Court of Lions | Penguin Random House Canada

Court of Lions

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Sometimes at the lowest points in your life, fate will slip you a gift. Ken Follett meets Jodi Picoult in a stunning new novel from Jane Johnson.

Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate's life forever.
     An epic saga of romance and redemption, Court of Lions brings one of the great hinge-points in human history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.


Kate didn’t consider herself a vandal. She had never wilfully damaged anything in her life (apart from herself), let alone a World Heritage Site. Intrigued by a plant that resembled a familiar English weed she knew of as the Mother of Thousands...
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"Johnson's research is evident here—the twists and turns . . . are compelling. Blessings' tormented love is beautifully written, as is the atmosphere of 15th-century Spain. The modern strand is a straightforward psychological thriller, page-turning stuff as Kate's lies and her past catch up with her." —The Times (UK)

"A sensual and emotional delight from beginning to end. Court of Lions is a book about life, love, friendship, families and passion. It's about greed and fanaticism and how damaging both can be, whether in the 1400s or 2017. It's about light and darkness, and how sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between the two. And it's about hope. Because sometimes hope is all we have to cling to." —Darcie Boleyn, author of Summer at Conwenna Cove

"Loyalty and treachery are examined mercilessly as the twin stories unfold. What lasting damage is done to the one who is betrayed, with trust replaced by fear in an intimate relationship? What toll must one pay who, with the best of intentions, betrays a loved one's trust in the name of protecting him? There is history here, examined from a fresh perspective, and humanity injected into a tale that perhaps the reader only knew as names and dates and places. An excellent reminder that weighty events can pivot on the actions of a few determined souls." —Robin Hobb, author of the Farseer Trilogy

"A wonderful blend of the past and the present day making an unputdownable, beautifully written novel." —Katie Fforde, author of A Summer at Sea

"To so perfectly capture the complex, heady exoticism of the end of an empire, and weave it with such gripping love stories past and present, is an astonishing story telling feat. Beware. You'll read this in one sitting." —Muriel Gray, BBC presenter and former head judge of the Orange Prize

"Johnson follows two parallel threads—a double helix if you will, not so much intertwined as touching gently on each other—with points of connection as light yet poignant as a lover's kiss. . . . A book's power is best felt in what the reader does when it is finished. Does the story's grip persist beyond the last page? In the case of The Court of Lions, I scoured through the author's notes before throwing myself at Google to research for myself the captivating events Johnson had described." —T.O. Munro, author of The Bloodline Trilogy 

The book shimmers with heat, beauty, of the palace and its gardens filled with fruit and flowers and fountains and colour and pattern. The scents of the streets are there too, and cooking, always cooking, from couscous to mint tea. This book is a feast for the mind." —Jackie Morris, painter and author of Tell Me a Dragon

"Jane Johnson is the most wonderful writer." —Rowan Coleman, author of the international bestsellers The Day We Met and The Accidental Mother

"Sweeping between the past and present, this is a cracking and engaging read that will leave you looking at the world a little differently." —Andrew Taylor, author of The American Boy and Ashes of London

“Rich with the scents and sights of the Alhambra's gardens, towers and courtyards, this novel enchants as it moves between past and present." —Sunday Express

Praise for Pillars of Light:

 • "Pillars of Light is timely, stirring and romantic--but there's more to this book than a tale of love. . . . Riveting, enlightening and painful, this novel reveals the senselessness of warfare and conflict and provokes reflection about current events. But it's also about the resilience of love and the hope, the capacity for goodness, that exists in everyone." --The Globe and Mail
 • "Jane Johnson has given her readers another swashbuckling adventure saga of West meets East in Pillars of Light." --Toronto Star