I’m delighted to report that my latest novel, Xaghra’s Revenge, was published on July 25th 2017 by the publishers of my THE CHAOS OF MOKII surreal short story, Solstice Publishing.
So, what is XAGHRA’S REVENGE? Overall, it is a historical fantasy within which are contemporary political scenes such as in present-day Libya, horror, humour and a titanic and epic religious struggle. We have pirates, slavery, a harem, revenge and retribution.
In 1551 the Turkish buccaneer, Rais Dragut, sailed a pirate fleet to Gozo, abducted the population of 5000 and sailed them to North Africa.
The abducted were kept on the ships while Dragut won a siege against the Knights of St John at Tripoli. The surviving abducted were taken and sold into slavery at Constantinople, Tripoli and Tarhuna, Libya.
Some of the abducted had relatives on Malta sufficiently rich to buy them back, but most lost contact with their families.
Descendents of the original abductees live today in the Libyan town of Tarhuna.
One of the world’s most ancient buildings is on Gozo (Ggantija ‘temple’ at Xaghra, c. 3600-2500 BC) predates Stonehenge and the pyramids).
Both the spirits of the Gozitan abducted and of those Ottoman sailors and prisoners of war seek revenge but the time was never right. Finally, a man and woman, descended from key people involved in the 1551 travesty are thrown together in Lyon, France. The spirit of Gozo manipulates their relationship but the Ottoman spirit has other ideas.
The aim of the Ottoman spirit is to change the current historical timeline so that Suleiman wins the Siege of Malta in 1565 so that Christianity is beaten and dwindles.
Development of the novel
In Valetta, the Capital of Malta is a library dedicated to its history. I spent so many hours in that Melitensia library that it’s now built into the novel! Many trips as a researching tourist with my wife, and making friends with Maltese writers such as John Bonello and individual important locals such as Jimmy Farrugia and his wife, as well as British writers living on Gozo, helped me build up a feel for the country. I found ‘hidden’ tunnels and caves, and I always hug the world’s oldest building.
A few photographs:
Xaghra Ggantija temples. Over 6000 years old. Mostly buried and overgrown from Bronze age to 1827
1500s house in Xaghra
© all images taken by Geoff Nelder 2005 — they may be copied with my blessing as long as credit is given
Pre-publication Review by novelist Gladys Hobson
A historical fiction and fantasy by Geoff Nelder
Mid 16th Century Gozo, where the world’s most ancient building — the Gigantia temple at Xaghra — dwells in ruins, is the scene for the most outrageous episode in the history of Turkish buccaneering. Other than a few useless wrinklies, the entire population of Gozo, 5,000 men, women and children were carried off and kept onboard while Rais Dragut won a siege against the Knights of St John at Tripoli. The survivors were sold into slavery.
Nelder, in his unique style, uses this historical fact, and vivid magical Mediterranean settings, to weave his compelling contemporary fantasy, drawing the past into the present with mind-boggling paranormal happenings, his characters’ extrasensory perceptions, downright horror and kinky humour. Magic and mystery? More than that!
Murder, rape and mayhem! The story’s dramatic beginning takes place in the mid 16th Century Gozo, the three dimensional cast includes a Christian couple (Stjepan and Lydia), their infant Peter, Turkish buccaneers and Barbary corsair Rais Dragut. And importantly — the finding of a piece of stone bearing the likeness of a local ancient goddess.
Then in a change of scene, we are thrust into more familiar territory of Europe in the 21sst Century. Somewhat fickle-lover Reece is thrown (literally) into a relationship with a feisty, gorgeous damsel with nut-brown hair. But who is doing the pushing and matchmaking? Is Reece the secret agent he claims to be, in spite of his bumbling? What is the mystery concerning the sexy, boutique owner, Zita? Both of the partners with ancient bloodlines of Mediterranean origins.
It is a mistake to think the obvious, Nelder is too clever for that. Intrigue, fantasy, sexual encounters create literary magic, and transport us back and forth through time, holding the reader’s attention until the final END.
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Author of: When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes,.Blazing Embers, When Angels Lie, Desire, Seduction By Design, Checkmate
John Bonello, an award-winning Maltese author:
“A gripping tale, masterfully written that keeps you wanting for more with every line you read.”
The awards he won are:
2011 – First prize in the National Book Award, prose for young adults with ‘L-Aħħar Ħolma’
2013 – First prize in the National Book Award, prose for young adults with ‘Is-Sitt Aħwa’
The whole book bulges with imagery. The world’s oldest building, pirate ships, Malta’s glorious mellow limestone fortifications, the final scene where a murmuration of good and evil spirits battle in the sky and Lidia, an abductee victim but also a fighter for freedom.
Lidia as captive – says it all especially with the revenge in the title
picture by John Keane
Another of Lidia this by Anita Kovacevic
A picture by the professional artist Daniel Dociu – already taken but I couldn’t afford his prices. If an amateur with reasonable prices for a poor author can do something similar than get in touch!The award-winning artist, Andrew Bigwood, who created the fabulous artwork for my ARIA Trilogy has agreed to work on a cover – front and back – for Xaghra’s Revenge. He created the Maltese font for the h in Xaghra.
Xaghra’s Revenge on Kindle can be viewed here
For the paperback please click here.
Please email me geoffnelderATyahooDOTcom if you’d like a signed copy of this or any of my novels.
Others can be found on my Amazon author page here.
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