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Writers Inspiring Change Featured Book: A Turning Wind by award-winning historical author, J.G. Harlond

Updated: Apr 12

Book 2 in The Chosen Man Trilogy 

An ‘amazing story that simply blew me away’ – Readers’ Favorite 5* review

If you enjoy Wilbur Smith, you’ll love this tale.

Ludo da Portovenere, one time corsair, sometime merchant, secret agent of monarchs, servant of none.

From the trading colony of Goa to the royal courts of England and Spain, Ludo da Portovenere completes perilous secret commissions on his own terms and for his own reasons. But as these tasks bring him closer to personal success, Ludo is forced to confront secrets of his own.

While Ludo pursues a delicate mission for the English queen in the Spanish royal court, Alina, Baroness Metherall, faces new challenges, including what it means to be married to one person and love another.

Ultimately, Ludo and Alina must decide who they really are, and to what extent their shared past should influence their future.

“Harlond's brilliantly realized portrait of the sea-trade in 17th century is a gem...Ludo is a great character with wit, intelligence and daring. Exploiting his position as an envoy between Charles I and the Spanish court results in a seafaring novel of danger and double-dealing. Highly recommended.” Deborah Swift, author of A Divided Inheritance

Interview with J.G. Harlond

What inspired you to write?

I was probably inspired to write by the excellent books I read as a child: Children of the New Forest may have led to my 17th Century Chosen Man Trilogy; The Silver Sword may have led to my WWII Bob Robbins Home Front Mystery series. Moorland Mousy and Black Beauty and all the pony books of the 1960s certainly fed my life-long love of horses, and my true-story novella Dark Night, Black Horse.

As an adult I devoured Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond and Niccoló chronicles. The anti-hero of The Chosen Man and A Turning Wind has quite a lot in common with Dunnett’s Niccoló, although I wasn’t conscious of this myself until I’d finished the trilogy. All my fiction is based on real events, so I’d have to include my interest in history and international politics. I studied both to post-grad level. Writing historical crime fiction is a lot more fun, though. Oh, and my gap year working in an antiques and jewellery shop, and my student vacation jobs in hotels . . . Ultimately, I suppose I write in the way that musicians must play their instruments and mountaineers climb mountains: it's something I can and have to do.

What inspired your book?

The Chosen Man Trilogy tells the story of three very different people during the middle of the 1600s. A Turning Wind (Book 2 but can be read as a stand-alone) takes the reader from the Portuguese trading colony of Goa to the royal courts of England and Spain as Ludo da Portovenere – a charismatic and wily Genoese merchant and secret agent – completes clandestine commissions for two monarchs on his own terms. One task relates to a treaty between Charles 1st of England and the King of Spain, which, had the English Civil War not led to a British Commonwealth, would have had massive impact on the English way of life. It’s a little-known aspect of history. I find these lesser-known historical gems fascinating.

A Turning Wind took two years to write because I kept finding surprising details in contemporary sources that needed to be included: how Spain raised money for its wars through taxing spice imports; the cut-throat politics of the Spanish royal court; the Vatican special envoy’s reports on what was happening in the English royal court. . . It was fascinating material. And the Barbary pirates – that was too good to leave out. Strange but true, all of it.

What are you aspiring for as a writer?

My main aim is to write quality fiction that entertains but also informs. Hopefully, A Turning Wind will help a reader to escape the current daily grind, and give them a sense of satisfaction at the end – of having learned something new in an entertaining fashion.

My WWII series is classic crime fiction, but also based on real events. Essentially, I’m trying to write something meaningful and amusing – although the humour can be a little dark at times. I have also lived in or visited almost all the locations in my fiction so I can re-create a good sense of a place.

More about J.G. Harlond

Award-winning member of the British Historical Novel Society, J.G. Harlond (Jane) writes page-turning historical crime stories that weave fictional characters into real events. Jane's books have achieved recognition as Discovered Diamonds (x5), Readers' Favourite 5* (x4), Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon, Author Shout (x2) and Chill With a Book awards.

After travelling widely (she has visited or lived in most of the locations in her novels), Jane is now settled in southern Spain.

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