It takes a high degree of skill to write a book that takes an event in history and blends it with a compelling fiction. Geoff Nelder accomplishes this in his historical fiction, Xaghra’s Revenge. To add to the captivating plot, Nelder has injected an unlikely romance between two delightful characters and a tragic love from the past; a love that might dramatically change the face of present day Europe.
Laying the groundwork for the meat of the story, Nelder introduces Stjepan and Lidia, a married couple on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. Historically, in the sixteenth century, the island was invaded by Ottoman pirates led by Rais Dragut. Almost the entire population of five thousand was abducted to be kept in subhuman conditions. Those who survived were sold into slavery. Some of those had relatives on Malta who could buy their freedom. Descendants of that small the small group now live in Tarhuna, Libya. When Stjepan and Lidia realize they may be killed or kidnapped they hide Lidia’s father and their infant son, Pietru in a buried cave Stjepan had discovered a year earlier. Although he tries to persuade his Lidia to hide with her father and the baby, she resists. What he doesn’t reveal is that he found a small figurine of a woman he thought was the fertility goddess Tzabib. The couple are eventually captured and separated, Stjepan taken as a slave aboard the ship and Lidia was taken as a sex slave to Kerim Dragut.
Here the story fast forwards to the present day and the improbable hero of the tale, Reece. An American living in Lyon, France, Reece is employed by the government in The Defense Commissary Agency. It is here that he meets and becomes enamored with Zita Fenutti. The connection between the present-day couple and the historical pair is not apparent at first. Nelder adeptly leads the reader through the relationships that bind past with present. In a tale filled with action, intrigue, and romance, the story evolves, carrying the reader along on a breathtaking journey to a dramatic conclusion.
The restless spirits of the past are seeking revenge and Zita and Reece are the tools in the battle. By using the intense history of the small island, Nelder has created a fascinating tale of passion and revenge; past, present, and paranormal.
Readers of historical fiction will undoubtedly find this book a compelling read and find themselves thinking about it long after they have read the last page.