The Silk Roads

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Highlighting Historical Romance today with Jude Knight and Follow Your Star Home.

The Silk Roads, a tangled interweaving network of routes that linked Europe to the Far East, formally opened for trade during the Han Dynasty of China, that is, more than 2,300 years ago. It used parts of the Royal Road, which was even older.

The Persian ruler, Darius 1, established the Royal Road to link the far reaches of his empire with his capital (now Susa, in present-day Iran). From his throne, he could send messengers to and from the Mediterannian Sea, to North Africa via Egypt, and to the subcontinent of India.

Called the Silk Road by a German historian in the 1870-s because of the popularity of Chinese silk as a trading item, the Silk Roads carried trade of all kinds: fruit and vegetables, rich spices, livestock and slaves, grain, leather and hides, tools, religious objects, artworks, precious stones and metals, paper, ceramics, glass and gunpowder (all invented by the Chinese).

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More importantly, perhaps, the caravans that travelled the route spread language, culture, ideas, religious beliefs, philosophy, and science. And other things, too. Some of the most drastic changes in medieval history happened because Europe lost one third of its population to plague, which spread along the Silk Roads from the steppes of Central Asia to Iran, the Middle East, Egypt and Europe. Arguably, the shortage of labour shifted the balance of power from the propertied classes to peasants and labourers. Women, too.

‘Don’t hurtle into marriage too soon… one who earns her board and clothes shouldn’t scurry to suffer a man’s rod… Though wedlock I do not decry, unyoked is best! Happy the woman without a man!’

(Anna Bijns, of the Low Country, in a poem written at the time.)

The Italian city states of Venice, Siena, and Genoa built their fortunes on trade with the Far East via the Silk Roads.

In 1453, the Ottoman Empire took control of the routes through its territory and that of its vassal states. They didn’t stop trade with Europe entirely. They did tax it heavily. Spain and Portugal – and later the Dutch and the English – turned their eyes to the West. Surely they could sail to the Far East by heading West, and avoid the Ottoman taxes and the long land journey?

In a sense, the Silk Roads led directly to the discovery of the Americas.


FYSH-800-x-12801-188x300 Author's Blog Highlighting History About the Book: Follow Your Star Home

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

The Bluestocking Belles are proud to present eight never before published novellas in their latest Holiday collection. As always, we will donate some of the proceeds of the box set to a cause dear to the hearts of the Bluestocking Belles, women’s education. 25% of all proceeds will be donated to the Malala Fund.

Jude’s novella, Paradise Regained, is set in the Kopet Dag mountains north of Iran. Silk Road routes skirted the mountains on both sides and snaked through them. The year is 1794, and though the Silk Roads had long been closed to Europe, trade and travel between the Middle East and the Far East was far from over. Jude’s hero and heroine have established a kingdom in the mountains and a business protecting caravans from bandits and marauding tribes.

$2.99 US for this massive book while on preorder. Price to go to $3.99 after publication.

Preorder on Amazon

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Preorder on Kobo

Preorder on Smashwords

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Jude-Knight-200x300 Author's Blog Highlighting History About the Author

I have always loved telling stories, mostly for the benefit of children in need of entertainment, or to amuse myself while waiting (six children mean a lot of waiting), or to continue to live in a book world after I had closed the covers.

In 2014, the first of my strong determined historical heroines, heroes who appreciate them, and villains you’ll love to loathe made their way into the covers of Candle’s Christmas Chair.

A dozen books later, the wind fills my sails and many more plots jostle for daylight. My great desire is to sell enough of my books to leave the day job and write full-time. If you like what I do, I’d love you to spread the word.


4 thoughts on “The Silk Roads

  1. Great newsletter for lovers of history—-Er—Historical Romance!!! Yes! Give us the background with a few in-depth details we might not know, then present us with a book built on that background! It really whets one’s appetite for the book! As I have enjoyed some of Jude’s other books, I will certainly pre-order this one!

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