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.
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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.'
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