Drum roll! This is a Story Bazaar announcement.
The second and final book in the Al Andalus series, the sequel to Reconquista, will be published later this year, just in time for Christmas. The final section of The Silver Rings, for that is its title, is going to the editor now and a graphic designer, who also happens to be a Clapham resident, Dan Mogford, is already working on the book cover.
Long time readers may recall that The Silver Rings (and variation, Rings of Silver) were two of the titles considered for the first book, but rejected as being too generic ( see Entitlement, on the search for a good book title ). Reconquista topped the readers’ poll and it filled all the criteria for a popular title except that it was in a foreign language, but this was thought to suggest the exotic, as well as placing the novel in historic Spain. So Reconquista the book became.
The silver rings in question, readers of the first book will know, belong to the friends at the heart of the story and, although one of the three friends is already dead at the start of Reconquista, his ring plays a very important part in the sequel. The rings are also used as identifiers, indeed, an unexpected ally is acquired when he sees one of the rings, and they are a symbol of one of the themes of the book – friendship.
A search on Amazon and Goodreads showed that there is, currently, only one other book with this title, an illustrated fantasy story for young children. I can live with that. It also threw up a reference to one of my own favourite stories when I was a child – The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier – the tale of Polish children escaping the Nazis in WWII, travelling across Europe to neutral Switzerland. If The Silver Rings is even half as captivating, and long-lasting, it will be a huge achievement, The Silver Sword is widely, and rightly, judged a children’s classic.
Over the coming month the text will be finalised, proof read and up-loaded and proof copies obtained. I suspect that process will take a while. I will be writing the cover blurb, incorporating endorsements from readers of the first book and its successes – long-listing for Children’s Novel of 2016 for example. So there’s still much work to do before publication. The Silver Rings will be available as an ‘e’ book (in all common formats) and paperback.
Will that be the last of the stories set in Al Andalus? Yes. This is the last readers will hear of the characters in the series, The Silver Rings has an epilogue, setting out what happens to them in the longer term (just so that the author is not tempted by them further). There is another tale set in that part of the world on The Story Bazaar drawing board, though this is set some two hundred and fifty years later during the Age of Discovery and will not be the author’s next publication.