At the end of book three Córdoba had been sacked by Berber armies, the Golden Age was over, and a once united country had split into numerous small states, called taifas. I looked at the history of the period (early 11th century), and thought it was impossible to make a coherent story from it; the rulers changed with such regularity, some only reigning a few months, others a couple of years. It was a tumultuous time for the once peaceful land of al-Andalus.
A Caliph who should have ruled from Córdoba, but decided to establish the taifa of Málaga instead.
His sons sent into exile by the Caliph’s uncle, who seizes the throne on his brother’s death.
A ruler who threw his own brother into jail and murdered his brother-in-law, and a wife who murdered her husband to avenge her brother’s death.
Besides the various internecine conflicts, there were taifas such as Seville who were growing larger and stronger, year by year, by conquering their Muslim neighbours.
And then there were the Christian princes who had their eyes on the Muslim gold. It was a time of intrigue, murder and a lust for power. It had the perfect ingredients for a historical novel.
When The City of Dreams trilogy opens, twenty-two years have passed, some of the family have died, others have grown, married and have children of their own. And it is these family members who moved to Málaga to start a new life. They expect peace and prosperity, but almost immediately Makoud, who is now an apothecary, finds himself involved in the suspicious death of the Caliph.
The new series is available in paperback, on Kindle and as audiobooks. It is also being translated into Spanish and Portuguese.