I promised you an introduction to Ebony and Aubergine a few days ago. Since it is currently my favorite story, I thought, "What better way to celebrate three hundred posts?"
A question in a blog tag: Take your favorite novel and put it in a different time period; what changes? My reply: The Scarlet Pimpernel saves the Romanovs from the Bolsheviks.
Later I was re-reading several of the Scarlet Pimpernel books and started asking myself, "What would The Scarlet Pimpernel be like if it had been set in a medieval/pseudo-medieval world?"
These two things, plus several other random sparks, caught fire and a series started to take shape in my head.
As far as the physical influences for this story (models, costumes, names) it combines many of my favorite things. The models for the characters are Korean, Japanese and Chinese... inspiration for the countries comes from Korea, China, Japan, France, Britain and Turkey... the names are Arabic... the costumes are from all over Asia... lions, tigers, panthers, and jaguars appear... a city of refuge... swords....
Beautiful People interview with Iskandar and Zahira
Pinterest board for the series
The series title was one of the first things to come to me:
The Lion and the RoseOne man who could not ignore the call of chivalry- to protect the innocent. Who risked his life for scores of people he did not know in the name of compassion and humanity.
One woman who swore to rescue her family and friends from the revolutionaries, or die trying.
Their leadership became legend... the men and women who would follow them into death, heroes. And shining out above all, their great love for each other.
The first book:
Ebony and AubergineWhen revolution erupts in Damarul, the neighboring country of Cathenir is horrified. Yet, what can their diplomats do against a horde of people who thirst for the lives of the royals who oppressed them for so many years? For the moment, they will have to let the revolution take its course.
One person refuses to sit idle while men and women die every day in Damarul. He hatches a daring plot to save the imperiled royals. He works in secret, known only by the name of The Black Lion. He becomes the toast of Cathenir and the nemesis of the Damarul rebels.
Then the revolution spreads to the country of Manchongtar and soon the very flower of their royalty and nobility also languish in prison. Hundreds more people call to The Black Lion to be saved. He cannot be in two places at once. Enter The Aubergine Rose, a similar secret hero who begins rescuing people from Manchongtar. He knows the the court, the government and the land of Manchongtar thoroughly and always appears when and where he is least expected.
The countries of Damarul and Manchongtar are understandably livid. One burning ambition fires them, to catch the Lion and the Rose and make them pay for defying their new governments. But, how can they catch them when they don’t even know who the people are behind the secret identities or why they choose to daily risk their own lives to save people who have no claim upon them….
Iskandar Haidar Shakra
Superb with a sword or a dagger, a magnificent leader... inspiring undying loyalty in his followers. In society he is known as The Snow King and the Ladykiller. He has had pretty much every fashionable woman in the land at his feet. Until he meets....
Zahira Yasmin Baraniq
The Ice Queen... the Heartbreaker.... A Princess... the darling of two courts. The one woman in the land who can match him when it comes to cold, distant, reserved hearts beneath flippant surfaces.
Mustafa - the one who needs no words to know what Iskandar is thinking... the one born with the code of chivalry already ingrained in his brain....
Faris - the joker with a heart of gold....
Shahnaz - a prince... the quiet tease....
Haytham - the Eagle....
Aqil - a native of Damarul... the analyst, the linguist....
Lujayn - Zahira's closest friend, sensitive, observant....
Nur - only daughter, knowledgeable noblewoman....
Sanya - clever, quick wit and tongue....
Nazli - mistress of subterfuge and disguise....
Barakat -nobleman, martial artist, secretive....
Fatima - ambitious, watchful, daughter of a Sultan....
And, of course, I won't leave without giving you some snippets:
“I have followed you for many years. I do not intend to stop being your shadow now, not when you will need me more than ever.”
“Well, certainly the King uses the words pretty, charming and delightful in profusion, but it’s the first time I’ve ever heard him call someone striking or stunning.”
The double doors of the palace swung open and a veritable flood of young men rushed out and down the steps. Zahira’s smile threatened to spread off her slim face. They had all waited up for her.
“It will not be difficult to continue our already wifty facade.” Iskandar said, looking out over the window.
“Ayi, that is the easy part,” Faris said. “It is still in fashion, though not as popular as we could wish.”
“We’ll change that,” Iskandar winked at his friend.
I'm reveling in this story. It's that feeling writers have when they are just thrilled with the story they are currently working on. I'm savoring it, storing the feeling up against a time when it might decide to take a break from talking to me. *crosses fingers*
I hope you all enjoyed this introduction!
Miss Melody Muffin