sinagiri-rajah-kasyapu-and-the-frescoes-at-singiriya-by-mike-lordstars-4-0._V192240704_I read many different genres and while I usually read  for sheer enjoyment, I love to read a book that tells me something factual about the area it is set in—or as in the case of this book, a look into history that I had no idea existed.

I am a Goodreads author, and recently Mike Lord sent me a message, suggesting that because I read so many different genres, I might enjoy reading his book. I had no idea who Mike Lord was—and naively thought it might be a debut book, with no reviews. I went to Amazon and checked it out and decided I would buy the book.

I am delighted to say that I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and full of a fascinating history about an era and an area that I know little or nothing about. If I were ever to go to  Sri Lanka, I would definitely visit the rock fortress of Sinagiri. I was fascinated by the description of the fortress and  the secret frescos in the hidden cave.

Abebech, a princess from Eritrea, was relatable, smart (even though she had never learned to read or write as per the social norm of the 5th century) and intriguing.  The story begins as she starts out on the journey to Taprobane (now known as Shri Lanka) from her home in Gonder, in the African highlands. Her father is sending her to fulfill an arranged marriage agreement that had been signed years before. Her older brother, Mekoria, accompanies her as a chaperone.

They ride camels on the first part of the journey. It takes five days to reach the coast and the bustling seaport of Assaba. There they board a large dhow (ship). The voyage has some adventure, including storms and pirates. Eventually, they arrive at the  port at Puttulam, in Taprobane.

From there they set out for Anarajapura, traveling over badly rutted roads with horses and wagons or carts. Part way there, they are met by the Royal stables train of elephants. Abebech and Mekoria have never seen elephants before and they are fascinated by them!

When they reach Anarajapura, they are amazed by its beauty. They learn that it had been the capital of Taprobane for hundreds of years, until a few years ago, when the present Raja decided to move his capital to Sinagiri.

Abebech has never met Raja Kasyapu, her husband to be. She knows nothing about him, does not even know if she will be his only wife or one of many. Whenever she or Mekoria ask questions about him, they begin to realize that the answers they get are evasive, and Abebech begins to wonder about the man she has been pledged to marry.

When they finally arrive at Sinagiri, they find the site unusual, and the main palace is still under construction.

Abebech does not meet Raja Kasyapu until the actual marriage ceremony—I would have to say that for a teenaged girl, the new groom must have been less than attractive, but Abebech seems to accept everything as part of the arrangement—until she learns that all is not what it appears to be.

I do not read a lot of historical books, but I sincerely enjoyed this one. I recommend it to anyone who loves history and encourage those who don’t to step outside their comfort zone and experience something different. They might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

I must add that I later discovered that this was certainly not Mike Lords debut book—he has written several others!

You can get this book on Amazon.com by clicking here