The Grip of God is the first novel in a trilogy set in the thirteenth century, when wars, both of conquest and of clashing faiths, were raging across two continents. The Mongols were invading Europe and the Middle East, the Assassins were trying to overturn the Islamic world, the last Crusades were being fought, and the newly established Inquisition was introducing mind control. Not a particularly cheery time.
Why on earth would I write about all this? Actually, the story chose me; its outline came to me and stuck in my head for over thirty years. I was haunted by an adventurous heroine, Sofia, who survives the most difficult circumstances and matures from a strong willed, impetuous girl into a woman of great heart. Hers is a story full of action and romance and more.
When I finally began to research and write her story, I was swept into a world of long-lost principalities and forgotten politics, of nomad conquerors, rivalries, revenge, lust, and clashing religions: a world that mirrored our own in surprising ways. Sofia, a former princess captured and enslaved to a Mongol warrior, must learn to survive even as she yearns for the return of all she has lost: faith, friendship, and love. Her quest will eventually take her across continents, nations, and cultures as she seeks a home—and genuine love—once again.
What I came to realize in writing The Grip of God is that history overlooks the good in favor of the bad news: the wars and plagues and famines. But the good is always there. There’s so much that’s wonderful in our world that is not recorded. Thus, Sofia’s story becomes a celebration of the human spirit.
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