Since being sold into slavery as a child and working her way up to becoming concubine and mistress for several different men, Lady Juliana’s survival has depended on her allure. Then her place in the world is shattered by a debilitating illness and she is spurned by the entire Polish royal court. Enter Felix Ossolinski—scholar, diplomat, Renaissance man. A riding accident in his teens forced him to redirect his energies from war to the life of the mind, and alone among the men of the sixteenth-century Polish court, he sees in Juliana a kindred spirit, a woman who has never appreciated her own value and whose inner beauty outweighs any marring of her face. Then the Polish queen offers Juliana a way out of her difficulties: travel to Moscow with Felix and spy for the royal family in return for a promise of financial independence. Facing poverty and degradation, Juliana cannot refuse, although the mission threatens not only her freedom but her life. Felix swears he will protect her. But no one can protect Juliana from the demons of her past. Join me for a discussion with C.P. Lesley about her new novel Song of the Siren (Five Directions Press, 2019).
Carolyn Pouncy (who holds a PhD in Russian history from Stanford University) writes under the pen name C.P. Lesley (who doesn’t exist and has no degrees). Carolyn (aka C.P.) is the author of The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel, The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess , The Vermilion Bird, and The Shattered Drum. Song of the Siren is the first in her newest series, Songs of Steppe & Forest, based on 16th-century Russian history. When not thinking up new ways to torture her characters, she edits other people’s manuscripts, reads voraciously, maintains her website, and practices classical ballet. That love of ballet finds expression in her Tarkei Chronicles. A historian by profession, she also hosts New Books in Historical Fiction for the New Books Network.