Set in Tunisia and France in 1935, Dido's Crown is a taut literary-historical adventure influenced by Indiana Jones, The Thin Man, and John le Carré.
Mary Wilson MacPherson has always been adept at putting the past behind her: her father's death, her sister's disappearance, and her complicated relationship with childhood friends Tom and Will. But that all changes when, traveling to North Africa on business for her husband, Mary meets a handsome French-Tunisian trader who holds a mysterious package her husband has purchased — a package which has drawn the interest not only of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, but the Nazis as well.
When Tom and Will arrive in Tunisia, Mary suddenly finds herself on a race across the mesmerizing and ever-changing landscapes of the country, to the shores of southern France, and all across the wide blue Mediterranean. Despite her best efforts at distancing herself from her husband's world, Mary has become embroiled in a mystery that could threaten not only Tunisian and British security in the dangerous political landscape of 1935, but Mary's beliefs about her past and the security of her own future.
Publication Date: September 29, 2016
Paperback; 340 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary
Happy to share an excerpt from Dido's Crown today, enjoy.
As he stood back to survey his handiwork, someone rattled the door below. Will walked over and twitched the curtain, peering down into the alley. "It's Saidini," he whispered without turning. "And he looks spectacular."
"How the hell does he know we're here?" Tom dug into the pocket of his now-ruined coat, searching in vain for his gun. "Bugger," he muttered.
Will whispered, "Stay where you are. Keep your mouth shut."
Tom blinked. A sharp knock and Will's imperious look kept him silent.
Will opened the door, allowing a dark-haired man to step in. Alain Saidini was indeed spectacular, in a crisp cream linen suit and sea-blue shirt open at the collar, his hair newly oiled and his cufflinks sparkling. He was in fact cinema-star handsome, with smooth olive skin, dark eyes, and a broad, charming smile. The only thing marring the elegance of his face was the crookedness of his nose, the result of what must have been quite a fistfight, but this served to throw the near-perfection of his other features into sharp relief.
"What happened?" Alain asked, looking between them with a mixture of concern and exasperation. His accent was a melodic blend of French and Arabic, with a hint of the East Riding around the edges. When they'd first met him, he explained that he had learned English from a Yorkshireman in the trenches during the war; Tom, despite himself, found it charming.
"My friend here got a bit carried away at a party," Will said with a shrug. "You understand."
Alain chuckled. "Must have been quite a party. I'm sorry I missed it."
"How did you find us?" Will asked.
Alain ignored him and turned to Tom, whose makeshift bandage was already growing red again. He pulled back the bandage Will had just applied. "You'll live, keep pressure on it," he said. "And what about you?" He nodded at Will, who, unaccountably, blushed.
Alain raised his eyebrows.
"I'm fine. What are you doing here?"
Alain leaned against the door, his arms folded. "It took some doing to pay off the gendarmes. You owe me three thousand francs, by the way."
"How did you know?" Will asked.
"I heard two dashing Englishmen ran into some trouble outside the attaché's party. I naturally assumed it was you."
Tom mustered the strength to roll his eyes. Will turned away and fidgeted with the curtains. "How did you find us?" Will asked.
Alain smiled, pushing away from the door and adjusting his cufflinks. "I know everything that happens here. By the way, the Germans left via the new port; I couldn't tell you where they're heading, but I know they're not far off the coast."
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A member of the Historical Novel Society and former reviewer for the Historical Novels Review, Julie lives in the Bay Area with her husband and rescue cats, and loves reading, following the San Francisco Giants, and enjoying the amazing natural beauty of Northern California. Her forthcoming historical adventure novel, Dido's Crown, will be released in September 2016. Oleanna, short-listed for finalists in the 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition, is her second novel. The Pilgrim Glass, a finalist in the 2005 Faulkner-Wisdom competition and semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, was published in 2010.
For more information, please visit Julie K. Rose's website.
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