In the service of two kings, I fight bravely in two wars, I swing my…
1. The Lost Art of Turkish Gold (Summary)
This is the story of an Australian woman who follows her Lebanese husband to live in a smaller city in Türkiye with her children. She is an adventurer and immerses herself in Turkish culture in the same way that she did when she lived in other places around the world like France, Spain, and England.
Once they have moved and gone through the setting up phase of moving to Turkey, she is motivated to set up a shop that makes handmade Turkish products such as silk, embroidery, gold, and enamel, as well as antiquities. She does this and, as a result, manages to make the craftspeople who make these products wealthy and is completely accepted into their local society as a matriarch and almost divine figure. This is helped by her piercing blue eyes and tall stature, both of which are rare and, to some extent, feared in the Middle East.
In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, "blue eyes are relatively rare, so the ancients believed that people with light eyes, particularly blue eyes, could curse you with just one look. This belief is so ancient that even the Assyrians had turquoise and blue-eye amulets."
The legend of Zarqa’ Al-Yamama The legend of Zarqa’ Al-Yamama In Arabian mythology, Zarqa’ Al-Yamama was a powerful woman with incredible powers and magic. Legend says that she had brilliant blue eyes, which helped her foresee the future and predict events, but she was eventually killed by jealous enemy tribes who tore out her eyes and crucified her.
This is the background of her persona in this place. She is rare, gracious and revered. However, then comes the twist. The is approached by the secret service to be a runner of information from sources in Turkey to the west who are working against the Turkish and middle east. This is her adopted world and she absolutely loves it, it has made her very wealthy and she loves this place for how kindly it has treated her, which is a stark contrast to her life in the west which was unkind and cruel to her. She resists strongly to performing any task that would weaken the cause of the middle east and that region being the dominant power in the world. The horrible people who do this to her then say that they will harm her children if she does not capitulate.
The whole story is about her internal struggle and her constant fear of being discovered and, being sold out. But she is clever and slowly, she begins to understand how the larger apparatus works She knows that there are limited number of people who actually know who she is, ‘the contact’, ‘and she sets out to kill one by one these agents who have her in a bind. She does this with the help off Ismael, her driver and protector, a younger Turkish man who is actually slavishly dedicated to her and possibly in love with her.
Since living in the East, she has adopted a very enigmatic form of dress and undertakes ancient warrior training, shooting arrows in horseback, knife skills and hand to hand combat. She becomes a formidable opponent during this time. She often travels Istanbul, London, Paris and new York. it is very exciting and exotic but not for the reasons it seems as she and the reader are the only ones who really know what’s going on.
One of the characters in the story is an orthodox priest, he is Turkish but was schooled in Greece and had strong connections to Russia. We are never really sure if we can trust him.