A political marriage to stop a war…a king whose golden mask hides his face from his people…a princess who loves her husband though she never sees his face…and a curse placed on a royal family by God…

Okay, so once again, I’m doing my version of a legend. This time, it’s Beauty and the Beast and though it’s been done to death (and I've done it twice now in other stories, in other genres), I don’t think anyone’s come up with this particular twist so far.

Senset is a princess of AEgys, only a minor child, and the daughter of a lesser wife of King Aset-Ra, but a royal princess nevertheless. Her people are descended from a group of exiles banished from their home far to the North, a beautiful land on the banks of a river whose waters flow northward where pyramids house their sovereigns’ bodies and palm trees shade oases.

For generations, the AEgysians have been fighting the Beast Men, wild creatures who ride out of the hills on horseback, then retreat again. More times than not, the Beasts are victorious and gain a little more of AEgysian land and another of their cities appears. Then, Crown Prince Horem captures a Beast and plans to sacrifice him to Ra-harakhty in exchange for peace. This bothers Senset who thinks her brother should try to communicate with his prisoner but Horem sees no point. It’s an animal, after all. So Senset steals into the dungeon, and discovers an intelligent, articulate man instead of a dumb creature. They talk, they become friends, she helps him escape, much to her brother’s anger.

Michael is king of the Habiru, the Beast Men, and when his brother returns home with tales of the beautiful woman who helped him escape, he sees it as an opportunity for peace between the two warring peoples. He sends Aram back to AEgys with an offer Aseti-Ra can’t refuse; peace and an alliance between the Beasts and the AEgysians and a marriage with Senset to seal the deal.

So Senset leaves her home and travels to Habir’s capitol city of Bethgurion and marries Michael, a beguiling man in spite of the fact that his face is covered by a golden mask. The two fall very much in love, Senset accepts Michael’s faith of the belief in one God, and peace reigns. It isn’t long, however, before she learns that Michael has an ulterior motive for marrying her. Because his tribe worshipped a golden idol while their leader communed with God after rescuing them from slavery in the land by the nile, the king has been cursed by God and every full moon he must remove his mask and transform into a Beast, and anyone seeing his face is changed also. Only one who has selfless love will free the king from becoming a Beast, and Michael believes his bride’s love for him can break the curse. Senset herself has doubts. Is she as unselfish as her husband thinks…?

This was an enjoyable story to write, not only for the tale of love between Michael and Senset, but for the information I learned during my research. I’ve always liked studying about the ancient Egyptians anyway, so gathering fact about them was a treat. There was so much to delve into concerning the ancient Egyptians (from whom the AEgysians are supposed to be descended) and the ancient Hebrews (from whom Michael and his people trace their ancestry). I learned that there are no cacti in the African deserts, that though the Egyptians had chariots, they never rode horseback. The idea repulsed them and that’s one reason they consider the Habiru beasts… because they rode horses. I learned that the African camel has two humps, as opposed to the Asian camel or dromedary which has one. I discovered both Egyptians and Hebrew practiced circumcision, and learned the names of various articles of clothing worn by desert-dwellers.

Writing Bride of the Beast was an enlightening experience, and I hope it will be both that and an entertainment for its readers also.

Bride of the Beast is available from Smashwords, http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Bride+of+the+Beast

8 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // September 14, 2011 at 10:32 AM  

    Toni, i agree this is a very unique twist on the Beauty and the Beast theme. Your imagination is amazing!

  2. Nightingale // September 14, 2011 at 2:51 PM  

    This sounds like a fantastic book. You must have done a ton of research. The cover is very dynamic.

  3. Mary Marvella // September 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM  

    Love the cover and the concept, Toni. One more book to add to my growing list. You get a whole page on the list.

  4. Toni V.S. // September 14, 2011 at 6:08 PM  

    Thanks for the kind words, ladies. The book was a lot of fun to write.

  5. Kari Thomas // September 15, 2011 at 12:08 PM  

    A BIG WOW on the uniqueness of this plot! Im definitely adding it to my TBB list!

    Wishing you great sales!

    hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

  6. Mona Risk // September 15, 2011 at 5:11 PM  

    Hi Toni, this is a fantastic story with an interesting background. I love anything that deals with Ancient Egypt.

  7. Mary Ricksen // September 15, 2011 at 9:46 PM  

    You are something else Toni, what a great imagination!!

  8. Josie // September 16, 2011 at 3:25 PM  

    A fascinating tale with a new twist. Congrats, Toni, on your continuing success.