Please Welcome Rebecca Hazell, Author of THE GRIP OF GOD with this amazing Guestpost.
While The Grip of God is entertaining and exciting, at least according to my reviews, I ended up a bit surprised by what happened when I finished writing it and saw what a reflection of a lost era it had become. While researching it and its sequelsI saw in graphic detail how the past sets the stage for the present, often in ways we don’t even recognize today. So much of our past is hidden from our view: in wars, for instance, the sides that won wrote the histories to glorify and even justify their victories, while the losers were dumped on the scrap heap of memory. And sometimes history is hard to trace: the anonymous person behind the scenes was never identified, records were lost or mistranslated, and events that influenced history were not recorded. Plus the so-called great people of history are often put on such high pedestals that we forget they might have had a headache or upset stomach on a key day and made decisions differently than usual!
I found lots of ways the Mongol invasions, and even their timing, influence us even today. Because of a rebellion by a tribe called the Kipchaks/Cumans/Polovtsy, the invasion of Europe was delayed, the Great Khan died toward the end of that belated invasion, and the Mongols had to go home to elect a new Kakhan. What would have happened if the invasion had come a year earlier? No European state was ready for the Mongol onslaught, and today we might be writing in a different alphabet and even speaking a different language! Okay, that may sound a bit far fetched, but we can certainly trace the Cold War and the aggressive/defensive stance of modern Russia to its being cut off by the “Mongol Yoke”, as my Russian émigré teacher used to cry.
But what about those anonymous people who either rarely or never get mentioned in the histories? I think they had an influence, too, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in large. So I cast my heroine, Sofia, as such a person. We’ve all had the experience of someone saying or doing something that changed our outlook and sometimes even our lives. She does just that, but in ways that history would never record. This begins early in her life, and in the sequels to The Grip of God, she does influence history in surprising ways. But first she must tell the beginning of her story: her capture, enslavement, and eventual escape. Her story is not a love story, though there’s love in it; it’s not just a coming-of-age story, though that happens; it’s not just a smart, savvy female Forrest Gump story of a little-known age, though you can learn a lot; most of all, I see it as a tribute to the power of the human heart.
About the book
Duncan, BC Canada: Award Winning Writer Rebecca Hazell Releases First Book in Trilogy of Historical Fiction Novels
Rebecca Hazell's The Grip of God, the first novel in an epic historical trilogy, is available on amazon.com and its affiliates and by special order through your local bookstore. The saga’s heroine, Sofia, is a young princess of Kievan Rus. Clear eyed and intelligent, she recounts her capture in battle and life of slavery to a young army captain in the Mongol hordes that are flooding Europe. Not only is her life shattered, it is haunted by a prophecy that catalyzes bitter rivalries in her new master's powerful family. She must learn to survive in a world of total war, always seeking the love she once took for granted.
Sofia's story is based on actual historical events that determine her destiny. Readers will delight in this very personal and engaging tale from a time that set the stage for many of the conflicts of today's world.
Praise for the trilogy
“How deftly and compellingly Hazell takes the reader with her into that mysterious and exotic world, and makes it all seem so very close to hand!” – Peter Conradi, Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature and author of Iris Murdoch: A Life, and of A Very English Hero.
"I enjoyed watching her morph from a spoiled sheltered princess with slaves of her own, into a tough, savvy survivor, with a new awareness of social injustice. The book is action packed. I couldn't put it down." -- from a review on Amazon.com.
"I got completely caught up in the characters and story and always looked forward to getting back to them. What a fully fleshed and fascinating world you developed and it was wondrous to learn so much about that time and the Mongol culture. Your gifts come out in your lush descriptions of place and objects. All very vivid and colorful." --author Dede Crane Gaston
The novel is available both in paperback and Kindle versions and through your local bookstore by special order. The subsequent two novels in the trilogy are scheduled for publication later this year.
About the author
Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases.
She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.
Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.
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