INTRODUCING ADEIA-EURYDIKE

amazon_women_warriorsHer birth name was “Adeia”. The name, “Eurydike” was the dynastic name bestowed on her after her marriage to Philip Arridaios, Alexander’s half-brother.Выбор материалов для ремонта кровли с учетом их совместимости.

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Adeia was the granddaughter of two kings, Philip II and his brother, Perdikkas III. Her mother, Kynane, was the offspring of one of Philip II’s war-brides, who was the daughter of Bardylis, an Illyrian warrior-chieftain Philip had defeated when he won Illyria, a tribal country with rugged terrain north-west of the Macedonian border. Kynane was married to one of Philip’s brothers, Amyntas, who as later executed on the charge of treason after Philip’s assassination.

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To appease this unpleasant family situation after his father’s death, Alexander engaged Adeia by proxy to her uncle, Arridaios. The engagement was later annulled by Antipater, Regent of Macedon. That did not stop Kynane and Adeia from pursuing the chance to marry into the royal household after Alexander had died, in order to claim the right to the throne and avenge Amyntas’ unjust execution.

Disguised as men, they set off for Asia Minor in the hope of convincing General Perdikkas that the engagement was legitimate. They confronted Perdikkas’ soldiers near Sardis and in the skirmish, Kynane was killed.  When the soldiers realized they had killed Philip II’s daughter, they nearly revolted, so Perdikkas was forced to allow the marriage of Adeia and Arridaios.

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Very little (if anything) is written about Adeia-Eurydike so it required imagination and research to develop her character. As she was from a family of warriors on both sides of the family, especially women warriors on her mother’s side, I saw her as a young girl of strong character. She was ambitious, charismatic and tough, often emulating her uncle Alexander. As she had been brought up in the mountains she had likely been taught the skill of a swordwoman, although she was tutored in court manners because she was royalty. She dreamt of being like the famous Scythian swordswoman, Penthathelia mentioned in Homer’s Illiad.  I saw her as a-sexual, usually dressed in boy’s clothes and frequently hanging out with the foot-soldiers. In no time she formed her own faction against Perdikkas.

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She made the best of her marriage to Arridaios, who had the mental capacity of a child. In fact, she was using him as her stepping-stone to the throne. Her conflicts with Perdikkas (in Volume One, BLOOD ON THE MOON) and later with Olympias in Volume Two, THE FIELDS OF HADES, have dire consequences.

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE THOSE NAMES?

Ancient Writing Materials and ImplementsA lot of my readers have mentioned the names in SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON. For many of the names of the characters I used common spellings you might see in history books but for others I had to used the correct Greek names. In addition, the glossary was accidently left out of the volume (hopefully it will be included in Volume II  THE FIELDS OF HADES, which will be published I 2016). So I have attached it here so readers can make reference to words they might not be familiar with.focuz

Here’s a quick lesson in pronouncing the Greek and Persian names:

There are only five vowel sounds in Greek, all of which are easy to produce, though they are not stressed as long as in English. On the other hand unstressed vowels are more clearly pronounced.

ai, I, n, u, oi, ei, ui are pronounced like ea in seat  ADEIA= Adea  NIKAIA=Nikea

oi and ai are pronounced like e or i

ou  like through

eu like ev  PEUKESTAS=Pevkestas EUMENES=Evmenes SELEUKOS=Selevkos

y like in sit  KYNNA=Kinna

ph like in fall  DEMETRIOS OF PHALIRON= Demetrios of Faliron

pt like in tall  PTOLEMY (PTOLEMEIOS)= (p)Tolemy  or Tolemeos (barely say the ‘p’)

Most of the names are pronounced as they look.

GLOSSARY

 Agema           the elite corps within a military body

Ankush          a hook or goad used by a mahout

Arcon             political leader or military commander

Argeadae (also Argeads)   descendants of Argaeus. The Macedonian royal house.

Ashlar                        hewn or squared stone

Astrigali         knucklebones (a bone – metatarsis – of a sheep, used in games

Aulos              a wind instrument like a flute

Bema              speaker’s platform, altar

Bireme          a ship with two banks of oars

Bitumen        an asphalt of Asia Minor used as a cement or mortar

Bothy             a hut

Bouletarian  Council house for citizens (boule) of Athens

Byssos                        a fine linen cloth

Carhanas       a type of long horn used by Persians

Chiliarch      commander of a thousand.

Chiton                        a tunic

Chlamys        an oblong mantle

Daimon         demon

Dhotis          loincloth worn by Hindu men

Ephebe           a young man  (or cadet in the army)

Epigone         successor or descendants (particularly the barbarian troops recruited and    trained to replace discharged Macedonian veterans.

Epitaphion    eulogy to the dead

Eremenos      a man’s male lover

Eyrines          the Furies,  Greek goddesses of retribution

Galis               wrath, bitterness of spirit

Greaves          armor for the leg below the knee

Gatha             twelve hymns from the sacred text of the Zorastrian faith

Goule             a monstrous creature

Hegamon      a leader (a general or commander-in-chief)

Helot              a serf, slave

Hetaera           a woman companions, high-class, cultivated courtesan

Himation      a rectangular cloth draped over the left should and around the body, worn   as a garment in ancient Greece

Hipparch        a cavalry commander

Hoplites         heavily armed infantry soldier

Hypaspist (pl. hypaspistai) shield bearers

Karwan          caravan

Khotal         a boy who assists the mahouts

Knucklebones          see Astrigali

Kodjah           old eunuch who tends the harem

Komos           a ritualistic drunken procession

Kopis              a slightly carved sword used for striking downwards (used by cavalrymen)

Kore               relating to Persephone,  or Cycladic marble statues of  men

Krater               a jar or vase used for mixing wine

Kukuvia         small owl

Kyrbasia        a Persian head dress

Maidan          a square or field

Metic              a resident alien, one who did not have citizenship

Mitra              headdress worn by royalty

Moira             destiny

Mole               earth laid in the sea as a pier or breakwater

Mystai                mystics, those related to mystery

Oligarchy       a government in which a small group exercises control

Orisons          prayers

Paean             a joyous song or hymn of praise

Palaistra        a school for wrestling

Parados          entrance for the chorus in the theatre

Peltasts          shield bearers

Peripatetics   ‘walking’ philosopher who pace while discoursing  (from the school of  Aristotle)

Peristyle        a colonnade surrounding a courtyard

Pezatairoi     phalanx soldiers

Phalanx         a body of heavily armed infantry formed in close, deep ranks

Pilaster          an upright column

Pithoi             pots, storage jars

Pothos           an urge, or longing

Polis               city state

Posset             a hot drink of spiced milk curdled with wine

Proskynesis  the Persian practice of obeisance (from blowing a kiss to groveling before  the Great King)

Rython           a vessel for pouring ritual libations

Satrap             provincial governor

Satrapy           province of Persian Empire

Sarissas          Macedonian pike (15 – 18 ft in length)

Sistrum         a percussion instrument like a rattle

Shahziad        Persian princess

Shahryar       wife of the Shah (or king)

Shikaris         big game hunter

Skene             building behind playing area in theatre

Skolion          a celebratory song

Stater             a gold or silver coin

Stoa                ancient Greek porticoe

Stragile          an metal instrument for scraping oil off an athlete’s body

Strategos (pl. Strategoi)  a general, also military overseer in a city or province

Taxiarches (pl. Taxiarchoi) commander of a taxis

Taxis (pl. Taxeis)  a unit (size can vary) phalanx battalion which numbered 1500 men  each

Temenos       a piece of land marked off from common people, especially for kings

Thyrsos          a staff of giant fennel covered with ivy leaves, topped with a pine cone,   carried by followers of Dionysus

Trierarch       the commander of a trireme

Trireme         warship with three banks of oars

Xenophobia  fear and hatred of strangers and foreigners

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INTRODUCING GENERAL PERDIKKAS

1-alexander   Perdikkas was the son of an Orestian nobleman from the mountainous lake district between Macedonia and Illyria (today’s Albania). His exact age isn’t known but he is believed to have been about the same age as Alexander. He served as a cadet and young officer under Philip II and was one of Alexander’s chosen Companions.dekor-okno

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His first known military action was in 334 BC with Alexander when they attacked a group of rebels in Illyria. At that time he was a phalanx commander. When a rumor circulated that Alexander had died during the Illyrian campaign it stirred up a rebellion in Thebes and they killed the Macedonian garrison officers stationed there. Alexander went south. After a short siege, Perdikkas’ men stormed the city, breaking the official line of command. The assault had not been planned and it was reported that his men had been drunk.  In this attack Perdikkas was severely wounded. Ptolemy wrote later that the attack was due to the lack of discipline in Perdikkas’ phalanx, however it was well-known that Perdikkas and Ptolemy were at odds with each other. In retaliation for the rebellion, Thebes was razed to the ground, the male population killed, and women taken into slavery all except the family of Pindar the poet, a favorite of Alexander, was saved by Alexander.

When Alexander, now in his early 20’s, launched his long-planned campaign against Persia the following year (May 334 BC) Perdikkas was again in command of the heavy phalanx infantry. That summer there was an attack on a Persian naval base which suffered a big defeat, Ptolemy cited that Perdikkas’s soldiers were drunk, though this may have been an attempt by Ptolemy to again discredit Perdikkas.

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At the time of the Battle of Issus later that year, Perdikkas was in command of the army when Alexander was occupied with the siege of Tyre. Again, a year later, he was in command of a phalanx battalion at Guagemela.

During Alexander’s pursuit of the Persian king Darius III, Perdikkas disappears from records as the phalanx wasn’t involved. But later, when the army reached the Hindu Kush, Perdikkas took part in one of the sieges.

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When Alexander invaded the Punjab in 327/326 BC, Perdikkas, along with Alexander’s closest Companion, Hephaestion, captured an important city. During the Indian campaign, Perdikkas was a cavalry commander. Eventually, when Alexander was seriously wounded at the siege of Mallia, Perdikkas was said to have been the only one who dared help rescue him.

After the army returned to Susa, Alexander married the Persian princess, Stateira, and insisted his soldiers marry Persian wives. Perdikkas had married the daughter of the satrap of Media, a Persian woman named Atrophates.  Not long afterwards, Hephaestion unexpectedly died and Perdikkas was appointed commander of the Companion Cavalry and made Chiliarch (vizier), the highest ranking officer in the army.

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Shortly after this when Alexander lay dying in Babylon (323 BC) after being ill for several days, he gave his royal signet ring to Perdikkas sayng that he was giving his empire kratistoi “to the strongest”. It could have also meant “to Krateros” who was Alexander’s supreme commander who had been sent back to Macedon in an important mission.  When Alexander died, Perdikkas proposed that they way until Alexander’s pregnant first wife, Roxana, give birth. If it were a son, he’d be chosen as the new king. This proposal meant that Perdikkas would have command of the boy until he grew up.

At the time of Alexander’s death, both Roxana and Stateira were pregnant. It is alleged that Perdikkas aided Roxana in having the princess and her sister murdered to make sure no Persian royalty would be in line for the throne.

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Roxana gave birth to her son Alexander IV (who she named Iskander) a month later. The commander of the phalanx, Meleager, argued that Alexander’s half-brother, Philip Arridaios, should be first in line of succession in spite of the fact that Arridaios was mentally unfit. Meleager attemped a coup and a rebellion ensued. The instigators including Meleager were killed and Perdikkas was named guardian and regent of the two joint kings.

Now Perdikkas was in charge of Alexander’s army and in control of Babylonia, but he sought to command the two centres of the empire _ Macedonia and Babylon. So he set out on conquests of Asia Minor. During this time he became engaged to Nikaia, the daughter of Macedon’s regent, Antipater. But Perdikkas broke off the engagement when he was offered the opportunity to marry Alexander’s sister Kleopatra. This would make him a member of the Macedonian royal house and as Arridaios was a misfit and the other child, Alexander IV still too young,  Perdikkas would stand to claim the regency and the crown.

Perdikkas unfortunately didn’t live to see his aspirations realized. When Ptolemy hijacked Alexander’s funeral carriage and had it diverted to Egypt, Perdikkas decided to invade Egypt. By the time his army reached the Nile, his soldiers, were ready to revolt, resenting his harsh discipline and the fool-hardy commands that had left many of them dead in the Nile.  Perdikkas was assassinated by several of his commanders. His once dazzling career was finished

herodotus4_mapHe died near Pelusium at the Nile.

INTRODUCING ROXANE

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640px-Lataband_Road_mountainsAuthor’s note: I’m going to present a series of introductions to the main characters in SHADOW OF THE LION, first those in “Blood on the Moon” and later those who appear in volume 2 “The Fields of Hades”.

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Roxana (also spelled Roxane): Her Sogdian name was ROSHANAK which meant “Little Star”. Her father was a Sogdian nobleman and warlord named Oxyartes. His fortress was atop the formidable Rock of Ariamazes in Sogdiana near the Oxus River, known as “The Sogdian Rock” in the Hindu Kush mountains, today’s northern Afghanistan.  Roxana was about fifteen years old when Alexander’s elite troop of mountaineers scaled the heights of the Rock and stormed the fortress.

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It is said that Alexander fell in love at first sight when he met this spirited Soghdian girl who was described as ”the most beautiful lady in all Asia”. All agreed that Alexander was entranced by her. He was 29 and had never been married. An obvious candidate had been Barsine, widow of Memnon of Rhodes, who had been his concubine since the Battle of Issus, but instead he chose Roxana. They had a lavish wedding and symbolized their union before the guests with the Persian custom of cutting a loaf of bread with a sword and each eating half as bride and groom. Of course his marriage was political move as Oxyartes was one of the most powerful chieftains in Sogdiana.  Roxana was a fierce-tempered mountain woman. Her three brothers were warriors and were later conscripted into Alexander’s army. One of them, Itanes, became the commander of a special squadron.

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Alexander’s marriage to Roxana was a noble step, his first marriage was meant to secure Soghdiana as part of his empire, so perhaps this was more of a reality and not romance when he married her. His father, Philip II always took wives from the tribes he conquered. And to maintain the Soghdians’ loyalty marrying a local princess was a logical step. The marriage provoked his generals. Alexander had begun to adopt Persian customs, including the proskynesis (bowing in obeisance to the king), and the men were outraged and bitter toward Persian royalty.

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After the marriage, Roxana followed Alexander to India where she gave birth to a child that died soon after. She accompanied Alexander to Babylon and when he died on June 10, 323 BC she was again pregnant. So was Alexander’s second wife, Stateira, the daughter of Shah Darius. In a fit of jealousy, and with General Perdikkas’ help, Roxana allegedly murdered her female rival.

Unlike most of the other Persian noblewomen who were quickly swept from sight after the Macedonians repudiated the marriages that had been arranged for them by Alexander, Roxana managed to survive, but she and her newborn son were never truly accepted. The child, Alexander IV (in the novel named Iskander) born a month after Alexander’s death, was of Soghdian blood, not a true-born Macedonian. Because the generals insisted there should be a Macedonian on the throne, they made Alexander’s mentally challenged half-brother Arridaios, joint kings with Alexander’s infant heir.

Roxana’s life after Alexander’s death was not an easy one. Despised by most of the generals and known for her angry outbursts, she was isolated and mostly friendless.  In the novel, I created a fictional character, Nabarzanes the Persian Court Advisor, as a sympathetic character who she could rely on.  Her life became a struggle as she tried to survive the maelstrom of Macedonian politics and intrigues of the Macedonian court. She could trace her bloodlines to an Assyrian queen and was used to a rich, indulged lifestyle, known for her temper, selfishness and arrogance. Alexander’s generals considered her a mere campaign wife.  After the death of General Perdikkas who manipulated the joint-kings in hopes of gaining his own hold on the throne, Roxana and her child were placed in the guardianship of Polyperchon, one of the officers who had served Alexander in Soghdiana.

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For a woman who had grown up in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, traveled to exotic India and lived in the posh palaces of Persia and Babylonia, it must have been a strange experience for Roxana when she and her child were finally transported to Macedon to be placed in the care of the aging regent, Antipater.

INTRODUCING THE CAST OF CHARACTERS

Who are the characters in “Shadow of the Lion: Blood on the Moon”?  Although I tried to be careful when I was developing them, drawing them out as best I could so they would seem as ‘real’ to the reader as they did to me, I’ve had a few requests to post visual pictures of them.berryjam.ru

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There are a few marble busts or faces on coins that show more-or-less what they looked like in person.  And for the fictional characters I’ve found a few drawings of costumes etc.  In the cases of some characters I pin-pointed real live people who I thought might resemble the person and drew my descriptions from observing those people and describing their body-language, facial features etc.

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I have been told by most of my readers that the characters are very ‘real’.  In fact one of my critique readers called me up some time after she’d read the manuscript and asked “How is everyone?”  I thought she meant our friends. But no, she meant the characters in the book.  “I miss them,” she said. And frankly, I miss them too. As I wrote about them they became more real to me.  And of course, most of them really were living people at the time of Alexander.

Here’s a few of the characters who I found portraits or sculptures of:

ALEXANDER the GREAT:  King of Macedon, conqueror of the eastern world. imagesCA5JOYVY

ALEXANDER & HEPHAESTION:  The busts of Alexander and his faithful friend and companion Hephaestion.

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OLYMPIAS: Alexander’s mother coin_olympias_mus_theski_s

PHILIP II: Alexander’s father  220px-Filip_II_Macedonia

ROXANE:  Alexander’s Soghdian widow, mother of Iskander.roxanna-achaemenid-princess-003

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ISKANDER: (Alexander IV) little is know about him but I did find this one cartouche drawing evidently in a Paris museum.

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ARRIDAIOS:  Alexander’s mentally challenged half-brother who became joint-king with Alexander IV (Iskander) arridaeus_bust

ADEIA-EURYDIKE:  This is actually a portrait of young Alexander but to me it looks like what I imagined Adeia to resemble. 3879864-3x4-700x933

PTOLEMY:  Alexander’s illegitimate half-brother who later became the first Ptolemaic Pharoah of Egypt.PtolemyISoter

SELEUKOS:  Alexander’s companion and general who took over the satrapy of Babylon 250px-Seleuco_I_Nicatore

KASSANDROS:  Alexander’s enemy, son of the Regent Antipater, and villain of the novel. 637px-Coin_of_Cassander

NABARZANES: The Persian Court Advisor (he was patterned from a real person but may have looked like this.)imagesCAAKS2OV

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DEMITRIOS: The arrogant young son of Antigonos the One-Eyed.

THE CHALDEAN MAGUS: This is the picture of a Zorastrian priest but I imagine the Magus to look like this.full86371

THE SCYTHIANS : images

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SADU & OLD PEARL: The mahout from the Punjab and his elephant Old Pearl who guarded the royal tent.

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RAJAH PORUS’ WARRIOR ELEPHANTS:

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IT WAS A VERY LONG JOURNEY

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From the time Alexander the Great set out on his campaign to conquer the Persians to the day in June, 323 BC when he died in Babylon, ten years had passed.  In Volume One of SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON, the journey of the joint-kings from Babylon after Alexander’s death took four years. It was also a long journey!

This map shows the extent of Alexander’ conquests and the routes they took. Some of the same route was taken by the escort of the joint-kings including an unexpected side-trip to Egypt. But can you imagine that on this journey was a tiny child, still an infant when the entourage left Babylon, and barely five years old by the time he reached Macedon.

Can you imagine spending your early childhood being carted from army camp to army camp? Can you imagine that you were the only child, surrounded by soldiers, with no playmates and an over-protective mother?

In some of the research I did for the novel, I read that this was a case of child-abuse and exploitation.Iit was, because the Successors where using this innocent child,Iskander (Alexander IV). as a puppet king by naming him Alexander’s successor along with his dim-witted Uncle Arridaios. And because many of the Macedonian disliked her, every day his mother, Roxana who was Alexander’s Soghdian widow, wondered if someone would murder them because they didn’t want a non-Macedonian inheriting Alexander’s throne.

Nevertheless, the journey was made successfully, even though they had come through a battle at the Nile and various disruptions along the way. And when Iskander arrives at Amphipolis, although he has some trepidations, he is encouraged by his mother who insists that once they get to Pella, the royal city, all will be well, because Alexander’s mother, Olympias, will meet them and welcome them.  But will she? Olympias had a notorious reputation. Would she welcome her son’s widow and her grandson? And will Alexander’s son one day inherit his father’s throne?

Volume One of SHADOW leaves you with these questions.  How much longer will this journey take before it is really over? What will happen when they arrive in the royal city?

Volume Two: SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES addresses these questions. Watch for it to be published in 2016.

In the front of the book there is a map, drawn by my artist J. Patrick McFarlane, but unfortunately it was printed too small for readers to follow. I’ve put it here so it may be clearer, and it will definitely be enlarged for Volume 2.

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The Book Launch for SHADOW was a Huge Success!

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On January 14 at the Hellenic Community Centre, SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON was launched to a standing-room only crowd.

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The launch was hosted by Mr. Ilias Kremmydas, the Greek Consul of Vancouver. He spoke about the novel, how much he enjoyed reading this bit of history that not many people know about – what happened after the death of Alexander the Great.  He compared the novel as being the Greek version of Game of Thrones, except it’s a true story!

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I gave special thanks to the Greek Consul who has been supporting me with this writing project since 1991 and continue to do so. And thanks to the Greek community too, for all their support. It was an honor to be able to hold the launch at the Hellenic Community Centre here in Vancouver and invitations had been sent to the Greek community by Mr. Kremmydas.

Several friends spoke about the development of the novel from its beginning, and gave reviews of the finished product. I was grateful for their support too. And to see so many friends, some who had come from Vancouver Island, just to attend.

I was completely overwhelmed by the response and look forward now to doing lots more promoting of the book. The copies I had with me sold out i minutes, so I hope this is an indication that they will continue to sell as well.

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Next week I am going to Vancouver Island for a book reading and next month I have two other readings scheduled. So I am looking forward to presenting SHADOW to as many audiences as I can in future.

Thanks, everyone for your support.  So far, my readers have given high praise to the book and that makes me very happy.  It was a long journey to write it. I expect it to be a long journey to present it to the world.  But I’m sure it’s going to continue being a big success!

 

 

2014: Fifteen years of work is accomplished. Now SHADOW makes it’s formal debut.

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In August 2014 the first volume of SHADOW OF THE LION subtitled BLOOD ON THE MOON was born, published by MediaAria-CDM. Next month, in January 2015 SHADOW makes its formal debut at my book launch sponsored by the Greek Consul at the Hellenic Community Centre in Vancouver.

This has been an exciting year which included a trip to Egypt and a visit to Alexandria which was a dream come true. Then in September a trip to England and Greece where I was able to do lots of book promo, first attending the Historical Novel Writer’s conference in London, and then invited to do three readings in Greece: two in Athens and one in Larissa.

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Since returning to Canada in October I have been invited to do two book readings along with my writer friend Eileen Kernaghan. And I look forward to doing many more in the coming year, starting with a book club group in Duncan B.C. It was a thrill to be given a ’empowered writer’ award by the World Poetry Peace Conference and invited to be on their radio program by Ariadne Sawyer who has been so supportive of me.

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After the fifteen long years of research and writing on this epic saga it has been a real thrill to see everything I worked for accomplished. And I begin the New Year, 2015, with the formal book launch of SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON.  (Already my readers are anxious for the second volume to appear but THE FIELDS OF HADES won’t be published until 2016.)

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I am grateful for all the support I have had over the years from my writing group, the Scribblers, my friend here in Canada and in Europe. Especially the Greek people who have been so generous with offering me support with my research and book promo.  The Greek Consul of Vancouver, Ilias Kremmydas has been so kind and has organized the launch at the Hellenic Community Centre. I’m planning to welcome some special guests to participate including Greek/Canadian prize winning poet Manolis Aligizakis, and Langara lecturer Peter Prontzos who has offered to write a book review for me.

Everyone is invited to this special event so mark it on your calendars. And if you have already read SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON I’d appreciate it if you could put a little review on Amazon.com or on Chapters website if that’s where you purchased your copy. I’ll be signing books at the book launch and there will be a few on hand to purchase.

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So, I welcome the New Year and all that it promises for me and for my novel. I hope we have a bright future together!

WHO IS IN THAT TOMB?

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For the past few months there’s been great excitement in Greece over the revealing of a huge tomb uncovered in Amphipolis, Greek Macedonia.  This sparked a lot of interest for me as I’ve visited Amphipolis on a couple of occasions while doing research for SHADOW OF THE LION.  This site, which at Alexander’s time was an army fortress, is one of the settings in my story:  in the end of Volume One BLOOD ON THE MOON, and for almost the whole last half of Volume Two THE FIELDS OF HADES (to be published in 2016).

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In September, as I was going to Macedonia to attend a friend’s book launch, I decided to venture to Amphipolis to see if I could view this remarkable archaeological find.  I took a taxi from the seaside town of Asprovalta and was lucky enough to get a driver who knew the area well.  On our way up to the location, we passed the famous Lion of Amphipolis by the roadside. The lion statue was dedicated to one of Alexander’s generals, Laomedon and it is now believed that it once stood atop the tomb and was taken away by the Romans who left it in its present location.  The statue is 5.3 meters high with a base making it 15.84 meters. It resembles the stone lion statue that was erected on the field of Chaironea in Greece where King Philip II and his young son Alexander defeated the Athenians and annihilated the Theban Sacred Band.

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I was only able to view the tomb digs from a distance, across the valley. The tomb is on a hillside inside a 500 meter long surrounding wall of marble and limestone. The wall is 3 meters high with a cornice of marble from the nearby Aegaen Island of Thassos.  The entry has an arch containing two headless sphinxes and steps leading down into the tomb. It is believed the tomb could be the work of Deinokrates, who was the imperial architect during Alexander’s time, the same architect who Alexander had design the city of Alexandria in Egypt.

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But whose tomb is it? There is so much speculation:  Was Alexander buried here? Well, not likely as he was embalmed in Babylon where he died in 325 BC and a year later was taken to Alexandria where his body lay in state right up to the time of Cleopatra and the Romans.  Was it Olympias, Alexander’s mother? Not likely either. She was an Epirote, not well liked, and stoned to death by Kassandros. While I visited  Pydna, the site of her death, an archaeologist who was looking for a token tomb there told me she was likely buried in the royal tombs at Vergina where all the Macedonian royalty were laid to rest. Was it Alexander’s Soghdian wife and his son, both who were murdered on Kassandros’ orders at Amphipolis? Not a chance as she was hated by the Macedonians and the boy, Alexander IV is very likely the one occupying a tomb at Vergina that is the tomb of a young Macedonian prince about 14 yrs of age – just the age he was when he was murdered. (This tomb is next to the one where Philip II was found and an archaeologist at the site told me it was a good possibility the prince was Alexander’s son and only legal heir.)

My theory is that it may be the tomb of the Antipatrides family, the biggest clan in Macedonia. Antipater was Regent for both Philip and Alexander. His son, Kassandros was responsible for killing of all of Alexander’s dynasty and was in charge of Amphipolis’s army fortress. Perhaps it is their family, including Kassandros’ wife, Thessaloniki, who was Alexander’s half sister.

On the other hand, now that they have found a large wooden casket with a body inside, it is possible that this might be the tomb of one of the famous generals of the time.  Although, it is strange they found a skeleton, as the Macedonians usually cremated their dead.  The possibilities of who this might be are endless:  Maybe it is really Laomedon whose burial place was marked by the stone lion; perhaps it is Niarchos, who came from Amphipolis and commanded Alexander’s navy. Or could it be General Antigonos the One-Eyed, who died at the age of 81 in the Battle of Ipsus in Phrygia (now Turkey) back in 301 when he was knocked off his horse by a spear. Antigonos was a powerful Successor of Alexander and eventually took control of most of the Empire, including Macedonia, after the downfall of the Antipatrides clan. He was succeeded by his son Demetrius who took control in 294 BC. This dynasty lasted until 1966 BC when they were defeated at the Battle of Pydna by the Romans.

These characters are all major players in SHADOW OF THE LION. So whoever it is buried in that massive tomb, it’s all relevant and has certainly help keep the interest in Alexander the Great and his place in history alive!

(NOTE: Closeup tomb photos courtesy of internet sources.)

ACCOLADES AND PUBLICITY FOR SOTL

I was recently honoured to receive a “World Poetry Empowered Writer” award for my novel SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON as well as for my travel journalism. This event was held at the downtown campus of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver on October 19 at the World Poetry Peace Conference. (I had previously been invited to present my book at the WP Peace Conference in Larissa, Greece).

Here are a few photos from this event:

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Accepting my award

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My mini ‘Oscar’

The next night when my Scribbler’s Writers Critique group arrived for our weekly get-together, they surprised me with champagne, food and a celebratory chocolate cake (Celebrating both my publication and one of the other member’s Laurel Hislop’s publication of short stories)

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Laurel and I and our cake!

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We each got a certificate congratulating us for our publications

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Now I am looking forward to my official book launch which will be held on January 14, 2015, hosted by the Greek Consul General at the Hellenic Community Centre in Vancouver.

https://www.prbuzz.com/books-publishing-literature/263491-honorary-consul-of-greece-to-host-book-launch-for-shadow-of-the-lion-blood-on-the-moon.html

There will be readings from SHADOW and some poetry by Greek/Canadian award winning poet/publisher Manolis Aligizakis.  I’ll even be signing some books!

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My very first book signing in Wales in September.

(The gold Horus pen is from Egypt.  The Egyptians referred to Alexander as Horus the Wise Prince)