The Fall of Fair Isle was written between 1998 and 2002 but the premise had been brewing in my mind for many years. I wanted to put my main character in a terrible situation – her island kingdom has been defeated. She is only a minor member of the royal family but is now as the last survivor and she must surrender to the Ghebite General who has conquered the known world by the time he’s thirty (based on Alexander the Great). On top of this Imoshen has grown up as the unwanted, throwback daughter, a reminder of their people’s mystic past, named after Imoshen the First who settled Fair isle.
People fear what they don’t understand and they fear Imoshen’s T’En gifts. What do those wine-dark eyes see.
Imoshen is faced with terrible choices but tries to remain true to herself and do the right thing.
At first glance General Tulkhan, conqueror of Fair Isle has everything but then we learn that he is the son of the king’s concubine and has spent his life trying to win his father’s love. Supplanted by a younger half-brother, he has always been second best and that is why he has striven so hard to prove his worth.
Reothe is Tulkhan’s worst nightmare. Before the invasion he was Imoshen’s betrothed but more than that, Tulkhan suspects Reothe is her true match. A throwback like her, he has the T’En gifts and has suffered the same sidelong glances , awkward silences and outright hatred of True-people. A man of great determination, Reothe will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
Fair Isle, land of mystery, wealth and threat…
This is a world of two moons and when both are full the night sky is so bright they cast shadows. The T’En are linked to the moons, although the knowledge has been lost by Imoshen’s time.
Northern hemisphere readers have commented that they find it hard to think of north as warm and south as cold but being from the southern hemisphere we do this kind of mental gymnastics all the time.
Much like England or Japan, Fair Isle has the defensive advantage of being an island off the coast of a large continent. It lies between the mainland and the archipelago so it has become a centre for trade. The mainlanders resent the wealth that the leaders of Fair Isle had accumulated but cunning diplomacy and fear of the T’En gifts have kept the island safe until now.
The T’En settlers brought with them building techniques, plants and animals that gave them an advantage over the locals. They laid claim to Fair Isle in the Age of Tribulation, then came the Age of Consolidation followed by the Age of Enlightenment and the descendants of the T’En settlers thought their kingdom invincible then General Tulkhan invaded and a new Age has dawned. Imoshen is determined it will bring peace but there are many working against her.