Release date: August 18, 2015
For fans of The Red Tent and The Dovekeepers, India Edghill breathes new life into the biblical story of Vashti and Esther with her signature historical richness, epic scope, and sweeping romance.
You may know part of the story already, but you only know what history has passed along. The story of how Vashti, Queen of Queens, the most beautiful woman in all the empire, defied the king her husband and so lost her crown. The story of how Ahasuerus, King of Kings, commanded that the most beautiful maidens be sent to his court so he might choose a new queen. And you may know how he set the queen’s crown upon the head of the virtuous and beautiful Esther, and how Queen Esther herself defied both king and law to save her people from a treacherous fate.
Game of Queens is the story of power and treachery, blood and deception, bravery and romance that surrounds the court of Ahasuerus and brings to life two of the most celebrated female heroines in all of history.
Where does this tale truly begin? Does it start in the jeweled garden of the harem of the King of Kings, master of half the world? Shall I begin it there? Or shall I begin it at an extravagant banquet on the night that a woman defied the King of Kings before all the nobles of the empire? Shall I begin when the Queen Mother and the Grand Vizier plotted slaughter and treason – or with the extraordinary contest arranged to choose a new queen for a humiliated King?
Or perhaps I should first tell you of a battle fought over five hundred years ago, when one king surrendered to another, only to be beheaded by an outraged prophet – an act that created a feud between the descendants of King Agag and those of King Saul. Yes, that is a place I could begin, with the eternal hatred of the Agagites for the Jews.
But although that long-ago murder played its part in what follows, even that is not the true beginning.
Oh, you know a part of it already, but you only know what all the world knows. You have heard how Vashti, Queen of Queens, the most beautiful woman in all the empire, defied the king her husband and so lost her crown. You have heard how Ahasuerus, King of Kings, commanded the most beautiful maidens in his lands sent to him that he might chose a new queen. You have heard how he set the queen’s crown upon the head of the virtuous and beautiful Jewess, Esther.
And you have heard how Queen Esther herself defied both king and law to save her people from the fate the evil Prince Haman had prepared for them. But beyond that, you do not know what truly happened, for you were not there. I was. I am Hegai, who once ruled the imperial harem. I was there. Oh, yes, I was there when this great and deadly game began. When a beautiful woman deceived her cruel husband, and he plotted his revenge -- and so set in motion his own destruction.
For from that commonplace tragedy -- a wife’s unfaithfulness and its discovery by a furious husband -- all the rest flowed, unstoppable as a river in full flood, relentless as time. Its force altered forever the lives of everyone trapped within its current. But the game we all played began long before any of its players were born. It began in the decadent court of old Babylon. It began when a man I would not meet for many years saved the life of a woman I would never know.…
This was my Vashti. To meet my fictional Queen Vashti, read GAME OF QUEENS...