Readers have sometimes asked me for information on the countries and monarchs who make up the Middle Eastern/Central Asian world in the SONS OF THE DESERT mini-series. Here’s an overview of that world:
PARVAN is a country of mountains and desert. The capital is Shahr-i-Bozorg, its main language is Parvani, and its ruler is Shah Kavian, with his wife Alinor. Their story was told in BRIDE OF THE SHEIKH. Parvan has for neighbours the Barakat Emirates and Kaljukistan. Its highest peak is the great Mount Shir (which means both ‘lion’ and ‘milk’) and which can be seen from all the surrounding countries. Parvan means ‘butterfly’.
THE BARAKAT EMIRATES (previously BARAKAT, which means ‘blessing’; the T is silent unless followed by a vowel) circle the Gulf of Barakat, and stretch across desert, river, and mountain. When the old King of Barakat died, he divided up his kingdom into three emirates, so that his three sons could all inherit power. West Barakat is ruled by Prince Karim, whose love affair with Caroline is told in SHEIKH’S RANSOM. Central Barakat is ruled by Prince Omar, whose discovery of love with Jana is told in THE SOLITARY SHEIKH. And East Barakat is the province of Prince Rafi, who finds love with Zara in BELOVED SHEIKH. Prince Jalal, the rebel leader who once challenged the three princes’ right to the throne, finds love with Zara’s sister Clio in SHEIKH’S HONOR.
BAGESTAN borders East Barakat, Parvan and Kaljukistan (and Johar). It has a very rich landscape, with mountains, desert, and sea. For thirty years Bagestan was ruled by a dictator, Ghasib, who overthrew the old Sultan in a coup. The rightful ruler, Ashraf, was finally returned to the throne at the end of THE SULTANS trilogy. That trilogy also included Ashraf’s brother, Haroun, and his cousin Nadim. THE PRINCESSES trilogy traces the love stories of three of the Sultan’s new Cup Companions with three women who discover their royal heritage only when the Sultan is restored to the throne.
KALJUKISTAN was once part of the Soviet empire. Now it is an ignorant and aggressive neighbour to all the secular states that share borders with it. It also lays claim to the JOHARI KINGDOM, an ancient independent state that has been trying to obtain its freedom from Kaljukistan ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Kaljuks mercilessly repress the Johars, whose mountains hold massive deposits of precious stones that have been mined since earliest times. Watch for POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL’S SHEIKH, the first story in THE JOHARI JEWELS trilogy.
Each of the monarchs mentioned above appoints twelve Cup Companions to be his interface with the country and the world. The term Cup Companion in ancient times referred to those friends of the monarch whose duty it was to drink, carouse, recite poetry and laugh with the monarch in his moments of relaxation, taking his mind off the cares of state. Nowadays, however, Cup Companion is an appointment to power and influence. Cup Companions are often, but not always, chosen from among the aristocracy. The modern tradition of Cup Companion is one of devoted service to country and King.
Various stores in the miniseries tell the adventures of different Cup Companions:
* SHEIKH’S TEMPTATION takes place in Parvan and Central Barakat: Arash Khosravi is Cup Companion to Prince Kavian.
* SHEIKH’S WOMAN and THE PLAYBOY SHEIKH both take place in East Barakat. Jafar and Gazi al Hamzeh are Cup Companions to Prince Rafi.
* In SHEIKH OF ICE the characters travel through the Barakat Emirates. Sheikh Hadi is Cup Companion to Prince Omar.
* In SHEIKH’S BETRAYAL, Sheikh Salah al Khouri is Cup Companion to Prince Omar in Central Barakat.
If you have any questions not covered here, you can always email me or post a comment below, and I’ll try to answer.