Sinagiri

Princess Abebech is a daughter of the King in Eritrea, who is contracted in marriage to Rajah Kasyapu in Taprobane. She sails from Assaba to the island that today is called Sri Lanka. There she becomes the fourth wife of the Rajah, but she is puzzled as the castle is built on top of a large rock, with difficult access, and offering a strange life style to the Rajah and his retinue. She hears rumours of the mysterious death of the Rajah’s father, and eventually the body of the old Rajah is found having suffered a horrific death at the hands of his son, the current Rajah. The younger brother Mogallana returns from India with an army to avenge the death of his father, and the Rajah with his army of elephants is chased and killed. Note: the author had access to the Mahawansa which details the history of Sri Lanka from the 5th century BC, to about 1700 AD.

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1. Author's Note

This novel is set around the final decade of the fifth century in the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, as it is known today.  In those days the island was known as Taprobane, and later as Serendipia (from the word serendipity), and later still as Ceylon.

 

There actually was a King, or Raja, called Kasyapu, who built at that time a fortress palace at a place known today as Singiria.  The ruins still exist and visitors can climb up the rock and see painted on the rock face the portraits of several beautiful ladies who lived at that time.  One of these portraits is of a dark skinned lady who in this book I have called Abebech.  The rest is my imagination, although I do try to follow the official history as closely as possible.

 

If you, the reader, ever get a chance to visit Sri Lanka please make a point to travel to the north west of the island and visit Singiria.  In the early morning make your way up steps cut in the rock, along corridors cut into the rock face, and finally up a rickety steel spiral staircase.  There you will see all the existing pictures of the ladies who, I believe, lived at that time in Sinagiri.  One is much darker than the others, and could have been called Abebech.  No one knows, so please decide for yourself.

 

I would like to pay tribute to George Turnour, who in the early 19th Century discovered and translated the “Mahawansa” from pali into singhalese and then into English, and Sir James Emerson Tennent, who was Governor of Ceylon from 1845 to 1849, and the author of the definitive “Ceylon - An Account of the Island”*.

 

 

Mike Lord,

 

*Published by Lo

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