Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Concluding the story of Shuki - modern day eunuch.

The Shuki Series

The Story of Shuki began in 'Not a Man,'  first published 2011.

The book was first seen on the writers' site, Authonomy, run by Harper Collins.  It won a great deal of attention, and there was an offer to publish at almost the same time as it reached the top five books on Authonomy, which earned it a professional review from Harper Collins.
The first paragraph of the Harper Collins review - ‘Not a Man’ is an ambitious and insightful novel; it tells the story of Shuki, a young boy from the slums of Elbarada, a fictional area of Arabia, who is castrated against his will at the age of 10. Shuki’s journey is one of great trial but also incredible strength, courage, and determination, and as a hero, he is fantastic, evoking not only sympathy, but aspiration and reverence. I loved the fact that the operation which is supposed to prevent him from reaching manhood is the very thing that makes him strong and mature. The novel is written in a pared down manner; the narrative reminded me of the prose styling of Paulo Coelho: unaffected and matter-of-fact.
This review can still be seen in full by accessing 'Not a Man' on Authonomy.  There are over 400 other comments, some good, some bad. 
Among the Authonomy comments  - 
Andrew Wright:  The strength and singular power of your main character are captivating from the off. The sorrow of the story, the opportunity for salvation, the fight for some kind of justice after the rebellion. An enigmatic and enthralling lead whose experiences drew me in from the beginning. 
Joanne Ellis: Absolutely fabulous writing and story.
Rachel Vevers:  This is a book I stayed up half the night to finish. The writing is beautiful and the plot is painful and poignant. The character of Shuki is naive and wise, complex and empathetic.
Ashen Venama:  Not a Man - stunningly original. A consistant gentle voice renders this incredible tale right through. Against all odds, Shuki is a remarkable character. The sexual scenes are shocking yet drawn with enough detachment to not take away from the real process going on for the boy who has the intelligence to overcome his victimhood. Elegant and touchingly surreal. The artist at work. This must be appreciated on many levels. 
Bill Carrigan:  This is beautifully written, fascinating, disconcerting, and moving.  


"Not a Man' is set in an unnamed country of Arabia. Shuki is aged ten, and a 'bed-boy.' His master wants his beautiful boy to stay beautiful, so arranges for him to have 'a small operation.' This traumatic event changed forever the life of a clever, determined boy.

Shuki learns to manipulate his master. He learns to read and write, he gets his master into the habit of giving him large sums of money, and he makes friends with the Master's sons.

Shuki becomes more beautiful with every passing year. His master becomes more possessive, more jealous, and Shuki is guarded. When his master takes him to England, he escapes and starts a new life with the money he's saved. He is fifteen

 Shuki's story continues in 'The King's Favourite.'

Feroz was viewed as a puppet king. Just sixteen, yet he is the all-powerful monarch of a country in Arabia. When an important and complex trade deal hangs in the balance, his Chief Councillor bargains an extra concession to keep his young king happy. Added to the details of the enormous payment promised was the reference to ‘other considerations.’ Shuki’s freedom is traded away by his own country. He becomes slave and companion to a king.

No cliff-hangers.  I abhor cliff-hangers in a series, and each book has a satisfying conclusion.
 The third book in the series is 'To Love and To Protect.'
With a series, one finds that the number of characters mount up.  With this book, I have provided a list of characters at the front of the paperback, and with the ebooks, wherever I think it could be useful,  a reminder of characters at the beginning of some chapters. All the same,  readers are likely to enjoy it more if they have read the first two in the series.
The third book of the series is called 'To Love and to Protect.'

 Shuki is home, and enjoying being home. He loves his wives, he loves his children, and he loves Elei. To the Daouds, he is someone special, theirs to love and to protect, as their father, the Old Master Hassanel, laid down in his will. To Shuki, the Daouds’ home is his home, though he does not regard himself as belonging to anyone - or maybe to Elei, as Elei belongs to him.

He is fond of Hasquitri’s children, the girls and the boys. The girls, at fourteen, are of marriageable age, and are closely chaperoned. They are still permitted to ride their horses when suitably escorted, and Shuki makes a point of riding with them. Alone among the men, he knows what it is to suffer under too much protection.

The boys have a full life, learning about their father’s businesses, travelling, enjoying the hunting and the shooting and the riding. Fifteen-year-old Zahu, in particular, has become a close companion. But when Zahu finds just what Shuki is, the relationship becomes a lot more complicated.

The fourth and final book in the series is called 'The Frost and the Sunshine.'

The publication date for this book is set at 17th October, 2014.
Early in his life, Shuki made a vow to himself never again to leave it too late to run. There were dangers at Naelahin, dangers because of who he was.  But in a new place, a new home, where no-one knows his history, then he would be safe.  Shuki has moved his family to rural Australia.  There, he finds the peaceful life he wants.  
For those interested, I have placed Shuki's new home between the small town of Uralla and the university city of Armidale, New South Wales.  The towns have been fictionalised and renamed Bellerusse and Leverson. Shuki teaches at Leverson University. 

 It was particularly interesting writing this book.  I range forward into the future, and it is absolutely spooky that what I wrote is so very much on track with what has happened since the writing of it.

Not all that I wrote as a fictional future will come true, of course. It is interesting that some things are already coming true.

 I have set the publication date at 17th October, 2014, but it will be available on Smashwords probably a week or so before that date. 

To find my books on Smashwords,  go to:   https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Samray

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