384 pages, 6x9 paperback.
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A Journey Written In Blood An epic novel of historical adventure, travel, swords and alien vampires. In the 17th century, Alexander Corvina learns the art of the sword in Japan; then travels to Tibet and persuades his fullblood father Lucien Arkanon to rejoin the world of mankind. They share adventure and danger on the road as they and their family travel toward France. Yet their adventures have only just begun as they encounter a new kind of adversary: a goldthirsty mercenary who wants to wipe out all their kind. A literary treat for all history and fantasy lovers, the book includes maps tracing our heroes' route over land through the wilds of the Eurasian continent. A stand alone novel in the Heirs of The Dragon's Blood series. ♦
About the book: When I realized that I had to write a backstory for my amazing characters and their adventures, I knew that there was going to be a lot of work involved. For one thing I already had a raft of characters, all of whom who stood behind me and yelled dictation into my ear while I sat busily typing. There were times when I had to get up and yell back that I was the author, not them. But I felt that I would have to go about the project in increments as I was about to dive into a great deal of historical research.
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Mind you that there are thousands of libraries in the United States, not all of which can hold all the books I had to delve through to find my jewels of history. Historical knowledge about the countries and the atmosphere I wanted to write is not common as much of it stays firmly ensconced across the pond. No matter, I told myself. The joy is not in the research but in the discovery.
And when I was busily typing away and the flow of the story took hold, I reached 332 pages and then some when I realized I would have to break it somewhere and publish the rest as a sequel. After all, I was not writing War and Peace. We don't know how much of his story Tolstoy had to trim away, and I did not want to overwhelm the reader with too much data. The richness of this plot ranks amongst the kind of biblical potboilers Sir Lew Grade wrote, so I edited it heavily, trimmed off some extraneous passages I dearly loved and cut it off at 83 chapters. The rest continues in the next book, Swords of The Dragon's Blood; and that book currently holds at another 332 pages.
A Journey Written In Blood is about the journey of Alexander Corvina and his remarkable father Lucien Arkanon. They have not seen each other since Alexander was left with his two adoptive aunts as an infant, while Lucien retreated into isolation to escape the demons plaguing him. Alexander grew into a stalwart Englishman during the reign of Elizabeth I. Though well educated and able to survive on his own, he always felt as if a piece of him had departed into the unknown with his father. He turned into a vampire on his own also, having been born with the active gene. After losing his first love to the ravages of his uneducated need, he fled England and went on a long sea voyage, served several masters and learned the way of the sea. In 1645 his ship landed on the eastern shore of Honshu Island, Japan, then called Nihon; where he traded goods with various merchants among the English and Portuguese colonies. Armed with this story as a rough outline, I begin the story when Alexander, having seen the skills of the samurai who fought openly at the drop of a hat, decided that he wanted to learn how to fight like that from the best. Everything else was icing on the cake.
I had to craft a story which would both educate people about history and the historical context of the adventures. Basically, A Journey Written In Blood is a story about the outsider trying to fit in at a time when everything was changing as the world emerged from the darkness of superstition and religious persecution. Alexander and Lucien are both of the same blood, yet they think somewhat differently. In terms of fitting in, Alexander is better at that than Lucien, who is from a different world altogether. Yet, Lucien is far more understanding of the new world he lives in than Alexander, who is often surprised at both the beauty and savagery of the world he was born to. Together, they make a force for good as best they can; rescuing those in need and in the process changing the status quo. They use their powers sparingly, preferring to rely on their wits. For his part, Lucien has trained himself to excercise uncommon restraint against injustice; while his mortal enemy proves to be his twin brother, who is his mirror image and polar opposite in many respects.
As they plan to find a place to settle and restore a lost dynasty, Alexander and Lucien travel from country to country and meet many different characters along the way. A few of these I made up from whole cloth and the history I read, while others are actual historical figures with whom I took some liberty in weaving my characters into the historical narrative.
For example: my adoption of the story of "The Letter to The Sultan of Turkey", a piece of art which has no provenance save for the painting itself and the translation of the letter. It fit in completely with the culture and the hero of the time, and since the Turks were involved in that part of Europe I felt it wholly appropos. It is also a piece of the humor I inject from time to time because the story was so grim and dark in places that I felt it would be too depressing for the reader. The Renaissance was not so much spring bliss as it was constant war and chaos.
Another piece was the story of the Burgomeister of Oradea. I wanted to fill in the blank made by the ravages of the Turks through the Hungarian and Romanian territories. I found two maps of the region at two different times around that year (1647). One showed a dotting of villages all over Transylvania and Wallachia. The later one showed nothing, which probably meant that the villages had all been either pillaged or relocated into the larger towns. Oradea, a town built by the Romans, was the only way across the river into Hungary. I was unable to find anything more about Oradea than that. So I made up a story of the Burgomeister as a young artist conscripted into the Hungarian army; who became instrumental in fomenting a rebellion and rescuing his home town from the Turk garrison occupying it. How he does it is quite accidental, aided by Alexander and Lucien.
The journey across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe was made mostly over land. This afforded me the opportunity to present the different peoples and cultures Alexander and Lucien meet along the way. I have also tried to preserve the classical theme of Stoker's Dracula throughout without adopting it altogether; while preserving the heroism of the prince of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes Dracula, who remains a folk hero in Romania to this day. ♦
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