Just finished The Ring of Flames – last in the al-Andalus series


Until I got started I never believed I’d have enough  material to write a third book about the Omayyad caliphs in Córdoba. I was wrong. One tiny detail of research opened up a new avenue for a complete novel. What was it? It was the realisation that the caliph al-Hisham II, who featured so tragically in book two, The Eye of the Falcon, didn’t die in 1013 as I had originally thought. He’d disappeared. Well that’s a whole different story. Where did he go? Who helped him? If he escaped from the city, how did he do it? Or did he die and they just didn’t find the body? The latter is unlikely because it seemed to be the custom at the time that when someone was deposed and executed, their head was stuck on a pole at the city gates for everyone to see. No such thing happened to al-Hisham. So where was he? Well to find out, you’ll need to read book three of the al-Andalus series, The Ring of Flames.

The years of civil war that followed the death of the strong and ruthless al-Mansur were long and bloody, as one pretender after another tried to take over the caliphate, ostensibly ruled by the weak and infirm al-Hisham II. From 1009 until 1031 AD the country was in turmoil.

The Ring of Flames is the story of three brothers: Rafiq, a soldier, Qasim, a doctor and Ahmad, a falconer. They live in Córdoba at the beginning of the 11th century, a time of uncertainty, flood, disease and civil war. The rightful ruler of the country, al-Hisham II, the Omayyad caliph, is locked in his palace and isolated from his government and his people. When the Regent, al-Mansur dies, there is no longer a strong man to rule the country and one by one the pretenders for the throne make their challenge.
The three brothers find their loyalties in conflict when al-Hisham is thrown into jail and a new caliph is on the throne. Led by Ahmad they do all they can to help al-Hisham.
Finally al-Hisham is reinstated to the throne but the city is surrounded and Córdoba is under siege. As they struggle to survive in the besieged city, with no food, little water and no means of escape, the brothers come up with a plan. One way or another they must escape from the city but Ahmad refuses to go unless they take the caliph with them.

Book Three in the al-Andalus series will be published in paperback on 18th September 2017 but if you can’t wait that long you can pre-order a Kindle copy now from Amazon and it will be available on 28th July in time for your summer holidays.


Joan Fallon is a writer and novelist living in Spain.