LUCILLE TURNER’s first book, Gioconda, was published by Granta Books in 2011. A novel about the life of Leonardo da Vinci, it went on to win the Hislibris prize for historical fiction and was translated into several languages. She has a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and has worked as a translator, a journalist, a teacher and a book reviewer. She lives between Bournemouth and Nice and blogs about historical fiction at www.lucilleturner.com.
Gioconda, published by Granta Books 2011 (historical/biographical fiction ISBN: 978-1-84708-358-6)
The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer, published independently (Renaissance Books) in 2016, (historical fiction ISBN 978-1-5272-0206-1)
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In a world where everyone wants to tell you how to think, what do you do when you know that they are wrong?
Anchiano 1452. A boy is born to a father who will never understand him. Unless he finds the power to become what he could be, he will remain what he is, the son of a notary from a hamlet in the hills, nobody. As he grows up out of step with everyone around him, Leonardo must follow his instincts if he is ever to fulfil the vow he makes, to rescue those around him from their ignorance and fear. But one day he will have to make a choice. Does he share his knowledge and pay the price for it? Or does he do what his hands have always told him to do? Hide it.
He looks at his aching hands. Runs them over his bony face and rough beard. How long before his body gives up, and when it does, what of it? If he stops now, what will happen – will he live more? What is more, more of what?
“Turner brilliantly captures the political instability of 15th-century Florence and the religious dogma and social conventions that have a claustrophobic effect on Leonardo’s unruly genius and dangerously unorthodox ideas
A lush, evocative and remarkably accomplished debut novel” THE FINANCIAL TIMES
“Compulsive and intuitive, this is a great first novel” - THE SKINNY
1442: The Ottoman Turks are advancing through the Balkans with Vienna in their sights and Constantinople, the Orthodox Greek capital, within their grasp. Dracul, ruler of Wallachia (present-day Romania), will pay almost any price to save his country, but he will not surrender to the blackmail of the cardinals of Rome; he will not betray the Greeks.
When Vlad, his middle son, begins to show signs of the ancestral sickness, Dracul vows to deliver him into safety. But time is running short. To some, Vlad Dracula is a strigoi, the worst of all evils; to others, he is the son of a righteous man. Confrontational, charismatic and manipulative, he tests family and enemy alike. Surely he is destined for power, but of what kind?
As the Ottomans plot to take Constantinople, the future of Vlad Dracula becomes a weapon for those who would preserve the Golden City of the Eastern Church. The Catholics are afraid of him; the Greeks hold the scrolls that tell of his past. And when the Sultan calls for the services of a soothsayer, even the shrewd teller of fortunes is unprepared for what he learns.
Awards & Prizes:
Hislibris prize for historical fiction (winner) 2012
Literary Festival Appearances:
Bath Festival in 2012 with Author James Long, and Oxford Literary Festival with Professor Martin Kemp in 2012, speaking about Leonardo da Vinci
AUTHOR/SPEAKER: LUCILLE TURNER HISTORICAL FICTION
BOOKS: GIOCONDA, and THE SULTAN, THE VAMPYR AND THE SOOTHSAYER Links:
Lucille Turner/Amazon Granta Books lucilleturner.com
THE MYTH OF THE VAMPIRE
2017 marks the 120-year anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula. How has the vampire evolved since then, and what was Bram Stoker’s legacy?There is an awful lot more to the vampire myth than fangs, blood and Dracula. The vampire is a mirror into which a society can look to find the reflection of itself, of its deepest fears and most profound dreams; it is a cross-cultural figure that has endured over the centuries and morphed like a shape-shifter into various different guises at various different times.
I propose to talk about these cross-cultural manifestations of the vampire myth, and examine what they might mean.
FROM DA VINCI TO DRACULA
Why do iconic figures present such an attraction for novelists, and how do you separate the truth from the myth?
The connection between Leonardo da Vinci and Dracula may not seem obvious at first sight, but these two historical figures are in many ways quite similar – both have generated a myth that has outgrown them in stature. Leonardo is famous for his portrait of Mona Lisa, and yet he spent the best part of his life as an inventor, rather than an artist. He only produced 15 paintings, while Botticelli, for example, produced over one hundred. But when you queue up at the Louvre to see his portrait of a silk merchant’s wife, you would think it was the only thing he had ever done. Similarly, Vlad Dracula, the man who was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s literary character “Count Dracula”, has been entirely devoured by the persona of the vampire. In Romania, Dracula is celebrated as a national hero, but to the rest of the world he represents the ultimate evil.
To peel back the layers of the myths that surround these two iconic individuals, we need to understand how they grew up in the first place. Once you take the puzzle of the myth to pieces, another picture starts to form – and never the one you expect.