Iran in Turmoil

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Jude Knight on Central Asia, the Silk Road, and turmoil in Iran.

When I began to write Paradise Regained, prequel to my Children of the Mountain King series, I didn’t have much of a clue about the location. The plot required that my hero and heroine live in Central Asia, somewhere along the Silk Roads, but boy, did I need to research.

Half a dozen books, scores of academic research papers, and quite a bit of Sufi medieval poetry later, I’d nailed down the place and the time.

1794 in the Western calendar was a tumultuous year in Iran, which we in the West persisted in calling Persia, after the practice of the ancient Greeks. The short-lived Zand dynasty took its last gasp that year, to be superseded by a rival clan, the Qajars.

The rivalry for supremacy in Iran was brutal. The founder of the new dynasty was known as the eunuch monarch. Āghā Moḥammad Qajar was castrated when young to prevent him from becoming a political rival to the then reigning Afsharid dynasty.

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Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar

Instead, what was then seen as disqualifying someone from supreme leadership seemed to inspire Āghā Moḥammad to greater efforts. He was a political hostage for much of his young adulthood, but escaped when Karīm Khan Zand died, and spent ten years fighting his own relatives to unite his clan.  By 1786, he was the head of the tribe that controlled northern Iran.  He spent the next eight years at war with the last of the Zand kings, finally capturing the ruler and having him killed in 1794.

He was crowned as shāhanshāh (king of kings) in 1796, but was assassinated the following year. The story goes that he grew annoyed when two of his servants argued loudly in his hearing. He ordered them executed, but since it was the evening of the holy day, he commanded them back to their duties until the next day.

You can’t say he lacked confidence, but in this case it lead him astray.

During the night, the servants stabbed their master, and took the crown jewels to a powerful prince who offered them his protection.

Nonetheless, the Shah was succeeded by his nephew, and his dynasty ruled Iran until 1929.

All of this formed the background to a minor plotline in Paradise Regained. The father of my heroine is a minor Zand khan, that is, ruler of what we would now call a province. In the turmoil that followed the death of the king, he flees to his daughter’s mountain kingdom in the Kopet Dag mountains, through which runs the border between Iran and Turkmenistan. He is closely pursued by Qajar troops, who settle outside the gates.

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About the Book

Paradise Regained

In discovering the mysteries of the East, James has built a new life. Will unveiling the secrets in his wife’s heart destroy it?

James Winderfield yearns to end a long journey in the arms of his loving family. But his father’s agents offer the exiled prodigal forgiveness and a place in Society — if he abandons his foreign-born wife and children to return to England.

With her husband away, Mahzad faces revolt, invasion and betrayal in the mountain kingdom they built together. A queen without her king, she will not allow their dream and their family to be destroyed.

But the greatest threats to their marriage and their lives together is the widening distance between them. To win Paradise, they must face the truths in their hearts.

Paradise Regained is the free prequel novella to The Children of the Mountain King, which starts with To Wed a Proper Lady.

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About the Author

Jude Knight, proud New Zealand native and brilliant writer, says she writes “historical fiction with a large helping of romance, a splash of Regency, and a twist of suspense. I then try to figure out how to slot the story into a genre category. I’m mad keen on history, enjoy what happens to people in the crucible of a passionate relationship, and love to use a good mystery and some real danger as mechanisms to torture my characters.”

You can find more about Jude and her books here:

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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