This latest novel is the story of the historical figure of Sultana Aisha, who's come down through history as Aisha la-Hurra, the mother of the last Moorish ruler of Granada called Boabdil in Spanish sources and the first wife of Muley Hacen. She's also known for her rivalry with Muley Hacen's second wife Isabel de Solis shaped Spain's future. Aisha also has a reputation as one of the great patriots of Moorish history. As her world altered, she wanted the women and children of Granada fighting to preserve the kingdom. Anyone who's familiar with fifteenth century Spain or watched the Spanish television series, Isabel, season two knows about these characters. Or so you think. As an aside, one of the things that has always disappointed me about the portrayal of Aisha on screen and frankly throughout history is that it's often presumed she was a jealous bitch, a harridan, a disloyal wife to her eventual husband. She was a woman with a cause, and justification for what she did can be found in her terrifying experiences.
In Sultana: The Pomegranate Tree, Aisha is more than a mother, wife, or patriot. She's a complex character, one of three sisters born to a Sultan without sons. She's born in a time where the borders of Moorish Spain have dramatically shrunk. The union of Aragon and Castile by the marriage of their respective monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella threatens Aisha's world. She endures drastic changes, but also initiates some of her own with varied consequences. She often finds herself torn between making the right or wrong choice, guided by her head and heart. She supported and thwarted by a cast of other characters including her own father Muhammad IX, her would-be-husband and lover Muhammad X, her enemies the Sultans Saad and Abu'l-Hasan Ali, and a slave girl from Castile, Isabel de Solis who later takes the name Soraya. There are powerful ministers, brutal clan rivalries, and strained relationships within Aisha's immediate family.
I've written about a period in Spanish history that is more popular and well-researched than the earlier periods of the first four novels. I hope readers will enjoy their time spent in Aisha's world. More information and links to ebook retailers can be found here.