A coalition of lions, p.15
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       A Coalition of Lions, p.15

           Elizabeth E. Wein
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  GOEWIN: Daughter of Artos and Ginevra; twin sister of Lleu.

  LLEU: Prince of Britain, son of Artos and Ginevra; twin brother of Goewin.

  MORGAUSE: Queen of the Orcades, sister of Artos; mother of Medraut; Goewin’s aunt.

  Other British characters:

  CONSTANTINE (called Ella Amida in his role as Aksum’s viceroy): Son of the king of Dumnonia. Artos’s heir in the event of his sons’ deaths; Goewin’s fiancé and cousin. British ambassador to Aksum and later Aksum’s viceroy.

  CYNRIC: King of the West Saxons who leads a force against Artos at Camlan.

  CAIUS: Artos’s steward at Camlan.



  The emperor and his sons (in birth order):

  CALEB: Also called Ella Asbeha. Emperor of Aksum, father of Aryat and Wazeb; brother of Candake.

  ARYAT: Eldest son of Caleb, killed by Abreha in Himyar.

  WAZEB: Also called Gebre Meskal. Caleb’s son and crown prince of Aksum.

  The queen of queens and her sons (in birth order):

  CANDAKE: Negeshta nagashtat, queen of queens; sister of the emperor Caleb; mother of Mikael, Abreha, Priamos, etc.; wife of Anbessa.

  MIKAEL: Eldest son of Candake and Anbessa; brother of Priamos; nephew of Caleb. Madman sequestered in hermitage at Debra Damo.

  ABREHA: Elected king of Himyar; second son of Anbessa and Candake.

  HECTOR: Third son of Anbessa and Candake; nephew of Caleb; brother of Priamos. Led force against Abreha in Himyar. Murdered by mutinous officers.

  PRIAMOS ANBESSA: Fourth son of Anbessa and Candake; nephew of Caleb. Aksumite ambassador to Britain, trained as afa negus (Aksumite imperial translator); led final defeated force against Abreha in Himyar.

  ITYOPIS: Youngest member of the bala heg (the emperor’s parliament); Priamos’s younger brother; son to Candake and Anbessa; nephew of Caleb; called “Dove” or “Peacemaker.”

  YARED: Youngest son of Candake and Anbessa; youngest brother of Priamos. Musician sequestered on Debra Damo.


  KIDANE: Father of Turunesh; grandfather of Telemakos. Host to Medraut and Goewin in Aksum. Member of the bala heg (the emperor’s parliament).

  TURUNESH: Kidane’s daughter; Telemakos’s mother; Medraut’s lover; Goewin’s friend.

  TELEMAKOS MEDER: Son of Medraut and Turunesh; grandson to Kidane and Artos.

  Other members of the imperial court:

  HALEN: Afa negus (Aksumite imperial translator); Priamos’s former tutor.

  DANAEL: Aksumite minister, leader of the bala heg (the emperor’s parliament).

  ZOSKALES: Eldest member of the bala heg (the emperor’s parliament).

  EBANA: Guard over Priamos.

  TEDLA: Guard over Priamos.

  NAFAS: Spear bearer to Constantine, in his role as Aksum’s viceroy.

  Other Aksumite characters:

  GEDAR: Merchant who lives in the villa across the street from Kidane.

  FEREM: Kidane’s butler.


  G=Ge’ez, or ancient Ethiopic

  A=Amharic, or modern Ethiopian


  ABUNA (A): Bishop.

  AFA NEGUS (G): Imperial translator (literally “mouth of the king”).

  AMBA (A): Mountain plateau, like a mesa.

  ANBESSA (G, A): Lion.

  BALA HEG (G): Parliament of advisors to the emperor.

  GEBETA (A): Ethiopian game of cups and beans (similar to the more familiar African game mancala).

  GUKS (A): Contest of skill similar to jousting.

  INJERA (A): Flat bread made from tef, Ethiopian grain.

  LIJ (A): Title for a young prince (similar to European “childe”).

  MESKAL (G, A): Feast of the Cross (literally “cross”), religious holiday taking place at the end of September.

  NEBIR (A): Leopard.

  NEGESHTA NAGASHTAT (G): Queen of queens (here, the emperor’s sister).

  NEGESHTA NAGAST (G): Queen of kings (title rarely given; Cleopatra is referred to this way).

  NEGUS (G, A): King.

  NEGUSA NAGAST (G): Emperor (literally “king of kings”).

  NAJASHI (AR): King.

  RAS (A): Title for a duke or prince.

  SANTARAJ (A): Ethiopian chess.

  SHAMMA (A): Cotton shawl worn over clothes by men and women.

  There is no word for “slave” in Ge’ez.

  A Biography of Elizabeth Wein

  Elizabeth Wein was born in New York City in 1964. She moved to England at the age of three, when her father, Norman Wein, who worked for the New York City Board of Education for most of his life, was sent to England to do teacher training and help organize a Headstart program at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University.

  When Elizabeth was six, Norman was sent to the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, to do three years of similar teacher training. In Christmas of 1970, while Elizabeth was living in Jamaica, her maternal grandmother, Betty Flocken, gave her a self-styled book-of-the-month subscription. Over the following three years, her grandmother sent her one book every month—some of them new, some of them having belonged to Elizabeth’s mother or grandmother when they were young. Elizabeth was introduced to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and The Lost Prince; all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books including The First Four Years and On the Way Home; Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins and Ellen Tebbits; Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series; and an obscure but adored favorite, The Horse Without a Head by Paul Berna (translated from the French). The anticipation of the arrival of these books, and the newly acquired satisfaction in being able to read them on her own, made Elizabeth decide at the early age of seven that she wanted to write books, too.

  In 1973, Elizabeth’s parents separated, eventually divorcing a year later. Elizabeth and her younger brother and sister moved back to the US with their mother, Carol Flocken, to live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Carol’s parents, Karl and Betty Flocken, were based.

  Life in Harrisburg was a shock to Elizabeth’s system after living in Jamaica, and she found herself besieged with homesickness. Going to school in Jamaica had left her fluent in Jamaican Patois and essentially “color blind,” and the racial divide she encountered in Pennsylvania in the mid-1970s was so ludicrous to her that she found it hard to fit in. She became an easy victim—when she attended an inner city school, it was because she was white; when she lived in the suburbs, it was because her friends were black.

  So of course she took refuge in books. She wrote her first “novel” in sixth grade, setting herself the challenge of producing five pages a day on yellow-lined school tablets, eventually producing a time-travel novel of over two hundred pages. At fifteen years old, she completed her next work, an epic fantasy.

  When Elizabeth’s mother, Carol, died in a car accident in 1978, Carol’s parents, Karl and Betty, took in and raised Elizabeth and her brother and sister. The grandparents who’d encouraged Elizabeth’s early reading now became her lifeline. Karl introduced her to T. H. White and King Arthur; Betty staunchly supported her determination to become a writer.

  High school at Harrisburg Academy was a time of healing and learning for Elizabeth, as she found herself in the most supportive school environment she’d experienced since the Quaker elementary school she’d attended in Jamaica.

  After graduating as the class valedictorian in 1982, Elizabeth went on to Yale University, determined to get a degree in English to prepare herself for a career in writing.

  During a junior-year-abroad program called Yale in London, Elizabeth took the opportunity to revive the friendships in, and relationship with, the United Kingdom that she had begun in early childhood. She returned to England six months after the program ended to attend a summer school at Oxford, and then spent a work-study term in Manchester after graduating from Yale. By this time, she was already working on the Arthurian legend–
based story that was later published as her first novel, The Winter Prince, and her travel to England was an excuse to do onsite research. It was also during this trip that Elizabeth began learning to ring church bells in the English style known as change ringing.

  A year later, Elizabeth enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a graduate degree in folklore and folklife. She completed The Winter Prince while working on her PhD, and continued bell-ringing at Philadelphia’s Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. She met her future husband, Tim Gatland, at a bell-ringers’ dinner-dance in Philadelphia; he was working in the US at the time, but was based in England. In the early stages of their relationship, there was a lot of back-and-forth across the Atlantic!

  In 1995, a year after completing her PhD, Elizabeth moved to England to be with Tim. They were married in Pennsylvania on New Year’s Day in 1996.

  Tim introduced Elizabeth to a new and unusual interest: flying small planes. During the five years that they lived in southern England, Elizabeth was content to go along as a passenger, but their dream was (and still is) to make a trip across North America, a journey they both felt would require two pilots. Elizabeth’s flying lessons were scheduled for the summer of 1997. They didn’t happen—instead, their daughter, Sara, was born. A son, Mark, followed in 2000. At the same time, the family moved to Scotland for Tim’s work.

  Elizabeth sold her second book, A Coalition of Lions, in 2002. The children were old enough to go to day care now and then, and Elizabeth started taking those flying lessons. She earned her private pilot’s license in 2003, exactly one hundred years after the Wright Brothers made the world’s first powered-aircraft flight.

  Elizabeth and her family have lived in Scotland ever since, and all but the first of her published novels were written there. A Coalition of Lions continues the Arthurian story that began with The Winter Prince, but moves the action from post-Roman Britain to a sixth-century African kingdom called Aksum (modern-day Ethiopia and Yemen). The Sunbird takes the tale to the next generation, featuring the young hero Telemakos, Arthur’s half-British, half-Aksumite grandson.

  Telemakos’s story continues in the duology known as the Mark of Solomon. Part one, The Lion Hunter, was short-listed for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America’s Andre Norton Award for best young adult fantasy in 2008. Part two, The Empty Kingdom, was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Continuing Series title in 2008. Together, these five Arthurian-Aksumite books are known as the Lion Hunters novels.

  Though she has been a published author since 1993, with both novels and short stories to her name, Elizabeth’s career took off with the 2012 publication of Code Name Verity. The runaway word-of-mouth (and online) success of this young-adult historical novel set in occupied France during World War II took everyone by surprise, not least Elizabeth herself. The book has been nominated and shortlisted for over twenty awards in the US and the UK. In addition to making the short lists for the 2013 Carnegie Medal and the 2012 Scottish Children’s Book Award, it is an honor book for both the 2013 Printz Award and the 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. It was named to over thirty best-of lists for 2012 and 2013, including the New York Times’ Notable Children’s Books of 2012, and was winner of the 2013 Edgar Award for children’s literature. The book has also been included on a number of international award lists, notably the United States Board on Books for Young People’s Outstanding International Books of 2013 and the White Ravens 2013 (chosen by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany). With each of these accolades, Code Name Verity represents Great Britain—a real honor for Elizabeth, who has lived long enough in Scotland that she officially qualifies as a Scottish author.

  Elizabeth’s most recent book is Rose Under Fire. Though her ties to Pennsylvania remain strong, Elizabeth has no plans to leave Scotland anytime soon.

  Four-year-old Elizabeth (atop the stroller) with her mother, Carol, and brother, Jared, in London in 1968.

  Six-year-old Elizabeth at Barnegat Light, New Jersey, in July 1970.

  Elizabeth (left, sitting on wall) and her father (right), with the neighbors’ children at Elizabeth’s childhood home in Kingston, Jamaica, in November 1971.

  Elizabeth (middle) at a children’s garden party at her house in Jamaica in August 1972.

  Elizabeth, in local school uniform, with her grandfather, painting the front gate at their house in Jamaica in 1971.

  A typical day’s outing for the Wein family in Jamaica in 1972, in their Vauxhall Victor. Elizabeth (left) is in her bathing suit, wedged between the car seats and the window, pictured with her baby sister, Maria, (middle), and her mother’s best friend’s son, Carlton (right).

  Studying in the Lower School Library at Harrisburg Academy in 1982.

  Christmas festivities at the University of Pennsylvania while Elizabeth was in grad school there, circa 1990. She played the Lady in the Mummers’ Play.

  Tim and Elizabeth on their tenth wedding anniversary in New Jersey in 2006.

  Elizabeth researching WWII aircraft for Code Name Verity at the Shuttleworth Collection in Biggleswade, England. (Courtesy of the Shuttleworth Collection.)

  Elizabeth, Tim, and their children on vacation in the British Virgin Islands in 2006.

  Elizabeth in full academic regalia for her commencement address at Harrisburg Academy in 2008.

  All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook onscreen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  “Book I: Athena Inspires the Prince,” from The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, copyright © 1996 by Robert Fagles. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.

  Copyright © 2003 by Elizabeth Gatland

  Cover design by Angela Goddard


  This edition published in 2013 by Open Road Integrated Media

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  New York, NY 10014




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  Elizabeth E. Wein, A Coalition of Lions



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