Ghosts of the Past is book two of my Peers of Beinan series. Set three generations after “The Great Succession Crisis,” and spanning four generations, Ghosts follows the descendents of Princess Anlei as they struggle with terrorism and violence. Readers of “The Great Succession Crisis,” will remember the revenge promised by Lord Janus. Now Janus takes his revenge from the grave directly through his new incarnation and through his descendants in this story where you never know who or when someone will fall to terrorism or murder.
True to my narrative style, none of this violence is graphic; you don’t need to see every drop of Beinarian green-yellow blood to know someone is dead!
Sex too is an inevitable part of Ghosts of the Past as generation after generation is born. None of this gets explicit, but there is a lot more sex to Ghosts than its prequel.
A reader or two has suggested that this sex is not necessary. So this morning I would like to take a look at this sexier side.
Character building and sex:
As early as chapter one, we see our first hero, Lord Knight Elendir, seduced by Princess Cathryn, then by Lady Elita in the chapter of the same name. Is this sex for the sake of sex?
Let’s take a look at what happens and why.
Early in chapter one, we watch the sixty yen-ar old Elendir elevated to knighthood. This sounds pretty old, until you realize that Beinarians come of age at 50 yen-ars and live over 300 yen-ars barring accident, illness, or violence. Ages 50 to 80 for Beinarians are therefore roughly equivalent to Earth humans aged 18 to 21 with all of the same habits for reckless behavior that comes with that age.
Typical of a such a young man, Elendir starts out vulnerable to his hormones, finding it difficult for him to assert mind and will over his body, especially when faced by attractive women who know how to exploit this flaw. As a knight of Ten-Ar, he has been trained to resist his body, of course, but is far less successful at it than his ancestor, Lord Knight Corann, from book one. Elendir is therefore a flawed young man whose failings come to haunt him — and those he loves — later on in life.
Elendir’s best friend, Prince Kendric, also has some serious problems. The treaty that “resolved” the Great Succession Crisis has forced him to marry a woman he doesn’t know and doesn’t love over the woman he is very deeply in love with. But Princess Lidmila is not your typical nobleman’s pawn. With secret connections to the same terrorists behind the healing center bombings, she abuses Beinarian fertility technology to drug and control her unwilling husband. These drugs take a serious toll on the young prince who in time resumes his relationship with his sweetheart, Lady Aurnia. As with Elendir, the sex described after the fact is used to convey key information about Prince Kendric, Princess Lidmila, and Lady Aurnia.
Finally, there is Kendric’s youngest daughter Constance who becomes the youngest ever Gurun dynasty queen after her father’s murder (celebrated in the song she sings at the crime scene). Constance is in a tight place. Both her parents are dead. The terrorist strikes have now raged for over 100 yen-ars (300 Earth years), decimating her family, and the future of the planet is on her narrow, adolescent shoulders. Attracted to Elendir’s son Corann, she marries according to her political instincts. But time cannot erase her attraction and affection for Corann, setting in motion what comes later.
Ghosts of the Past IS a sexier story than its prequel, but for good reason as I hope I have demonstrated. Far from erotica (most of it is done through metaphors and vague descriptions), it shows very poignantly the consequences of our choices and the impact of poor decisions from our youth on the rest of our lives — and others’ lives by extension. In Elendir’s vulnerability to his body, he becomes more real to us than some cookie cutter knight from a storybook; whether we admit it or not, every single one of us has felt the intensity of that particular fire from adolescence. Therefore in sharing this experience, we also feel his agony regarding the deaths of his parents by terrorism and feel his struggles more intensely.
This I hope makes Ghosts of the Past more than just a murder-mystery, but a story we all can relate to, even from a galaxy far far away from Beinan!
–Laurel A. Rockefeller
The Peers of Beinan series