El árbol de Drago

Estoy encantado de revelar la portada de la edición española de mi novela, El árbol de Drago.

 

Ella quería olvidar, permitir a este ambiente de tremendo aislamiento consumirla.

Perseguida por los demonios del pasado y el presente, la geóloga Ann Salter busca refugio en la exótica isla de Lanzarote. Allí conoce al carismático escritor Richard Parry y al alfarero nativo Domingo y juntos explorar la isla. Ann se encuentra con tesoros ocultos de la isla que caen en un viaje profundo dentro de ella misma, se esfuerza para comprender quién fue ella, quién es ella, y quién ella quiere ser. El árbol de Drago es una anécdota intrigante de traición, conquista y amor en todas sus formas, establecida en contraste al panorama dramático de la isla y la historia colonial española.

Photo of La Corona by JF Olivares

“Esta novela está construida maravillosamente y en ella se muestra la complejidad de nuestras vidas, especialmente cuando abrimos nuestros corazones a la pasión” —Robert Hillman, La Miel Ladrona

“El árbol de Drago es una novela hermosamente elaborada, escrita exquisitamente rebosante de pena y sinceridad, dolor y alegría. Es tan excitante desde el principio que no se consigue dejar hasta terminar de leerlo. El árbol de Drago tomará tu corazón”- Jasmina Brankovich, escritora

 

La edición inglés fue publicado por Odyssey Books en 2015. Ahora, están publicando la version español. Estoy muy agradecida, especialmente a Inelda Lovi por su traducción.

¡Ahora, tengo que aprendiendo más español! Han pasado muchos años desde que viví en Lanzarote.

Despues de 26 septiembre 2017, usted puede comprar este libro en Amazon

Estoy en Facebook 

Twitter @IBlackthorn

Goodreads

Si desea escribir una reseña de este libro, póngase en contacto conmigo a través de este sitio web.

Puedes leer más sobre El árbol de Drago en inglés aquí

Advertisements

Lanzarote: the fulcrum of an empire

The history of the Spanish conquest of the Americas upon the famous voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492, pivots on an earlier conquest, that of Lanzarote and the Canary Islands.

canary-islands-jpg-183

Sailing is largely dependent on ocean currents. The Canary current sweeps down from Spain and Portugal along the West African coast, until it reaches the Equatorial current and shoots off into the Atlantic all the way to South America. Lanzarote is the first island in that current’s path.

Lanzarote had long been favoured by marauding Spanish adventurers covetous of the profits procured from dyes and slaves, when, in 1402, Norman knight and ambitious conqueror, Jean de Bethencourt left La Rochelle with Gadifer de Salle and a retinue of men-at-arms. Bethencourt and Gadifer were determined to take possession of the “Fortunate Islands” on behalf of any Kingdom willing to strike a good deal. Following in the tradition of Church-sanctioned conquest, they took with them two priests, Pierre Bontier and Jen Le Verrier, who documented the conquest in a journal that would later become, The Canarian.

And in The Canarian the priests depict Lanzarote as wooded with brushwood, olives and higuerilla. There were natural springs in the foothills of the mountains. There were plains and broad valleys of tillable land. And plenty of rocks to build shelter. And a small and amenable indigenous tribe, (later known as los Conejeros, or Guanches). 

After ‘subduing’ with empty promises the tribal leader, King Guadarfia, Bethencourt sailed back to Cadiz to strike a deal with Henry III of Castile that would make him conqueror and owner of all the islands.

images

Bethencourt was a greedy opportunist who knew the islands would bring ample wealth. He’d been keen to acquire the blue dye of the orchilla that clung assiduously to the malpais, and the sanguine sap of the drago trees, for use in his mills back in France.

After much betrayal, treachery and a series of attacks and counter attacks worthy of a Johnny Depp movie, King Guadarfia was a hero defeated. When Bethencourt returned with provisions, men and arms, and of course his permission by King Henry III to conquer all the Fortunate Islands in the name of Castile, Guardafia and his people were worn out and demoralised.

Bethencourt returned to a hero’s welcome. According to the priests, the natives surrendered and were duly baptised. At this point the priests claimed that all present had rejoiced, the heathens brought to salvation at last and a legitimate society born on this beleaguered land.

Of course the priests were biased. Guadarfia had no choice but convert or die.

The stage was set for a later conquest, that of the Americas. Lanzarote was the trading post. Ships laden with gold and silver and other treasures  would put in to harbour en route to Spain, and so began a new wave of piracy.

We’d know a whole lot more about Lanzarote had the island’s official records not been destroyed in 1586, when renegade Jan Janz – Dutch privateer taught by the infamous Red Beards, turned Algerian pirate, Morato Arráez – went on a bloody carnal rampage.

Drago3D-1

Based on extensive research for The Drago Treereleased 29 September by Odyssey Books. Available at all good bookstores.

The Drago Tree cover reveal

9781922200365-Cover (1)Probably one of the most exciting and apprehensive times in the long process of writing and publishing a book is the reveal of its cover. The Drago Tree is no exception. And choosing the cover proved far more challenging than I initially thought.

9781922200365-Cover (1)The Drago Tree is set on Lanzarote, a Canary Island off the coast of Morocco. About a third of the island is covered in lava and much of the rest in volcanic ash. Volcanic craters, or calderas, are everywhere. The island is a photographer’s paradise and there must be millions of superb images of its magnificence and its beauty taken by professional and amateur photographers and holidaymakers alike. I wanted to depict Lanzarote on the cover of The Drago Tree, but how could I possibly compete with all those fabulous shots?

9781922200365-Cover (1)At first I thought of capturing a few elements of the story and I asked around on Facebook to see if a local photographer would offer to take a shot. One did, and very generously too. But every time Donal Gray was about to set off with my brief, the day was cloudy, the conditions not right. Months passed and the publication date loomed.

9781922200365-Cover (1)It was then that my publisher started to have other ideas. One night, I asked my daughter, Liz Blackthorn, to see what she could come up with. In a matter of hours she’d mocked up a stylised photo of Castillo de San Gabriel, a small fort in Arrecife, the island’s capital. The image she used was captivating, and the textured effect she applied intriguing.

9781922200365-Cover (1)I sent her design to Michelle Lovi of Odyssey Books. By then I, too, was veering away from a real image and towards something stylised, when Michelle came back to me with a sharp and really stunning shot of the fort. The  design leapt up at the viewer, all brilliantly blue and speaking of Lanzarote’s colonial history. I loved it.

9781922200365-Cover (1)I showed the design to some friends. Feedback was promising. As the days passed, I remained sold on it, but something was privately niggling me. It was the same thing that was niggling Michelle. Where’s the drago tree? Everyone was asking, ‘What’s a drago tree?’ We had no choice but to dump the fort.

9781922200365-Cover (1)By this time it was nudging August and I was beginning to panic. I swamped Michelle with images of drago trees I’d found on the Internet. We had a vintage moment, inserted figures of women looking off at views, and I thought we’d nailed it when I found a fabulous photo of a drago tree with a caldera in the background. Feeling optimistic, I sent it to Michelle. When she replied, I was gutted. The image was for editorial use only. We couldn’t use it. Damn. What now?

9781922200365-Cover (1)All I could do was wait to see if Michelle could conceive of something that we both liked, something that spoke to the themes of the story and depicted a drago tree, which seemed essential.

9781922200365-Cover (1)A few days ago she sent me an email with four mock ups. They all had the mandatory drago tree, and each was interesting in its own way, but somehow none of them conveyed the sort of book The Drago Tree is.

9781922200365-Cover (1)She sent another email soon after, with mock up 5. ‘Something a bit different,’ she said. Curious, I opened the attachment. And there I was, gazing at a single drago tree against a hazy green-grey background. I knew, straight away, that she’d nailed it.

9781922200365-Cover (1)

Thank you Michelle Lovi and thank you Odyssey Books.  The Drago Tree will be released on 1 October 2015 and available through all good bookstores. Pre-orders of The Drago Tree will be available soon. Meanwhile, to read more about the story and a short extract please click The Drago Tree. And to make contact or to go on my mailing list click Contact Isobel here

Drago3D-2