Monday, January 20, 2020

Spotlight: The God's Eye by Anna Butler



Rafe Lancaster is reluctantly settling into his role as the First Heir of House Stravaigor. Trapped by his father’s illness and his new responsibilities, Rafe can’t go with lover Ned Winter to Aegypt for the 1902/03 archaeological digging season. Rafe’s unease at being left behind intensifies when Ned’s fascination with the strange Antikythera mechanism and its intriguing link to the Aegyptian god Thoth has Ned heading south to the remote, unexplored highlands of Abyssinia and the course of the Blue Nile.

Searching for Thoth’s deadly secrets, Ned is out of contact and far from help. When he doesn’t return at Christmas as he promised, everything points to trouble. Rafe is left with a stark choice – abandon his dying father, or risk never seeing Ned again.

Title: The God’s Eye
Author: Anna Butler
Series: Lancaster’s Luck
Necessary to read previous 2 books? Best read in sequence
Wordcount: c110,000
Category: Steampunk adventure | M/M romance
eBook Publication Date: 21 January 2020
Publisher: Glass Hat Press © 2020
Editors: Desi Chapman (Blue Ink Editing) and Megan Reddaway
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Internal Art: Margaret Warner

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The Lancaster’s Luck series – which is best read in sequence - charts the adventures of Rafe Lancaster, ex-aeronaut and pilot in Her Britannic Majesty’s Aero Corps. After being shot down and injured in action during the Boer War in 1899, Rafe’s unable to continue as a fighter pilot.

The Gilded Scarab

Returning to London, hard up and looking for a new career, Rafe buys a coffeehouse close to the Britannic Imperium Museum in Bloomsbury where he meets love of his life, archaeologist and First Heir House Gallowglass, Ned Winter.

The Gilded Scarab was a finalist in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Awards and nominated for the Independent Publishers Book Awards in 2015.

The Jackal’s House

Ned’s excavation at Abydos, Aegypt, faces disruptive tricks and pranks that develop into a real threat to their lives, all seeming orchestrated by the god Anubis. When the life of Ned’s young son is on the line, Rafe carries out a daring rescue attempt and learns the shocking truth about his own heritage.

The Jackal’s House won joint first place for Best Gay Historical Romance in the 2018/19 Rainbow Awards, and joint third place for Best Gay Book.


Sudanese Cuisine

Rafe Lancaster is a man who loves his food. In every book so far, he and Ned have shared at least one meal in which Rafe lovingly gives us the menu in a euphonious French that rolls from the tongue, glorying in each exquisitely crafted gourmand dish and the superb wines he and Ned have chosen to accompany them. Yes. He likes food.

I’m not saying Rafe has food issues, by the way. That would be me. Any half-decent psychiatrist would tell you that allowing Rafe to enjoy all those lovely little amuse-bouches is my way of avoiding looking my Weight Watcher coach in the eye while protesting that “Of course I’ve followed the programme this week! Those extra pounds are as imaginary as the French chef cooking Rafe’s dinner!”

Truth be told, he and Ned spend far more meals together eating a cuisine that takes itself much less seriously than the French chef. In their adventures so far, they’ve eaten a lot of the food of the Mediterranean and northern Africa: the kosharis, stews and falafel that are so typical of Egypt and the Sudan. And that’s given me the impetus to try out some of the regional dishes. All in the interest of research, you understand, to immerse myself in my writing.

Oh well. That argument didn’t impress my WW coach, either.

Anyhow, along with its predecessors, The God’s Eye expanded my culinary repertoire a little, and I thought I’d share a recipe with you here that we’ve enjoyed.

Without giving too much plot away, Rafe is rushing south out of Aegypt, across the Sudan to Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia) to find Ned, who has been missing for several weeks now. He and his party stop off in Khartoum, lunching on the Sudan’s famous red stew ‘Mullah Ahmar’. Here’s the version of Mullar Ahmar that we’ve had:
  • 3 tablespoons of red onion paste (fry a finely chopped, large red onion in oil until caramelised and a lovely deep red colour, and mash up into a thick paste – not too smooth. You can keep the excess paste in the fridge for use in other things. It didn’t last long in our house, as it got added into a soup three days later)
  • 500g minced (ground) beef
  • 4 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes, blended until smooth (about 1 litre)
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 4-5 tablespoons ground okra (a thickening agent. I got mine online, at an Asian food suppliers)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper

In a lightly oiled pan, mix the red onion paste and minced beef for a few minutes until the beef is no more than lightly browned.

Add the tomato puree and mix into the meat, then add the blended chopped tomatoes and bring to a gentle boil.

Reduce the heat, add the coriander and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20mins or so until the oils rise to the surface, then gradually add and mix in the ground okra to thicken the stew. Add the crushed garlic and stir well.


This makes a wonderful thick, spicy red stew that’s traditionally eaten with a pancake-type bread called gurasa. I’m afraid we cheated and had it with thick slices of crusty white bread, which might not have been traditional, but was delicious. Perfect on a wet autumn day after we’d come in from walking the dogs.

Sadly, Rafe was too anxious over Ned to have much of an appetite, but if he’d have been able to concentrate, he’d have loved it. I hope you do, too!


It hit us when we were over the pyramid. Though we were two thousand feet up, it hit us. As we came overhead, lightning flashed up the obelisk, sending a shaft of sapphire-blue light leaping to catch at us and pull us down.

I was once a fighter pilot. I reacted without thinking. I heeled the Brunel over to starboard so hard she almost stood on her wing, flipped ninety degrees. The light sizzled along our underbelly, coruscating into fireworks above us, and exploded, flashing out from the beam in a fast-moving, glowing sphere.

It got us, caught us in some sort of backwash.

A lightning squall danced and played over the control board in front of me, zinging through my hands where they lay on the steering yoke.

The engines stopped.

They just stopped.

The Brunel heaved, struggling against the air. The huge paddle propellers under the short, stubby wings on each side slowed. Stopped. And then we were spinning and spinning, all power gone.

I shoved the yoke to push her nose down hard. She’d go faster. Get more air moving over the wings. Get some lift. Too slow to move the paddles— No. Not fast enough. But plenty of lift to pull her back under control.

Behind me, Nell screamed. Other voices were angry or afraid, or both.

Feel the air flow under her wings. Boosting her up. Haul back on the yoke.

Up you come, my pretty bird. Up you damn well come!

Gott im Himmel! Can you land?”
“Shut up. Shut up.”

He shut up.

Swing out over the ravines. Find an updraught. Find— There! There! A lammergeier soaring on the air current surging up the plateau’s steep side. Cant her over there. Get over! Get into that updraught. That’s it. Lift. We’ve got much more lift. She’s going up, now. Not much. A bit.

Up you come, my girl! Up!

Enough. That’s just enough. Got more control now.

Wind’s from the northwest. Of course. From Aegypt. There’ll be wind shear where it comes over the ridges. Find it. Use it.

Someone’s panting for breath now. Me? Must be. Haul the yoke round.

And back over the plateau, coming in along the bird’s beak. Hugh cleared a path for me when they crashed. He scored a landing strip into the earth for me.

Landing wheels down.

Still too high.

Another circuit, faster now with the energy we built up riding the gradient where wind surges over the ridge edges and roils and eddies in the slower air beneath. Wind shear. Bring her around again. Catch more lift. Soar higher, soar faster. Ease her nose down. Ten degrees. Get her down ten. Yes. Good approach. Coming back along the beak again. What the hell’s the glide ratio? Doesn’t matter. We can do it.

Another swing around. A big S shape, to lose height. Taking us northwest again to ride those turbulent winds, gain energy and control. Dynamic soaring, that’s what the birds do. Flying like this, strictly for the birds.

And back again in another elongated S. Pointed straight at that damn pyramid. Slowing. Slowing.

Come on, girl. You can do it.

And down we go. Down. Down between the crash site and the pyramid.

Facing the wind. Get that last bit of lift and—

Over the crashed six-seater now. So low the broken tail almost catches our underbelly. Just misses.

And down.


God, the brush makes the ground rough. Bouncing us to hell… Slam on the brakes. Brakes! Now!

And pull around. Pull! God, my arms.

And stop.




About Anna

Anna lives in the depths of the Nottinghamshire countryside with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo, who’s supported by Mavis the Assistant Editor, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several times bigger than she is but with no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me here today. I really appreciate all the help and support, not only with this blog post but from Sandra personally. Love you!


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