The Empress Emerald

The Empress Emerald is the story of Leo Kazan and Davina Dymond, lovers separated by continents, time and social convention. Set in the tumultuous years between the two World Wars, when Russia was ripped apart by revolution, civil war destroyed Spain, and the ‘Home Rule’ independence movement finally ended the British Raj in India, it is a love story played out on an international stage.

Leo is half Russian and half Indian, an orphan (or so he believes) and a talented linguist. He is also a thief, attracted like a magpie to everything that glitters.Leo becomes the protégé of Sir Lionel Pinecoffin, the District Political Officer in Bombay, who recognises Leo’s talents and turns him into a spy. From an early age, Leo is involved in international espionage, and diamond smuggling. He travels from India to Europe and Russia, but the most meaningful time in his life are a few stolen days with a girl named Davina, in London.

As the drums of war reverberate around the world for the second time in their lives, Leo begins to understand his past, and Davina turns to crime to survive. She and Leo must find a way to escape the old world and its ways in order to find their true identities, happiness – and each other.

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Author Reviews

Drums of war, of history.
Every once in a while you come across a piece of literature which marks its territory in your heart. From the romantic works of Austen to the fantastical themes that Gaiman provides, the list is endless. Written by J.G. Harlond, The Empress Emerald is yet another brilliant work that is certain to stay with the reader for quite a long time.
The protagonist of the novel, Leo Kazan is a Russian-Indian orphan; a thief and a talented linguist. Just the way a moth gets attracted to flame, Leo is drawn to everything that glitters.

By Paavana Varma for Indian Book Reviews.  (29th July 2017)

An epic and enthralling novel.
An epic and enthralling novel of love and separation, betrayal and treachery, which sweeps the reader across continents from India and Russia to Spain and England. Individual lives are torn apart by the flood of war and political manipulation, yet even as they struggle in that drowning tide, Leo and Davina discover their own identities and place of belonging. Cinematic, with a rich tapestry of colour and characters
Karen Maitland author of Falcons of Fire and Ice

An entertaining and educational read.
I am a fan of historical fiction, I like books that entertain, and I am always keen to learn about places and times that I know little about. The Empress Emerald ticked all my boxes. I cared about the main characters Leo and Davina, which is important but something that not all novels achieve. Their faults were endearing rather than demeaning. I was batting for them throughout my reading.
With multiple locations, as this story has, an author has to adapt their language to suit. J G Harlond achieves this perfectly. The history of the period weaves through the book without imposing on the narrative. The author comments that her research was copious and that I can believe. It is commendable that there is no attempt to show any of the various political and national factions of the period in an unflattering light.
The two characters I disliked I was meant to dislike. It’s always good to have a villain or two to hiss at. In a novel that covers a long time span, as The Empress Emerald does, there is the danger of losing the impetus of the story but the author has kept the pace moving beautifully: I raced through the book but managed to take in all its nuances at the same time.
Without reservation, I can recommend The Empress Emerald as an entertaining and educational read.

Amelia Pasch author of Murder in Mind.

See here a Reading Group Guide for The Empress Emerald.

New edition of the book now published by Penmore Press Ltd.