Expulsion, the new book by Gordon Thomas.
It is Spain in 1605. The tensions between the Moors and the Christians are running high. Antonio Hidalgo, a wandering musician, hears from a mistress of a plot to kidnap and ransom the king. What should he do with this crucial knowledge? Should he report it or ignore it? Why should he put his own life at risk? But he has little choice…
Antonio recognises the Moor who makes the threat. He has seen him before but where? Who is this well-dressed man?
The king is horrified. Could they try to kill him, as in Guy Fawkes’ attempt on James I?
Gordon L. Thomas’s third novel is a spy story, packed with adventure, intrigue, scandal, jealousy and romance. It is a tale of man’s inhumanity to man and a stark reminder of a shameful period in Spanish history which many would prefer to forget.
Extract from the book:
‘Good gal. With luck, I’ll be stabling you here in a minute or two,’ he said as he patted the old horse’s neck and tethered her to the rail outside the inn. The mare looked around at him wide- eyed, appearing to know what he meant.
He lifted the latch on the heavy door and shoved it open. He eased his head back as he breathed in the cooler air that drifted from the inside, even though the smell of stale beer and sweat tainted it. He walked in. Several groups of men, some laughing, a number in heated argument and others looking half drunk, were scattered in the area reserved for drinking. One group shocked him into stopping: they were throwing a dwarf to each other and catching him as he fell after hitting the ceiling. The little man looked scared and tense, not seeing a way of escaping their brutality.
‘Put him down! Now!’ said the musician.
‘Who the hell are you to tell us?’ said one of the ruffians.
The musician turned, opened the door and shouted to the outside. ‘Come here lads. I need help!’
With that the men carefully put the dwarf down. He quickly walked away, towards a table at the back of the room. The musician continued walking into the inn, smiling to himself.
He imagined that many of these men were robbers, vagabonds, pickpockets or some other form of criminal. Some might be earning a more honest real but he doubted it. Except for one, they all looked dishevelled with hats at awkward angles and clothes appearing as if they had adorned the backs of beggars. The musician thought he recognised the well-dressed man in the corner, lecturing a group of untidy individuals in such terms that they could be the man’s employees.
Characters in the book
Many of the characters in Expulsion are based on real people who lived in the 17th Century. Here are the background details of these people and the roles they play in the book.
Antonio is leading the simple life of a wandering musician. How does his hearing of the plot on the life of the king change his life? How complex can his life become? Should he accept the offer of the senior official in Madrid? What are the risks? What are the rewards? He must discuss it with his lady friend.
King Philip III
The ‘miserable monarch’, relies so heavily on his corrupt chief minister, the Duke of Lerma that he virtually abdicates his powers. What role does he play in this story? Will he ever make the crucial decision that affects the lives of the Moors in Spain? Does he meet Antonio?
Duke of Lerma
A schemer, constantly working on ways to increase his own wealth. How does he treat his king? With contempt or admiration? What can he expect of the king, other than to engage him in the pleasures of the hunt?
General Ambrosio Spínola
Antonio makes a surprise encounter with this well-known Spanish General, made even more famous in ‘The Lances’, a stunning painting by Diego Velázquez which adorns the entrance to The Prado, Madrid. Where does Antonio meet him and why? Is there a connection with the plot against the king?
- Paperback: 422 pages
- Publisher: SellMy Books (29 Aug. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0995677808
- ISBN-13: 978-0995677807
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm