Court of Lions by Jane Johnson | Blog Tour Extract | @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books


Published by Head of Zeus (11 January 2018)

available in ebook, hardback and paperback

417 pages


|   About the Book  |

Kate Fordham fled to Spain to start a new life. Amid the sunlit streets of Granada and the earthly paradise of the Alhambra’s gardens, towers and courtyards, she’s left her past far behind. But fate is about to bring her face-to-face with her greatest fear.

Five centuries ago, a message was hidden in the Alhambra’s walls. There it has lain, undisturbed by the tides of history – the fall of Granada, the expulsion of its last Sultan – until Kate discovers it.

Born of love in a time of desperation and danger, Kate’s discovery will be the catalyst that changes her life.


Welcome to my turn on the final day of the blog tour for Court of Lions. I have an extract to share. I really do want to read this one, not only does the cover look stunning, it sounds wonderful and just the type of historical story that I love.




In the end, it was taken out of our hands. The people of Málaga, in their desperation, surrendered, against the wishes of their governor and lord, and what followed broke every tradition of civilized warfare. The city’s Jewish population was imprisoned for ransom—thirty doblas for every man, woman and child. Who was left to pay for them? Who could afford it? They had lived there in great extended families. One hundred captives were sent as slaves as a gift to the pope in Rome; others were parcelled out among other Christian rulers with whom Isabella and Ferdinand wished to curry favour. Christians who had converted to Islam were used for spear practice or were burned at the stake.

Worse was to follow. Instead of honouring the terms of the treaty, King Ferdinand marched on the towns of Vera, Mojácar, Vélez-Blanco and Vélez-Rubio; and all capitulated without a fight, having heard what had happened in Málaga. Momo’s uncle continued to fight on, doggedly, furiously, fuelled by hatred.

Upon hearing of Ferdinand’s treachery, I thought Momo was going to have a falling fit like his father. He mastered himself with difficulty. “It must be a misunderstanding. The king will surely return my towns to me once my uncle is removed from the field of play. This is his way of ensuring the land is withheld from him. Ferdinand is closing down his paths of escape; his hunting dogs are fanning out to run their quarry to ground. Yes, that’s what he’s doing.”

I knew he didn’t believe it; knowing the truth made him irascible, prone to headaches and small outbursts of temper. He threw a chess piece at me on a morning I’d heard Mariam crying in the harem, and though he immediately apologized and tended the wound with his own hand, it left a scar I have to this day.

Then five Muslim clerics begged audience with him. They did not make obeisance or even bow. Their headman went straight to the point: “We believe the emirate should be handed over to Moulay Abdullah al-Zaghal. Your father was clearly not in his right mind when he bestowed it upon you, as has been made abundantly clear by your many failures to defend our land and people.”

Momo paled. Then flushed. His eyes went as hot as embers. “This is treason. Seize them!” he told the captain of the royal guard. “Hang them from the Gate of Justice.” And when the man hesitated, he unsheathed his sword.

I saw Qasim’s face in that moment. The vizier was never surprised by anything, but now he looked stunned. He’d thought the situation under control; that his clever stratagems for managing Momo were all working. Now he saw his error.
The guards dashed forward, secured the clerics and hustled them away. I heard they had taken them to the cells rather than executing them immediately, no doubt believing the sultan would change his mind.

He did not.



|   About the Author   |

My website is and there you can find an email contact form: do write – I love to hear from my readers and always reply!

I update and blog regularly about writing, publishing and cooking Moroccan food (my husband is a Moroccan chef).

I am from Cornwall and I’ve worked in the book industry for 30 years as a bookseller, publisher and writer.

In 2005 I was in Morocco researching the story of a family member abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa (which formed the basis for THE TENTH GIFT), when a near-fatal climbing incident (which makes an appearance in THE SALT ROAD) made me rethink my future! (The whole story is told on my website.)

I went home, gave up my office job in London, sold my flat and shipped the contents to Morocco. In October of that year I married Abdellatif, my own ‘Berber pirate’, and now we split our time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains.

I still work, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins and am the editor for (among others) George RR Martin (Game of Thrones ), Sam Bourne, Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Sam Bourne (aka Jonathan Freedland), SK Tremayne (aka Sean Thomas) and Raymond Feist.

I was responsible for publishing the works of JRR Tolkien during the 1980s and 1990s and worked on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, spending many months in New Zealand with cast and crew. I have also written several books for children.


Author Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads


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