Sixteen-year old Johanna flees Cambaluc in 1322, following the murder of her father and the murderous intentions of her step-mother, accompanied by her foster sister and wise woman Shasha, and by Jaufre, an orphan of the Road who has been raised to be her companion and who hopes to become more. Together they take to the Road, that storied collection of routes that link the silks of Cathay, the spices of the Indies and the jewels of the Indus to the markets of the western world. Their destination? Venice, that fabled port of the Middle Sea, and the home of Johanna’s her grandfather, the legendary Marco Polo.
But first they must survive treachery, betrayal, a war of conquest waged by an ambitious Mongol general, a long separation, and a Road beset by thieves and robbers emboldened by the steady deterioration of the Mongol Empire. They meet a Buddhist monk, an Assassin, a goliard, a Knight Templar, and two refugees from the harem of Sheik Mohammed of Talikan, but in spite of these new friends it is still a long and difficult journey, at the end of which they arrive in Venice only to discover Marco Polo on his deathbed.
The Land Beyond, the third and final book in the Silk and Song trilogy, opens in Venice in 1324, where Johanna and company must find a new patron, a new way to earn their living, and above all a new home. All of this is complicated by a cunning kidnapping, a daring rescue, a tragic death, and a brush with royalty that catapults Johanna and Jaufre and all their friends into the most danger they’ve seen yet.
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The trade paperback edition of The Land Beyond publishes on December 5, when I will be signing all three at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. Click on the links below to pre-order your copies now: