie has no idea who has taken him, but telegraphs a message to her old mentor, James Weatherby. A friend of her parents, he is a mercenary who works for the highest bidder and at present is on the shore of the Black Sea. His current employer is Russia.
In addition to Weatherby, Lillie has to rely on Jack’s brother, who shows up on leave from his station in India with the Bombay Fusiliers, and her son’s nanny, Isabella, to keep Charley safe while she searches for her husband.
The settings for this story were especially challenging, ranging from the catacombs on small islands along the Turkish coast to the lavish palaces the Turkish sultans built along the Bosphorus in Constantinople. (Constantinople did not officially become Istanbul until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, although many people had referred to it through the ages as Stamboul, or The City.)
The two palaces featured in the sequel are Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi. Although merely across from each other along the shores of the Bosphorus, the first was the winter palace, and the second, on the Asian side, was the summer residence of Abdullaziz. Both opulent examples of how the royal families lived are now open to visitors.
Dolmabahce, built over a period of eight years from 1849 to 1856, is constructed entirely of marble. The European baroque symmetry breaks significantly with traditional Islamic architecture and was meant to show the modernization of Turkey. However, Turkish traditions remain in its L-shaped plan accommodating three sections – the selamlik (quarters for men and outsiders, as well as official receiving areas) and harem (family quarters) arranged on either side of a huge central, monumental throne room. The Imperial Baths are separate hamams (Turkish steam baths) for men and women. The floors are Marmara marble and the ceiling is a glass vault with panes set in an elaborate bronze grill.
Among the many oil paintings both at Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi are marine subjects, particular favorites of Abdullaziz, whose passion was the Ottoman Navy, at one time the third largest in the world.
Marble Corinthian columns are throughout the interior. The baroque décor includes, lavish gilding, heavy moldings, swags, garlands, coffered ceilings, tall pilasters and broken pediments. Rich design materials include mahogany paneling and walnut doors.
The furniture is generally Louis Quinze in style, upholstered in the same silk and satin brocade used in curtains and valances. Gold gilds sunbursts alongside crystal chandeliers, candelabra, crystal tiles and wall surfaces covered with huge gilt mirrors. One of the most decadent features is a six-flight staircase made of Baccarat crystal.
Captain Jack Roberts is based on an actual Royal Navy post captain who served the Turkish Navy for many years and was known as Pasha Hobart. He is buried in the foreigners’ cemetery at Scutari on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.
Here is the official blurb:
Family… can get you into or out of a lot of things
Adventuress Lillie Coulbourne-Roberts is desperate. Her husband Captain Jack Roberts is missing. Now a commander in the Turkish Navy, he has to meet with the sultan within the week. When her stuffy brother-in-law, Miles, arrives, she dragoons him into service. On leave from military service in India, he gets claustrophobic at the thought of going undercover with his precocious four-year-old nephew and the boy’s nanny who loathes him.
Horizons East is on preorder through February 10 on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1S25Wnp
Until February 10, the original title, Fortune’s Horizon, is on sale for 99¢ here: http://amzn.to/1PDen3Q
Native Ohioan Andrea K. Stein is the daughter of a trucker and an artist. She grew up a scribbler. The stories just spilled out. After writing and editing at newspapers for twenty years and then enduring a short, boring stint as a consultant to commercial printers, she ran away to sea for three years to deliver yachts up and down the Caribbean. She earned her USCG offshore captain’s license but, perversely, now writes romance set at sea while wrapped in many layers of sweaters and jackets over PJs in her writing room at 10,000 feet in the Rockies.
Facebook/Author Andrea K. Stein