Feature Author – Geoff Nelder


When Reece and Zita become lovers, past and present collide as the spirits of their ancestors force them to relive one of the greatest battles of the 16th century.

Xaghra’s Revenge follows the fate of a sixteenth century abducted family, and of two contemporary lovers thrown together by the ancients. Reece and Zita are unaware that one descends from the pirates, the other from the abducted family. While ancient Gozo spirits seek revenge, so do the Ottoman Corsairs, who intend to roll back history, and this time win the siege of Malta.

The history is real. The places are authentic. The tension and excitement are palpable.

Praise for Xaghra’s Revenge:

“A gripping tale, full of energy and mystery, keeping you wanting for more with every line you read.” John Bonello, First-Prize Winner of the Malta National Book Award

“I liked it. There’s a foreground of interesting characters combined with a skilfully fed-in hint of weirdness.” Jaine Fenn – Hidden Empire series.

In 1551 pirates abducted the entire population of the Mediterranean island of Gozo to be taken to Libya and Turkey, sold as slaves. Their souls had to wait hundreds of years before a couple could be thrown together by ancient gods to exact sweet revenge and change history.



A breath of wind from the wings of madness Charles Baudelaire Les Fleurs du Mal


With moments to spare they sank into comfortable seats up in the gallery. There were only two empty seats ten rows in from the back.

The lights dimmed, making Reece think he’d been inserted into a coal mine with only a few scattered lights to enable orientation, including two enticing green signs saying “SORTIE”.

The orchestra awoke; not to crescendo but for a mere tootling while two women sang in German to each other. One appeared to be a maid and had too much to say for herself while the other, a Madame, was–good grief–stripping! Maybe a screen should have been obscuring the audience’s prurient view but naked bosoms, very fine ones, heaved with raspberry nipples in tune to her singing. Reece used his programme to nearly hide behind while glancing at Zita. She was completely unperturbed, as were the rest of the cream of Lyon. No wonder they kept this soft porn from the masses–they’d all be here otherwise. He wished he’d paid the extra for opera glasses. He narrowed his eyes and illogically leant forward a few centimetres. He had a lot to learn. What had he missed in scene one?

Nipples now out of sight, the marvellous singing chorused and the orchestra caught up with the action. Reece settled back in his seat, amazed at how comfortable it was. The evening was turning out better than he expected. The glow from the unexpected flashing warmed him to the music. He admired the cunning syncopation and harmonizing, the rise and fall of melody and counterpoint. No wonder Wolfgang was considered a genius. He closed his eyes so he could hear the music better. He hadn’t realized he was a closet fan of classical music. All those wasted years. Cosi Fan Tutte? Very cosy and now he was a fan.

“Wake up, idiot,” Zita hissed. “Your snoring out-decibelled the percussion.”

While looking back, he whispered to Zita. “Did you notice the row behind us leave while I was—”


“But…” He faced front, but a tingling in his brain told him she was glaring at him. His back became cold, so he turned. He couldn’t believe it. One second the back ten or so rows were full of smiling Mozart devotees, now they’d disappeared. Was he hallucinating?

Zita was too absorbed in the performance to have noticed the weirdness behind her. He was about to nag at her to forget Cosi when he heard a rumble from the rear.

“We must leave, Zita.” He grabbed her arm. She pulled back but he gripped harder and tugged. “Can’t you feel it?”

At last he saw her eyes widen, and together they rose. She gathered her purse and coat, then bent to retrieve her dropped programme.

“Leave that.” The low rumbling behind him grew louder. Surely it could be heard from the stage? He continued pulling Zita into the aisle then looked into the gloom behind.

The nearest row of seats advanced, inching forward and upwards, the hinged seats doing a Mexican wave.


She didn’t argue. They scampered in the dark behind the occupied seats and in front of the animated empty seats threatening to crush them. Too traumatised to talk, Reece assumed he was dreaming, but then his left hand could feel the velvet seat tops and occasionally brushed women’s long hair. Zita pushed, now behind him. Perhaps he should be the gentleman and bring up the rear, but there wasn’t time. On his right in the dark, he could make out black seats rising into the air and threatening to block his exit. Zita must see them too because she shoved harder.

The encroaching tide of seats was going to cut them off in the last four metres so he turned left down the last aisle. This enraged the entity or whatever controlled the seats and a roar filled his ears. Reece stumbled as he ran so put out his hands. His left hand found a warm naked shoulder with the resulting scream, hissing and shouting from the opera audience, oblivious to the attacking seats. He regained balance and ran on with Zita pushing him. They reached the gallery balustrade and veered to the right to the black door with SORTIE glowing its eerie green.

Through the roaring like a grizzly bear in pain, a chorus of human wailing could be heard. He glanced at the stage. Incongruously the two women were accompanied by two tenors wearing masks and they appeared to be merrily singing arias. The wailing came from those agitated chairs at the rear, apparently occupied by tormented souls. It was as if the operatic chorus had been transported to the rear seats and changed from bright Mozart to noir Wagner.




Amazon: http://myBook.to/Xaghra


Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/xaghrasrevenge

Website http://geoffnelder.com

Twitter @geoffnelder


Mark Iles Blog:  http://www.markiles.co.uk/blog

A.B. Funkhauser Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13726412.A_B_Funkhauser/blog

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