#BlogTour #Extract ~ Court of Lions by Jane Johnson @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books

This book has such a beautiful cover the photos really don’t do it justice. I’m lucky enough to have a hardback copy which I will get to read eventually, in the meantime today I have an extract for you 🙂 x

Sometimes surrender is more courageous than resistance.

Kate Fordham arrived in the sunlit city of Granada a year ago. In the shadow of the Alhambra, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, she works as a waitress serving tourists in a busy bar. She pretends she’s happy with her new life – but how could she be? Kate’s alone, afraid and hiding under a false name.

And fate is about to bring her face-to-face with he greatest fear.

Five centuries ago, a message, in a hand few could read, was inscribed in blood on a stolen scrap of paper. The paper was folded and pressed into one of the Alhambra’s walls. There it has lain, undisturbed by the tides of history – the Fall of Granada, the expulsion of its last Sultan – until Kate discovers it.

Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever.

Court of Lions bridges time, interweaving the stories of a woman who must confront her unimaginable past and a man who must face an unthinkable future, bringing one of history’s great turning points to life in an epic saga of romance and redemption.

Court of Lions was published on 6th July 2017 by Head of Zeus – Purchase Amazon

About the Author

Jane is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for 30 years as a bookseller, publisher and writer.

In 2005 she was in Morocco researching the story of a family member abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa (which formed the basis for THE TENTH GIFT), when a near-fatal climbing incident (which makes an appearance in THE SALT ROAD) made her rethink her future! (The whole story is told on the website.)

She went home, gave up the office job in London, sold her flat and shipped the contents to Morocco. In October of that year she  married Abdellatif, her own ‘Berber pirate’, and now they split their time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains.

She still works, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins and the editor for (among others) George RR Martin (GAME OF THRONES), Sam Bourne, Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Sam Bourne (aka Jonathan Freedland), SK Tremayne (aka Sean Thomas) and Raymond Feist.

She was responsible for publishing the works of JRR Tolkien during the 1980s and 1990s and worked on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, spending many months in New Zealand with cast and crew. She has also written several books for children.

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And when it had become clear that she wasn’t going to say she loved him, he’d shaken her hand off and got to his feet. “What’s the point of this? There’s no point, is there? I might as well kill myself: then we’d see how much you cared.”
At the time Kate had almost laughed at his dramatics. Then she had felt angry at being on the end of such blatant emotional manipulation and told him he’d better go home. And so the evening had come to a rancorous ending. That had been the last time they’d spoken, and since then she’d felt increasingly guilty. An awful thought occurred to her now. What if he’d really meant it? What if he’d taken an overdose or something? It was, she told herself, a ridiculous case of catastrophic thinking.
But it had been three days …
In the end she couldn’t settle to anything. At lunchtime she excused herself from the office and took the train to East Molesey. It was November and the streetlights were already coming on by the time she reached the shop. People were muffled in scarves, heads down against the chill. The shop was locked and there was a CLOSED sign on the door. She cupped her hands against the window. Inside, the place looked gloomy and ramshackle without the glamour lent by the sparkling chandeliers. It looked like a junk shop, tawdry and untidy.
She stepped back. No lights were on in the flat upstairs, and she had no door key: James had always been unwilling to let her in there. “It’s a mess,” he would say. “I’ve got deliveries everywhere—there’s nowhere to sit down.” She tried the flat phone again and heard it ringing in the distance, echoing and mournful. His mobile went to voice mail.
Just down the road was a twenty-four-hour convenience store. “Hello!” she greeted the man behind the counter. “I was looking for James from the antiques shop?” She gestured vaguely to her left. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen him?”
The man was in his early twenties, with a curving, hawk-like nose and very white teeth. “Hi, I’m Yusuf,” he said with a grin. “Lucky James.” When she didn’t smile, he added, “I haven’t, not for a few days.”
Kate’s heart thumped. “He’s not answering his phone. I’m worried about him.”
“Right,” Yusuf said. “Hang on.” He came out from behind the counter, locked the door and flipped the OPEN sign to CLOSED. “Come on.”
She followed him out through the back of the shop, past towers of toilet rolls and stacked boxes, into a small courtyard brimming with potted herbs and heathers. At the far end a wooden door gave onto a grassy alleyway that led behind the other premises on the road. When they reached the back of what must be the antiques shop, Yusuf tried the gate, but it appeared to be bolted. “Okay, here goes.” He launched himself up and over the fence, which shuddered briefly under his weight with the groan of an old man with creaky knees. Then he was across the yard and rattling his way up the iron fire escape. He banged on the glass window of the door. “Hello? Hello in there?” He pressed his hands to the glass and peered in. “It’s a bit of a state,” he called back, “but there’s no body or smell or nothing.” He shifted along the fire escape, onto the horizontal iron drainpipe.
“Do be careful!” Kate called.
Moments later he scuttled back to safety again. “Unless he’s shut himself in the bathroom, I don’t think he’s in there.”
So where was he? Should she file a missing person report with the police: I’m his girlfriend and he’s always in contact? They would laugh at her: men were always going missing for a few days. Matty had done it all the time. But Matty was Matty, and James was … his polar opposite. It was the most attractive thing about him.
“I wouldn’t worry too much,” Yusuf said, vaulting lightly back over the creaking fence. “He does go off on buying trips, and to see his mum in Wales. And of course he’s always had an eye for a pretty lady. Can’t blame him for that. You look a lot like his last one.” And he winked at her.
Kate took a step back. “I expect that’s what he’s done, and forgotten to tell me.” She was so agitated she walked away without thanking him and by the time she remembered she was almost at the station.
When she got home, it was to find a message on her answerphone: James, suggesting a rendezvous the next day, his message cheery, as if nothing had happened. Relief flooded in. But as she put the receiver down, she remembered what Yusuf had said, about James going off to see his mother. In Wales.
But he told me she was dead.

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