Stormbringers was published in the UK on June 6th and is the second book in Philippa Gregory's Order of Darkness series. I'm pretty excited to have a guest post from the queen of historical fiction herself, and I hope you enjoy getting to know Radu Bey!
Handsome and charismatic Radu Bey is not just the commander of an Ottoman slaving ship; at 18 years of age he is one of the greatest men of the Ottoman Empire. Immaculately dressed in brocade pantaloons, a white linen shirt and beautiful red leather boots he wears a turban with a stone and a white floating plume of egrets' feathers, giving him an almost regal appearance. Radu is a warrior with the dangerous combination of intelligence and charisma; qualities that have helped make him the sworn enemy of many, including the Order of Darkness. Radu Bey is a scholarly man, well educated with a thirst for knowledge. When he was younger he and his brother were raised with Sultan Mehmet II's son and received the finest education of the time. He has read manuscripts by great philosophers and scientists and may understand the phenomenon of the wave. He is a philosophical and intelligent man, and dines with Luca under the guise of teaching him more about the wave. However it is clear Radu uses this opportunity to size up his opponent, and intends to tempt Luca back to Istanbul with the promise of an education – using Luca's desire to learn more about mathematics and philosophy as bait.
Luca: 'And you carry manuscripts with you, everywhere that you go?'
Radu Bey: 'I read, all the time, and then I read some more. This is the way to understanding. I believe that one day we will understand everything.'
LIFE BEFORE BOOKS
Before the advent of mass-produced books and long before the internet, manuscripts were used to publish information. In the period Order of Darkness is set, manuscripts were produced on paper like the books of today and were either hand written or printed using a technique called 'movable type printing.' This was actually the first incarnation of the printing press, and involved using wood and metal to make a mold that could be used to reproduce elements of a document. Because of the considerable amount of time and skill it took to create one, manuscripts were cherished items typically only available to the educated or wealthy, and were used to create a range of important and scholarly documents such as maps, academic texts, legal documents and bibles.