I, The Sun by Janet Morris Genre: Historical Fiction
Suppiluliumas I and the Amarna pharaohs: Biographical novel of the greatest Hittite king. From palace coups in the lost city of Hattusas to treachery in the Egyptian court of Tutankhamun, I, the Sun, the saga of the Hittite King Suppiluliumas, rings with authenticity and the passion of a world that existed fourteen hundred years before the birth of Christ. They called him Great King, Favorite of the Storm God, the Valiant. He conquered more than forty nations and brought fear and war to the very doorstep of Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt, but he could not conquer the one woman he truly loved.
**For the month of March, I, the Sun is Perseid Press' featured title and the kindle is on sale for $4.99 (regularly $9.98)!!**
Then, as Kantuzilis’ white claws came down on Tuthaliyas’ shoulder, I shouted: “You are nothing. You have made a mockery of this kingship before the people. Let the Oath Gods decide between us, or cede me the seat you cannot hold!” I whirled around, checking to be sure that my men awaited me, that their resolve was strong, that their courage would hold. Then I faced the Great Ones, the Chiefs, and the lords, saying, “I give you each warning! Make your decisions!”
Even as I spoke, Kantuzilis screamed “Take them!” springing on Zida a moment before I loosed my men and, with bare sword and ax, waded into the battle suddenly boiling around the Great King. To get there, I hacked my way through a Meshedi’s neck with my ax, tore another off my back – too late to avoid a long slash on my chest. Then I could see no king, no brother, no allies, just the enemy: the Meshedi, the hostile lords. Never have I laid about me with more satisfaction. An uncle went down under me and a chief took my ax in his mouth. Long did we fight there, until a hoarse voice calling repeatedly for a halt to the carnage could be heard, and heeded.
When I had wiped the last blood and sweat from my eyes, I was standing calf-deep in Hittite high-born. Shaking gore from my ax, toeing away corpses, I peered around me: most of the men left standing were mine. Far from the fighting ground, my mother, two Arinnian lords and a few palace officials huddled; from behind the halentuwa-house, the clergy peeped, lamenting.
The hoarse voice had been Kuwatna-ziti’s; in it he now proclaimed the day ours. I turned corpses until I found Tuthaliyas. Digging down to him, I found Kantuzilis, his fat body split like a slug’s; it looked as if they had died in each other’s arms.
Then only did I take thought to whom I had lost, and whom I had not. My brother Zida limped toward me – a sign that he had fought for me in the fray; I had put Hatib to watch him closely, with orders that he should not survive if he raised hand against us. Hatib, unscathed, was bending over a richly-clad body, drawing a jeweled girdle from its hips. As I counted heads, I found that I had lost two of my Sutu and five Hittites. Kuwatna-ziti, too, had lost a few men. But the Meshedi and the foul officials we slew were uncountable.
Best selling author Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. She has contributed short fiction to the shared universe fantasy series Thieves World, in which she created the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes. She created, orchestrated, and edited the Bangsian fantasy series Heroes in Hell, writing stories for the series as well as co-writing the related novel, The Little Helliad, with Chris Morris. She wrote the bestselling Silistra Quartet in the 1970s, including High Couch of Silistra, The Golden Sword, Wind from the Abyss, and The Carnelian Throne. This quartet had more than four million copies in Bantam print alone, and was translated into German, French, Italian, Russian and other languages. In the 1980s, Baen Books released a second edition of this landmark series. The third edition is the Author's Cut edition, newly revised by the author for Perseid Press. Most of her fiction work has been in the fantasy and science fiction genres, although she has also written historical and other novels. Morris has written, contributed to, or edited several book-length works of non-fiction, as well as papers and articles on nonlethal weapons, developmental military technology and other defense and national security topics.
Janet says: 'People often ask what book to read first. I recommend "I, the Sun" if you like ancient history; "The Sacred Band," a novel, if you like heroic fantasy; "Lawyers in Hell" if you like historical fantasy set in hell; "Outpassage" if you like hard science fiction; "High Couch of Silistra" if you like far-future dystopian or philosophical novels. I am most enthusiastic about the definitive Perseid Press Author's Cut editions, which I revised and expanded.'
With my husband, Chris Morris, I breed Morgan horses. I consult with Morgan breeders to help them choose crosses to their stock to achieve a desired result.
I am also a musician; I play Bass guitar and have co-written songs for Christopher Crosby Morris’s albums.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I wrote my first novel, High Couch of Silistra in 1975; a friend sent it to an agent who chose to represent me; I had already written the second book in the Silistra Quartet and my agent told me not to disclose that until we finalized the contract for the first one. When they learned of the others, Bantam Books bought the succeeding three. When the fourth book was published, the series already had four million copies in print. Suddenly I was a novelist specializing in environmental, gender, historical and political subjects.
Who is your hero and why?
Heraclitus of Ephesus, a pre-socratic philosopher, whose Cosmic Fragments foreshadow our knowledge of reality and how to perceive it. Among his precepts is the statement that change alone is unchanging. I’ve worked Heraclitus’ fragments in here and there throughout my books.
Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?
All of them. I write cinematically, my books are vivid adventures I undertake without knowing the destination. I, the Sun, The Sacred Band, and Outpassage are particularly suited to film. Dream Dancer’s Kerrion Empire trilogy is a feast of opportunities for today’s special effects creators.
What inspired you to write I, the Sun?
I, the Sun is a biographical novel about the greatest king of the Hittites. What inspired me was the real life of this extraordinary ancient king, Suppiluliumas I, able to be read from his own texts on clay tablets. His prose voice keyed my treatment of his reign and times. It took me five years from research start to finish. All the characters in this novel, with the exception of one, actually lived—their real Hittite names are used. The title, I, the Sun is the appellation of Suppiluliumas I as it appears in all his treaties and official documents.
Convince us why you feel I, the Sun is a must read.
Here is a story that will change you. I, the Sun reaches to us across time and brings us face to face with the sorts of struggles all generations confront, whether as participants or witnesses to history. Here is our human condition, fresh and compelling, delivered from a bygone era where much is plainer and more immediate than the world we inhabit today. Here is both the greatness of the middle second millennium BCE—Tutankhamen’s Egypt—and the greatness of an unsung Hittite king—Suppiluliumas—who remade his world’s order at tremendous personal cost.
We’ve gone to lengths to make this book available in e-book, trade paper, hardback, or audiobook, where you can hear how the ancient names are pronounced.
Who designed your book covers?
Most of our covers, including I, the Sun’s cover, which features the imprint of King Suppiluliumas’ royal seal, are realized by Roy Mauritsen, a gifted graphic artist.
Advice to writers?
As for advice to writers, here is all I know: write the story you want to read. Start at the beginning, go to the end, and stop. Seriously. From start to finish you must inhabit the construct in a manner that makes the reader choose to continue; if you can’t feel what it’s like being there, your reader can’t either. Close your eyes, look at your feet where they are standing on the story’s ground; tell us what you see. Tell us what you hear. Ask at the end of each paragraph ‘what happens next?’. If you lose touch with it wait until you’re back inside it. Tell the story that comes to you, and from you, to us.
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