Thursday, 12 December 2013

The fourth and final of the Shuki books.

The fourth and final of the Shuki series is in progress.

Tentatively called 'The Unauthorised Biography,' tentative finish date April, 2014, tentative publication date, August 2014.  


Followers of Shuki will remember at the end of Shuki 3 (To Love and To Protect)  Shuki moved himself and his family to a different place, a safe place - country Australia. He is now with Zahu, Hasquitri's second son, and he has his four wives and two of his stepchildren living with him.
Shuki treasures his family, and is very proud of the home he has created for his family. He is a Lecturer at Leverson University (based on Armidale University in NSW) and they live on a property not far from a small town called Bellerusse (based on Uralla, NSW.)  He calls himself Sam Ray, as the name of Shuki Bolkiah has become too well known for his comfort.
 It is a lovely area of the country, but it can be very frosty on winter mornings.


And they have space, space to ride horses, space for Zahu to hunt the wild pigs, space for the wives to expand their interests. They call their property Marrin.

Complications arise, Prince Nasir, first son of King Feroz,  comes to live with them for a year.  It is to be a part of his education. He is supposed to be anonymous, not treated with any special distinction.

And in Elbarada, Shuki finds his brother, Mwai, and his sister, Pazhiria.

And then there is Meriam, beautiful and intelligent, just sixteen. She is Pazhiria's youngest daughter, but she is disgraced, unmarried, pregnant, and in danger of being put to death for dishonouring her family. So Shuki brings her to Marrin.

But Meriam looks so much like Shuki and that brings its own complications.

Here is an excerpt.  Remember that this is a work in progress, and things may change. Nasir might even find himself written out, but Meriam will not. 

Excerpt from Shuki 4.

Fifteen minutes later, Rania escorted Meriam to the room where the men were gathered. Again, she was wearing a niquab over a thicker version of the makrebi, stark black like a chador. But Hasquitri swore, said that he couldn't stand women got up as parcels, and pulled down the face-mask. 
Meriam's hands went to her face, but he quite gently pulled them down and ordered, "Look at me, girl."

Meriam timidly raised her eyes, and he touched her face and said wonderingly, "She's just like Shuki."

Zahu was staring. He'd never seen Shuki when he was young, but he'd seen photos. She was just like Shuki, like Shuki as he'd been in his teens. Such long eyelashes. He wanted to caress. He'd forgotten that this was a girl and a stranger. It was like a younger incarnation of his love.

But then he shook himself. A physical likeness was no good reason to betray the one he cared about. And even if Shuki said that he could go his own way if he wished, marry and have his own children, he knew that it would distress him very much if he did. It was not like it had been to begin with. Then he had needed Shuki, but Shuki had not needed him. But now, they were together, and Shuki did need him. But this girl...

It was lucky that Hasquitri was too much absorbed in his own fascination with the girl's appearance to notice how his son had been affected. He was very protective of Shuki. He would have been furious if he'd thought that Zahu might hurt him. He asked, "Have they told you what is planned, Meriam?"

Meriam nodded and said, "Yes, Sir."

"I am Hasquitri Daoud. You address me as Master Hasquitri or just Master."

Meriam said in a voice even more faint, "Yes, Master Hasquitri."

"You are to go to a different country. Your uncle's wives will look after you."

Meriam felt a stir of curiosity. No-one had told her that he had wives. She hadn't thought that far ahead, only that she'd been so very bad that she just had to do whatever she was told. She didn't ask. She had her head down again, and didn't see Hasquitri's searching look, or Zahu, who still stared, fascinated and wishing he had known Shuki when he'd looked like this. Matuel as well. They all stared.

Hasquitri asked, "Have you seen your father, Meriam?" and Meriam shook her head. The last time she'd seen her father was through a haze of fists and noise. She never wanted him to be so angry with her again. She never wanted to be so bad again. He'd never hit her before.

Hasquitri said, "I might have to go and see him, I think. He needs to agree to your leaving."

Meriam said anxiously, "He's a good man, Master Hasquitri. He does what he thinks is right."

"He beat you half to death, girl. Is that right?"

Meriam didn't answer except to herself. It was right. She'd deserved it. She didn't know how she could face him ever again.

Rania asked, "Take her back to her room, Master?"

Hasquitri nodded, "Back to her room."

He watched after her thoughtfully. If he was allowed a fifth wife - to have someone like Shuki, so much like Shuki. And yet female and young. Even if she was a disgraced women. But he'd lose face if he took her. He'd lose face even if he allowed her to return home with him as a kitchen maid or something. He wondered how far along she was. Was it too late for an abortion? He guessed it was too late, no matter how far along she was. It was too late because people knew. The father had to be made to agree. Leaving this country with its strict code of morality - it was the only way. 

He dreamed about the girl that night, all mixed up with Shuki as he'd been. Shuki when they'd just been boys together, before he knew. He'd not always been nice to Shuki then. It had been because he was jealous that he was better at things than he was. But then he'd found out and things were different. He dreamed about making love with him except that then it was the girl, and he made a ceremony of burning her concealing clothing before turning to her. She was waiting for him, smiling... 

Zahu also dreamed about her. It was Shuki, and they were in the gorge, in the thick grass. He loved it there. They were together and he was making love with him. Underneath them was the thick robe because the grass was uncomfortable to lie upon. Was it Meriam then? He/she was face-down and he didn't quite know, but it felt so wonderful...

And then the other one was moaning with pleasure, as Shuki never did. He stroked over her back and there were no ridges of old scars. Her hair, long and glossy black. There were no strands of grey. It was Meriam.
Zahu woke. He was filled with guilt and he was filled with his want. Shuki slept peacefully, while Zahu started rubbing himself.  He would not be able to sleep otherwise. But even after he'd eased his body, he didn't sleep for a long time. It was hard to stifle his desire for the young girl with the face of his love.


When there is a heavy frost, always, the day after is clear and bright.  I am a believer in happy endings - just that I don't quite know yet what this ending will be.



  1. Very interrsting, cant wait for this book to be published.. I read all the shuki series, altough this is a very long story, Im very fascinated with shuki and it never gets boring.

    1. Thank you for your interest. The book is currently in the final stages of editing. I expect it to be available in September. Its name has changed - it is now to be called 'The Frost and the Sunshine.'