For the month of October it is my honor to be Black Opal Books’ featured author. I chose Treasured Chest, a historical romance, as the subject of this blog.
Although the story is a fictitious, the locations in the book are real. Set in the Adriatic Sea during the end of 18th century at the end of the a thousand long rule of Venetian Republic, this story depicts the lives of impoverished women when their choices were get married, became a nun or a harlot.
In some rare cases women found love in the marriages they were forced into, mostly they were regarded as no more than a possession.
So it wouldn’t be farfetched to say that sometimes women were on the run and in hiding. As in my story, they found refuge on a pirate ship. A ship that did not exist, or at least, there were no proof that it existed.
Let’s start with the location depicted in the book.
Ragusa or today’s Dubrovnik, many may know it as King’s Landing from Game of Thrones, it’s a true gem of the Adriatic Sea. Once a republic on its own, the only enemy and never conquered by the Venetian Republic. (insert Dubrovnik’s picture here)
There’s also the Blue Cave on the islet of Biševo where Sirena and Marko discover something that could change them forever. Today, tourist can rent boats that will take them there from every port but the closet one is on the island of Vis, Marko’s home place.
This brings us to the church Our Lady of Pirates on the island of Vis where Marko married Carmen. In my research of the island, I came across this church. It was rebuilt and expended after an icon of a certain female saint mysteriously floated to the shore. The picture was stolen when pirates raided the island. They didn’t get far, however. A freak storm sunk their ship and three days later the icon was found on the beach in front of the church.
The last thing Captain Sirena expected to find on a desolate island was…him!
When Carmen Ventura takes up her post as commander of the Strega, she becomes the new Captain Sirena, the legendary pirate most people think is just a myth created to scare children. Her first quest is to search for the “treasured chest” hidden by her predecessor. But before she can even begin the hunt, she runs into Marko Lucin, captain of the Levant and Carmen’s most insane adventure yet.
Never one to pass up an adventure, especially where pretty women are concerned, Marko finds his ultimate challenge in Carmen. Not only does he fall for her courage, spunk, and intelligence, but the lady pirate can also help him get what he wants—the famous treasure everyone whispers about. His only problem—how long can he play the charming captain before she discovers his true intentions?
She was ready to walk away and leave him stranded…but the man had a treasure map. What if it was real?
Sirena’s mind raced. Even with different colors hoisted, after the last night’s raid, she ran the risk that the Strega’s sails would be detected as soon as they appeared on the horizon. Her ship could not approach the city’s defensive walls. Not until all the rumors settled and no survivors would recognize them. On the other hand, she couldn’t pass through the Pila Gates as a lone woman. Last time she had spoken to her brother, he had said he’d be docking in Ragusa’s harbor on the second Sunday of August. Still two days away, but she should pay him a visit. Maybe he’d been home and had news.
“I possess a map.” The man’s voice snapped her out of her planning.
She lowered her sword, and her glance, to his feet and flicked a crab into the sea. “Charts are of no interest to me.”
“Ah.” He stroked his chin, leaving sooty fingerprints on his blond beard. “But this is not an ordinary map.” His grin exposed a row of white teeth, a rarity. “It leads to a treasure.”
“Treasure means different things to different people.” Something familiar reflected in his eyes. She stepped back. Now, where had she seen him before?
“True,” he said, “but I believe this map is real.” The same sparkle flashed in his eyes, reaffirming that flicker of recognition, but she still couldn’t place the sense of familiarity.
“What makes you so sure?”
“I’ve had it all my life.” He shrugged and gave a shy smile. “Call me a captain, but I’ve never been able to make any sense of the damn thing.”
© 2012 Zrinka Jelic