by Alexandrea Weis
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: May 14th 2019
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Based on a true story.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
History tells his story. This is hers.
Hephaestion brushed past the guard and followed the familiar route to the back of the spacious tent.
He arrived at an area decorated only with a small wooden desk and some stools. Hunched over and furiously pounding a stylus into a wax tablet was Alexander of Macedon.
“You must be here to report about the goings on atop the rock.”
Alexander looked up, and the intensity of his deep-set gray eyes struck him. Perhaps his square jaw and bulging forehead added to their piercing quality; Hephaestion wasn’t sure, but he’d seen Alexander use his gaze to intimidate many in the past. He wasn’t very tall and had a stocky build with broad shoulders and a thick chest. His ruddy skin, prone to burning in the sun, flushed whenever he was angry, a warning to those who knew him well to stay away. His disheveled, reddish-brown, wavy mane seemed perpetually in need of a good brushing, and his tunics never stayed clean for long. But it was his scars which intrigued the general most. He had one along his left cheek, another on the right side of his forehead, and another across his lower neck. Hephaestion couldn’t remember Alexander without scars. It was as if he had been born that way, a gift from the gods.
“How did it go?”
Hephaestion walked around the desk to Alexander’s side. “You’re chipper, considering you’ve been up for almost two days.”
“You know I hate to sleep. There’s always too much work to do.” Alexander returned his attention to one of the numerous scrolls scattered about his desk. “What news have you brought me?”
Hephaestion read one of the scrolls over Alexander’s shoulder. “Scouts are already on the second rock. Now that we know how to climb the damned things, we should have them under control by nightfall.”
Alexander dropped the stylus to the desk. “And what did you discover on top of the first rock?”
“The family of Baron Oxyartes. They’re now in your custody—his mother and three daughters.” Hephaestion raised his hand, anticipating Alexander’s next question. “Orders have been given that none of the women atop the rock are to be touched on pain of death. The men are well aware of your feelings about rape. At least now you’ll have something to bargain with to get Oxyartes to surrender. Holding the women hostage should speed things along.”
Alexander closed the wax tablet. “Any problems?”
Hephaestion shook his head. “No. They were too afraid to organize an attack. The men and women went screaming when they saw the soldiers arrive at the top. After that, it was pretty much routine.”
“The family of Oxyartes? You saw to their comfort?”
“Of course.” Hephaestion folded his long arms, itching to tell him about the girl. “You won’t believe this, but one of his daughters speaks Greek.”
Alexander’s eyes danced with interest. “Did this daughter, who speaks Greek, say anything to you?”
“It’s not so much what she said but how she said it. Not like a barbarian at all. She had a kind of bearing, a certain dignity I’ve not seen before in these people. She was very …” He hesitated, knowing it would spur his friend’s curiosity.
“What?” Alexander insisted.
Hephaestion grinned. “Spirited.”
He could almost see the wheels turning in Alexander’s mind. He never stopped thinking or planning. Alexander was always one step ahead of everyone else. He had to be. It was the only way to remain king and stay alive.
“Was she pretty or did she have the face of a pig?”
“The girl?” Hephaestion smiled, knowing his answer would please his king. “She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
Alexander raised his eyebrows. “What was the name of this beautiful girl who spoke Greek?”
Feeling that nudge of satisfaction at seeing Alexander beguiled, Hephaestion angled closer and whispered, “Roxana.”
Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.
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