Porphyry & Bones
In 1463, the Bosnian town of Jajce lies in a pile of smouldering rubble. From the wreckage, a young queen flees, carrying in her arms some of the most valuable possessions in all of Christendom: the relics of St Luke. It is here that Peter Sandham begins an exceptional piece of historical fiction, opening his story with a hard-to-forget image of a land scarred by war.
Peter Sandham’s Porphyry & Bones takes the reader back to an era of fifteenth century warfare. The novel follows the story of Anna Notaras, a young noblewoman forced from the fallen Byzantine empire to Venice, navigating through Mediterranean Europe. Anna’s world rapidly changes when an anonymous source begins publishing slander against her late father. Tasked with a mission of great import, Anna must undertake a journey burdened with great difficulty in order to uncover relics previously lost through conflict.
Meanwhile, the Valide Hatun Mara Brankovic and her diplomatic companion Hekim Yakub collaborate to uncover a traitor within the Sultan’s court; an individual who would prove potentially perilous to the Ottoman Empire. Both inhabit fragile positions that they have maintained through sharp intelligence and near-constant suspicion of those around them.
When the voyages of both factions lead them to cross paths, astonishing discoveries are made, both political and personal. And, when everything is at stake, Anna and Mara must persevere, all while confronting harsh reminders that trusting people in such a dangerous time may be done at the expense of their own freedoms, their reputations, or even their lives.
This novel has been written with great respect for its setting and characters, with engaging historical accuracy. Sandham’s characters are crafted authentically, breathing life into a narrative filled with mystery and power-politics.