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Yes, ‘Expulsion’ will be printed THIS WEEK! I’ve bought the ISBN which I’ve passed on to the printers and they’ve but it on the back cover, along with the price which will be £10.99. The whole book will look great and I hope many readers of historical fiction will want to read it. The novel is about a tricky period in Spanish history during which the Moriscos, the Moors forced to convert to Christianity, were collectively expelled.
The main character is Antonio Hidalgo, father of Juan Hidalgo, the protagonist in my first novel, ‘The Harpist of Madrid’. I’ve tried to put you, the reader, right into that part of history so you feel the pain of poverty, the smells of the cities, the tension between the Moriscos and the Christian population. It’s a drama with spying, intrigue adventure and romance. Here is a little excerpt from the first chapter:
His heart leapt as he saw her, cloth in hand, wiping spillage from a table near the back. She knew how to attract a man. Her black hair fell in waves over the shoulders of her white dress, teasingly displaying a little cleavage and belted tightly to shape her waist. Her eyes had the sharp look of a vixen about to leap at its unknowing prey. She carried a look of pride about her and a knowing smile that drew men towards her whether they wanted to be or not. Most wanted to be.
‘God, what a surprise, Antonio!’ she said. ‘You haven’t been here in months!’
‘Just dropped by to say, hello!’
‘A lie,’ she quipped. ‘Not all the way from Madrid, just for that. Don’t tell me… the “Wandering Chordsmen” are back in Guadalajara. For how long this time?’
‘A few days. Maybe three. Depends.’
‘On what? Not the weather. Looks like it’ll be baking. This is the hottest September I can recall. And it’s nearly October!’
‘You’re right, Jac. Lope’s very latest comedia is playing at “The Coliseum”. Certainly for two days, could be three. As usual, we’re just the on-stage band. Me, Giant Carlos on guitar, Iago the Bad on dulcian and Josep on the harp.’
‘What’s the story in this one?’
‘Come along and see!’
‘You’re joking! I’ve got work to do here. Father isn’t well again and Mother can’t do it all on her own, despite her guts. So tell me, what’s the plot?’
‘Later. Got other things to sort out now.’
Within a minute or so, Señor Antonio Hidalgo, second in charge of the band, had arranged to stay for up to three nights at the Guadalajara tavern. His body ached, even though he bore the looks of youth. The band had played nearly all day out in the blistering sun. He and the others had fiddled, strummed, plucked or blown and sweated their way through two performances. The audience, on the other hand, readily accepted the discomforts of standing in the heat in this makeshift theatre, there in the central square – The Coliseum indeed – and yelled with delight at this entertaining yarn……
Well, it’s a little taste of things to come!