Thank you so much Meradeth for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about the release of my second historical romance ‘The Lion’s Embrace’. The novel is mostly set in North Africa in 1845, as the heroin Harriet Montague and the hero, French guide Lucas Saintclair, travel throughout
toward the Hoggar mountain range where Harriet’s father was abducted by a gang
of Tuareg fighters – or was he? Well, I can’t reveal too much of the plot here….Harriet’s
father, Professor Oscar Montague from the British Museum, was on the trail of
the legendary Garamantes’ emerald mines when he discovered the tomb of Tuareg
queen Tin Hinan. Algeria
I thought I would write a short post about Tin Hinan, the queen the Tuaregs still call ‘Our Mother’. Tin Hinan is rumoured to have come from what would now be
with her maid servant
Takamat. They settled at Abalessa, an oasis in Morocco Southern
Algeria, and their daughters are rumoured to be the founders of
all the Tuareg tribes. Her tomb was discovered by archaeologist and adventurer
Byron Khun de Prorok (I know, what a name!) in 1925.
In ‘The Lion’s Embrace’, the heroin’s father discovers the tomb in 1845 but the tomb is then closed up and left untouched. I kept all the details of the artefacts, of the gold, silver jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones which were found as accurate as possible and stuck very closely to the description of the remains of the Tuareg queen.
When her burial chamber was opened, archaeologists found the queen lying on a bed of hand-carved wood, facing toward the East. She was wrapped in a leather shroud, and wore fifteen solid silver and gold bracelets, a diadem made of emeralds, ostrich feathers and a long cornelian necklace. In the days before carbon dating, it was the imprint of a coin with the effigy of Emperor Constantine on a sculptured bowl which enabled historians to date the tomb from the 4th century AD. The body of Queen Tin Hinan as well as all the artefacts found in her tomb are now in the
in . Algiers
From the summit of the tomb, one can see the beautiful, mysterious Hoggar mountain range, particularly the great Koudia – which the Tuareg have named the ‘Roof of the
and where according to local legends, the King of the Djins (the King of the
Evil Spirits) lives. One can see the iconic
too. Mount Illiman
Even before her tomb was discovered, the numerous legends surrounding Queen Tin Hinan inspired Pierre Benoit to write his classic novel ‘Atlantide’, published in 1919. His heroin, Antinea, and her followers are descendants of the people of ‘Atlantis’ who had taken refuge in the Hoggar after a great disaster destroyed their world. Antinea lives in a palace hidden in the mountains, where she seduced and entrapped lost explorers to the
Recently there has been some controversy about the identify of the woman who was buried at Abalessa, with some historians now disputing that the remains belonged to Tin Hinan at all!
Whoever was buried there however was a woman of immense prestige and immense wealth.
Here is the blurb for ‘The Lion’s Embrace’
Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the
, the only man who can rescue
her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped
him. As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Barbary States with Saintclair and
Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching
but brutal land where nothing is what it seems. Who are these men intent on
stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg
queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or
is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive? Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s
heart in the heat of the Algeria Sahara. Secrets of
lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten
her life and the life of the man she loves.
Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?
Originally from Lyon in
Marie Laval studied History and Law at university there and developed a
passionate interest in historical research and the study of ancient
civilizations. The beauty and mysteries of the Sahara desert always fascinated
her and provide the background for THE LION’S EMBRACE, a story of adventure and
romance set in 1840s Algeria
Marie Laval now lives in Northern England with
THE LION’S EMBRACE is Marie Laval’s second novel.