Enzam and the Just Prince, by Australian Author, Erica Bell. Photo of book cover taken by Selina Shapland, 2015
Enzam and the Just Prince is a gripping 19th Century historical tale that follows a lonely dutch woman's search for love and meaning, and a man's obsession with finding a lost recipe for an ancient aphrodisiac in the deep desert of Australia.
Enzam, whose name comes from the Dutch word for lonely, is a lonely Dutch woman. She finds herself abandoned at sea, clinging to a rock. A Makassar man, the Just Prince, known as Dijenkau, is also abandoned by pirates on the same rock. They forge an unlikely pairing and huddle together and hope for rescue.
Their lives hang in the balance as they cling to the rock and this is where Dijenkau reveals that he is searching for a lost recipe for an ancient aphrodisiac. It is a "15th Century recipe by Ishar Omar al-Khwarizmi." The story revolves around this quest and the longing of Dijenkau to find the recipe and Enzam's search for a loving connection.
Enzam finds herself emotionally and physically drawn to Dijenkau. She is tormented by a loveless marriage and a deep longing to have a child which she cannot seem to bring to fruition.
Dijenkau is only interested in recovering the recipe and fending off pirates as he seeks his treasure. Enzam cannot help herself, she is drawn to the aloof Dijenkau and sensual tensions rise the closer they come to finding the lost recipe.
Erica Bell has woven together a vivid historical experience that leads us into the intimate and memorable world of survival at sea, rich cultures and deep mystery peeled back throughout the chapters as we follow Enzam and Dijenkau deep into the desert of Australia where they explore their courage and the theme of honour.
The world building of this story reveals a vivid attention to detail that builds a real-world 19th Century experience for the reader which is truly wonderful to read.
I found Enzam and the Just Prince to be a beautifully written historical fiction novel by the late Dr Erica Bell.
Sadly, one week after Enzam and the Just Prince was published on Amazon, Dr Erica Bell suddenly passed away. That was in July 2014. But her memory is not forgotten, as her husband, Dr Bastian Seidel established The Erica Bell Foundation to honour and celebrate the extraordinary life of his wife as well as reward excellence in Tasmanian literature and medical research.
Dr Erica Bell also authored, Hilda and the Ship's Doctor, another historical fiction novel and published a 100 academic articles and another five books during a 10 year period. Her passing is a loss for Australia, however, we are very fortunate that she has published her stories, leaving a legacy for generations to enjoy.
If you enjoy historical literature tales, that are a work of art and set in 19th Century Australia, then Enzam and the Just Prince will definitely appeal to you!