Announcing the release of the fourth and final book
of the Shuki Series: 'The Frost and the Sunshine'
Date released 17th October, 2014
The Shuki series started with 'Not a Man.' This book won a place on the Editors' Desk on the Harper Collins Writers' Site, Authonomy, and had a favourable review by Harper Collins.
‘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 is the 1st paragraph only)
'Not a Man' was published in 2011, and now has an average rating of 4.31 on Goodreads, with 30 five-star ratings. (5 stars is 'amazing' on Goodreads) On Amazon.com, it has an average rating of 4.6 with 18 five-star reviews. (5 stars on Amazon is 'I loved it.') It is currently rated 3rd on a list of 'Best Eunuch Books.' (Goodreads)
A couple of typical reviews (selected for their brevity)
I read this well into the wee small hours; I couldn't put it down. And what's more - the hallmark of something powerful and original - it has stayed with me. Shuki's story and the stories of the characters whose lives touch his are still clear in my mind a year later. That's quite a book!
Not a Man is a modern day masterpiece, and a future classic. Eloquently written, the author explores the controversial issues of sexual slavery, exploitation and abuse. Not a Man will bring tears to your eyes as you read about the very worst humanity has to offer, and the very best. Shuki is endearing, resilient, and intelligent. He's a character you can admire and cheer for.
Shuki was a child of the slums, rejected by his family after he was taken for use as a ‘bed-boy’ by Hassanel Daoud, rich and powerful. He stayed with Hassanel rather than try and earn his own living by beggary or thievery. He would have run, though, if he’d known that he was to be castrated so that he would ‘stay beautiful.’ And after that, there was no point in running.
‘Not a Man’ is the story of Shuki’s rise from his lowly position to a man respected, an Oxford Graduate, and husband to four women whom he found starving.
‘The King’s Favourite’ is the story of his years with King Feroz. He rose to a position where he was able to influence the destiny of a nation.
‘To Love and To Protect’ is third in the Shuki series. Shuki Bolkiah has become an important person. His advice is valued by influential people in governments, not just that of King Feroz, but in other countries of Arabia. His wives would never be wives in anything but name, but there was Elei Daoud, who was his love. Elei wrote a book, with Shuki’s help. It was called ‘Thinking Jihad.’ Because of that book, Elei was shot dead.
Shuki had made a vow early in his life, that he should never again leave it too late to run. It became apparent that even though he was no longer young, he was still in danger from the desires of men. But in a new place, where no-one knows him, he expects to leave that behind him. He moves his family to Australia, and this is where 'The Frost and the Sunshine' is set.
Shuki has a good life - his new home, his wives and his stepchildren, and becoming more important to him every day, young Zahu. It is hard to believe that Zahu could possibly want to stay with him when he is so much older. Surely one day, he will realise that a young woman has to suit him better than a middle-aged man.
And then Meriam comes into their lives - Meriam, daughter of Shuki's sister. Meriam, who looks so much like a youthful Shuki. She fascinates Zahu; she confuses him, and she tempts him. But she is not Shuki.
Meriam's baby is born when the frost lies heavy on the ground. But then the first rays of the sun come slanting over, and the countryside lights up. It is a promise - that bitter times might come, but one day, the sun will shine again.
'The Frost and the Sunshine' is available on most online sellers, as an ebook or as a paperback.
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/480168