Legends of Persia – book II in the Time for Alexander series by Jennifer Macaire
When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books. Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?
Sequel to Time for Alexander and 2nd in the Iskander Series. Alexander the Great’s campaign against the mountain tribes is given a new kind of life, told from the viewpoint of a time traveling reporter who is married to Alexander. The innate humor of the author is rounded out with the personal triumphs and tragedies of the loving, appealing, sensual Ashley, who has made herself a new life and close friends 3,000 years in her past.
What people are saying:
“….Legends of Persia, (formerly Heroes in the Dust) is another wonderful episode on the lives of Alexander and Ashley. From the blessing of the fields, to avoiding poisoned food and plots against Alexander’s rule, there wasn’t one slow page. Once again as I read the last words I was already wishing for the next book. In order to get the most out of this story you really need to read Time for Alexander first but there is enough detail that it could stand on its own if necessary. I promise you though that the hours spent with these characters are worth every minute. I highly recommend this book. Heroes in the Dust is history brought to life for every romantic heart – you don’t want to miss this one.” ~ L. Warnock, GoodReads
Published by Accent Press, Available through Simon & Schuster, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.UK, Barnes & Noble, ibooks, BAM!, !ndigo (Canada), Waterstones
“Ashley of the Sacred Sandals, arise. Your holy boots await you.”
Only Alexander would be so facetious. I opened one eye, then another. He was sitting on the side of the bed, holding my cape and boots.
“Why are you waking me?” I yawned. “It’s not even dawn.”
“It’s been dawn for several minutes already,” he said seriously. “We’re leaving this morning to the place where they’re holding the ceremony. We’re going to meet the chieftain there. We need the goodwill of the people between here and the pass. They’ve been sorely treated by Bessus, and they’re afraid that we’re going to take all their food supplies.” His face was somber.
“No, we’re not. We have enough food to get us to the basecamp, but we’ll need more before heading over the pass. What I want you to do is promise them a great harvest for next summer. They will advance us grain, I hope.”
“Do you want to turn back?” I asked. “Should we go back to Zadracarta and spend the winter there?”
“I dare not,” he answered. “If we give Bessus time to regroup and gather the northern tribes under the crown, all will be lost. He will sweep back west towards Persia, and I’ll end up fighting in the very lands I won from Darius. How much more fighting can those villages stand? The land behind me is ravaged by war, it needs to recuperate. The people behind me are my people now. I am their king. I will not bring more war upon them. No, I must press on. After these mountains are fertile plains, and there will be enough for all – the army and the villages.” He leaned over and kissed me. “So hurry, we cannot hesitate now. The decision has been taken.” He smiled at me gently. “Besides, I am anxious to meet a certain Paul. My heart longs for him. I feel so close to him now.”
I swallowed my sadness and nodded. I would do all I could to help Alexander go forward. Even if it meant pretending to be a goddess.
Morning was bright and cold. I filled my lungs with fresh, crisp air and felt my head clear. My cape was dry, my boots almost dry, and I was standing next to the man I loved.
We walked to the mess tent where we drank some cardamom tea and ate a piece of bread. The cooks had been busy all night making bread. The air around the tent was warm and fragrant from the heat radiating off the clay pots the bread was cooked in, Egyptian style.
The soldiers usually marched with two days’ rations. Already, a long line of soldiers was forming. They would put bread and onions in their pouches, along with whatever else the cooks had made for them. Sometimes there was meat or fish, but not often. The army’s meat – walking on four legs ahead of the army – was only used in extreme occasions. The soldiers’ fare was mostly dried beans, onions, garlic, cheese, and hard bread. Fresh fruit and vegetables were used in season, although most vegetables were regarded with suspicion.
I stuffed a chunk of bread and a couple of onions in my pouch, along with a head of garlic and a dried apple. A handful of raisins and a hardboiled egg completed my rations. I would have liked some honey, but I didn’t see any. Hardboiled eggs were a treat. I gave one to Alexander.
We walked through the camp. The tents were set up in perfectly straight rows. The men were professional soldiers, whether they were from Greece, Macedonia, Persia, or Thrace. Their cloaks were hung neatly, their boots carefully set out to dry, their weapons gleamed, and their shields were highly polished. As we walked, everyone greeted us. Different people came to speak to Alexander, and he answered questions, patted backs, laughed at jokes, told one of his own, smiled at a little boy hanging onto his mother’s hand, and made the same sort of an impression a shooting star makes as it sails through the night sky.
We got to the stables, and Alexander was greeted by the grooms and by his horse, Bucephalus, who saw his master and gave a shrill whinny.
“Buci!” Alexander broke off a piece of his bread and fed it to the great stallion.
Bucephalus was smaller than the horses in my time. He was roughly fifteen or sixteen hands high. He had a massive neck and chest, and was superbly fit. His feet were hard as flint and unshod. He had incredible endurance, as I’d seen last month when we’d galloped for four days across the arid landscape of Media in pursuit of Bessus. Eight hundred horses died in that mad dash.
Plexis had lost his beloved black stallion. Now he had a new horse, and a vicious beast he was, too. He stood in the far side of the corral with his ears pinned back, waiting to see what other bones he could break in Plexis’s body.
Alexander scratched Bucephalus’s head, and the horse half closed his eyes and nuzzled him. He put his soft nose under Alexander’s arm and snorted gently in greeting. His nose was black, like his mane and tail, which was so long it nearly dragged on the ground. His coat was a soft dun, with a reddish tinge to it, and it was nearly five inches thick, making him look like a huge Shetland pony. It would keep him warm, though, in the bitter cold of the mountains.
My pony was gray. I called her Penelope, which made Plexis wince (it was his mother’s name). She had intelligent, bright, liquid eyes. I gave her a pat and slipped her bridle over her head.
We led our horses out of the stables, mounted them, and jogged straight uphill. The chieftains were meeting us in front of a village perched in the mountains, where the ceremony was to be held. I hoped I wouldn’t have to make a sacrifice. I couldn’t step on an ant without feeling queasy.