Book: Angels of Istanbul
Series: Arising #2
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover artist: Simone
Publication date: March 27, 2017
Length: 303 pages
Wallachian nobleman Radu is recently arrived in Bucharest with his vampire parents. Welcomed as an eligible bachelor, he’s introduced to the enchantress Ecaterina, whose salon is Bucharest’s centre of magical expertise.
But when Ecaterina’s brother dies of a mysterious new plague, it’s clear to Radu that his parents have not been idle. Soon Bucharest is in the grip of an undead epidemic—a less than ideal time for Ottoman Sultan Mahmud, Wallachia’s overlord, to call Bucharest’s nobility to assemble their armies in Istanbul for a holy war against Britain.
The Wallachians have long resented their Ottoman overlords, so Radu seizes the chance to eliminate them while also ridding Bucharest of the undead: he leads an army of vampires to Istanbul and sets them to feed on the Turks.
As Radu’s demons gut the city of Istanbul, their plans become horribly clear. This is only the start. With the Ottoman armies under their control, the undead are poised to suck the life out of the whole world. Radu, his lover Frank, and Ecaterina are appalled at what they’ve unleashed. But they may be too late to stop it.
When I was eight or so, I went with my father to Istanbul. It was a very touristy trip – one of those package deals where you get breakfast and dinner at the hotel and only have to fend for yourself over lunch. My dad liked to travel mainly because he liked to travel, but he also held that it broadened the mind, and I think he was right in that.
By © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro /, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16774952
I loved Istanbul because it was so very different from anything I'd experienced before. I loved waking up to hear the call of the muezzin. My father told me it was the call to prayer, like the sound of church bells ringing, and it seemed to me – even to a youngster who had been raised as an atheist – a magical thing. It was an intrusion on the every day from a realm larger and more wonderful than the mundane. How wonderful then that it should occur five times a day, taking our minds from our dull lives for a moment and setting them on the divine.
As an aside, I attempted to describe the call to prayer in Angels of Istanbul and rather puzzled my editor in the process. I said it was an earthy, woodwind sound, a sound like the taste of cumin. While I acknowledge that sounds can't taste of anything, I maintain that the whole point of metaphors is to describe one thing by comparing it to something else, so I stand by that description. You can see if you agree by listening to this.
I've always been a very mystical kind of person – nervy and prone to sensing the numinous. At that age my imagination found churches to be gloomy morbid horror shows of cold stone and dead bodies and memento mori. But I loved the mosques – so beautiful, so white and clean, so full of light and colour. This, I thought, was what a holy place ought to feel like.
We naturally did a tour of Topkapi, the Sultan's palace and administrative centre, and ooh, the treasury really blew me away. I was a child, remember, and everything that glittered and was gold was hugely impressive to me. I got a brass dagger with yellow crystals to take away as a souvenir.
By contrast, down in the town I loved the bazaar, especially the tiny out of the way perfume shops, the (to my mind rather disappointing) sweet shops and all the places to drink tea. My father would get a shave at one of the barber shops, and we would get lunch from one of the many, many places selling snacks. I particularly liked the curry wraps we got from a man cooking in the middle of the street using a tiny terracotta burner with a dustbin lid balanced on top of it as a griddle.
I think it probably was that trip which gave me a life-long affection towards Istanbul and a sense that life in the Ottoman Empire would probably have been no bad thing. It was certainly that trip to which I owe the inspiration for Angels of Istanbul. Like Zayd, I too have stood on a ship on the black waters of the Bosphorus and watched the bloom of jellyfish come up from the depths, convinced that something magical was occurring.
I hope that when you read Angels of Istanbul you can feel some of the same thing. It's a beautiful city. I feel bad about having put it even in imaginary peril!
About Alex Beecroft
Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.
Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.
Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.
Connect with Alex:
- Website: alexbeecroft.com
- Blog: alexbeecroft.com/blog
- Facebook: facebook.com/AlexBeecroftAuthor
- Twitter: @Alex_Beecroft
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/Alex_Beecroft
To celebrate the release of Angels of Istanbul, one lucky winner will receive $10 Riptide credit and their choice of ebook from Alex’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 1, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!