At first I wasn’t entirely sure what Ethan and his family would be up to after their escape in The Three Emperors. To Russia’s St. Petersburg, yes, but what would they desire and what would they fear?
So I began reading and traveling. Two separate trips took me first to Istanbul, known to Europeans as Constantinople in Ethan’s day, and then St. Petersburg and Moscow. What emerged was a journey through an area many readers are less familiar with: Eastern Europe from Russia to Turkey.
With mysterious and beautiful Transylvania along the way.
It wasn’t long before I was caught up in the power politics of 1806-1807, in which Napoleon hoped to enlist the Ottoman Empire and Persia to outflank his Russian enemies in the south. Making friends with the sultan was typical Bonaparte boldness, given that he had invaded the Ottoman province of Egypt and fought the Turks less than a decade before.
Yet he pulled it off. With the help of Ethan Gage, of course.
But what the devil was Ethan doing in Topkapi Palace? Well that led me to the Russian-Prussian dismemberment of Poland, the historic significance of the Grunwald Swords, and a relic from ancient Troy reputed to have conveyed invincibility on empires that held it. Could I connect the dots? And how about my hero’s family past?
It helped that the historical characters that populate The Trojan Icon are so fascinating, from the weird family of Alexander I to the French sultana, a slave girl impressed into the Ottoman harem who became mother to one of that empire’s most successful sultans.
It was an embarrassment of riches, made more powerful by Russian mysticism, legends of evil, and Ottoman machinations. Ethan, Astiza, and Harry truly step through the looking glass into odd, treacherous worlds in this one.
It took longer than I preferred to make this adventure available. First, my former publisher wasn’t interested in continuing the series and so I debated plunging ahead while I detoured to some other book projects. Then time was spent considering other publishers, and then in preparing the book myself. No reader has been more impatient than me to see what Ethan would be up to next.
I hope you enjoy Ethan’s tumultuous journey. It left me breathless.