My latest bedtime reading is a novel by Roger Malone, Island at the Edge of War. The setting is the Adriatic island of Korcula, or Curzola, as it was called by the Venetians who occupied it at the time. It is set in around 1570, just before the Battle of Lepanto. The island is twinned with Rothesay in Scotland, not far from me. Today, Korcula is a popular tourist destination, just off the Croatian coast, not far from Dubrovnik, with Korcula Town being the main attraction.
The story is about a young peasant boy, Damir, who lives near the village of Blato, which is at the island's western end. He and his family farm olives and make olive oil. The village is regularly raided by pirates based on the Dalmatian coast. Damir takes olive oil to Korcula Town when it is attacked by the Ottomans. An assault they successfully fight off with little assistance from the Venetian governor (Rector), who flees when the Ottomans arrived.
When Damir arrives home, he finds a young boy hiding near the coast. He appears to be Ottoman, but how he got there is not clear. I won't spoil the story by saying who he is because that becomes a critical element of the story as Damir and his friends attempt to return him to the Ottomans. Their journey takes them to the mainland and the Ragusan town of Ston and then to Dubrovnik.
If you like your historical fiction, Bernard Cornwell style, this may be a bit tame. However, it is an exciting and well-told story with some action and plenty of twists. The title 'Adriatic Tales Book 1' implies there will be more. As I am off to this coast in May, it made timely background reading.
|The fortifications at Ston were built to protect the valuable salt pans. A bit of a climb, but worth a visit.|
|Ottoman galleys of the period|