There it was, the island of Gozo, smaller than many British cities, but set like a jewel in a caerulean sea under a near-permanently blue sky. What a fantasy island for rain and grey-soaked Brits and the complications of having to fly to Malta first then a ferry hop to Gozo just added to the charm and helps keep it less busy than its neighbours.
However, such beauty belies a horrendous past. In 1551 the entire population of around 5,000 were snatched by Ottoman pirates and taken to be sold as slaves or taken to harems. My Xaghra’s Revenge novel is the only one I know of that devotes a whole book to this event and follows the life of one woman, Lidia, and her little family. Stjepan became transformed from a dirt-scratching farmer, to a galley rower, sold in a desert auction in Libya and after a daring escape… spoiler! His wife Lidia experienced the shame and ignominy of being taken to a seraglio in Constantinople as a harem girl.
Blurb: A modern woman is descended from pirates while her lover came from their abductees? Or the other way round?
Vengeance Island is set in Malta, Gozo, France, Libya, and a harem in Constantinople.
Xaghra’s Revenge ran out of time in its contract with Solstice Publishing earlier in 2020 so after a few revisions I have self-published it as Vengeance Island. An ebook at first it is galleons cheaper than its earlier incarnation at less than a dollar / pound.
If you didn’t get around to reading this gripping true tale, with added extras, now is your chance.
It’s available on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle at this link: