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who is zed eszu?

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Answer # 1 #

While it’s not necessary to have any knowledge of the stars or the myths to enjoy the books, there are plenty of hidden references to them if you’re interested and you know where to look.

Many of the characters in the books are linked to the Seven Sisters story as told in Greek mythology, via their names, their physical attributes, their roles in the plot and their personalities.

Soon after I’d had the inspiration to write a series of books based on the Seven Sisters star cluster, I sat down one night with my family. I already knew that my sisters – all of them 21st century women – would be named after the mythological sisters of old, but there were some issues with the unfamiliar spellings and pronunciations for a modern-day audience. I also knew that I wanted certain other characters from the myths to feature. So that evening, I put up a board with all the main players on it, and a summary of their key attributes. I put some paper and pens on the table, and asked everyone to come up with anagrams and nicknames that could subsequently be used for the characters in the books.

Pa Salt – my youngest daughter, Leonora, started the ball rolling with the inspired nickname of Pa Salt, my sisters’ adoptive father, who is roughly modelled on Atlas, the Titan in Greek mythology who held up the world and sky on his shoulders. The anagram takes the ‘P’ from Pleione, the sisters’ mother, and then uses the rest of the letters from Atlas. I particularly love the name because the ‘Salt’ part evokes this character’s love of the sea.

Maia – the present-day heroine of the first book was easy, because it’s such a beautiful name and still used in the modern era, so she didn’t need a nickname.

Alcyone – ‘Ally’ seemed like a very natural shortening for my second sister.

Asterope – this name means ‘Star’, which leapt out as a gorgeous nickname for this character.

Celaeno – after playing around with various anagrams that weren’t working, someone suggested the simple nickname of ‘Ce-Ce’, which immediately got the nod of approval from everyone else.

Taygete – as this sister was turned into a doe by Artemis in the myth, and in my books was to have a passionate love of animals, we felt that she should be given an animal nickname – we settled on ‘Tiggy’ after the hedgehog Mrs Tiggy-winkle from the Beatrix Potter book.

Electra – I knew that this character was going to be fiery and crackling with energy, so this name was perfect as it was.

D’Apliése – I really wanted to include the Pleiades somewhere, so we came up with the anagram D’Apliése for the sisters’ surname.

Kreeg Eszu – I knew the character of Zeus was going to feature a handful of times in the series. The myths suggest that he fathered children with three of the sisters. He was also responsible for turning them into doves and placing them in the sky as stars to help them escape the amorous pursuit of the hunter Orion.

Zeus was also the god who commanded Atlas to hold up the earth and sky on his shoulders. Because it suited my plot, I split the character into two; the billionaire tycoon Kreeg Eszu and his son, Zed Eszu – Kreeg being an anagram of ‘Greek’ and the surname Eszu being an anagram of ‘Zeus’. Maia becomes involved with the disreputable Zed Eszu whilst studying at university.

Atlantis – the fabled lost underwater city, was famed for its beauty, and it was the only name I considered for the hidden sanctuary that was to be Pa Salt and the sisters’ home on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Pa Salt’s boat, the Titan – Atlas himself was from the mythological race of seven deities, known as the Titans.

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Werner Advani
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Answer # 2 #

The girls, who are all from very different backgrounds and who grew up together in Switzerland on Pa Salt’s Lake Geneva estate, are named after the stars in the cluster – Maia, Alycone (Ally), Asterope (Star), Celaeno (CeCe), Taygete (Tiggy) and Electra D’Aplièse. There should have been a seventh sister, whose name would have been Merope, but for some reason which has not yet been revealed only six girls were adopted rather than seven. Pa Salt dies at the beginning of the series, leaving each sister some clues to help them trace their real parents, if they wish to do so.

The books could be read in any order as they all work as standalones, with only a small amount of overlap. The first book in the series, The Seven Sisters, tells Maia’s story, the second, The Storm Sister, tells Ally’s, and the third, The Shadow Sister, concentrates on Star. This time it’s CeCe’s turn. CeCe and Star are nearly the same age, being adopted as babies just a few months apart, and have always had a very close relationship. In the previous novel we saw the shy, quiet Star stepping out from CeCe’s shadow to build a life of her own, while The Pearl Sister begins with CeCe feeling rejected and left behind as Star moves on.

Pa Salt has left CeCe the name of an Australian pioneer and a black and white photograph to point her on her way, so she sets off for Australia, stopping in Thailand for a few weeks first. Following a trail which she hopes will lead to her own birth family, CeCe makes some discoveries which help her to understand who she really is.

CeCe’s story is set in the modern day, but we also follow the story of another woman and this one takes place in the early part of the twentieth century. It’s 1906 and Kitty McBride has left her home in Edinburgh to travel to Australia as a lady’s companion. Here she meets the Mercer family, who own both a pearl business and a cattle station, and becomes entangled with twin brothers Drummond and Andrew Mercer. When it becomes obvious that both of them are hoping to marry Kitty, she will have a big decision to make. Her choice will affect not only her own life but the lives of future generations as well.

Having read most of Lucinda Riley’s novels now, I think she deals with multiple time periods very well, spending long enough in each one for us to become fully immersed in the story before switching to the other. I enjoyed both of the storylines, but Kitty’s was more dramatic, filled with plot twists and surprises (as well as one or two coincidences which I thought stretched things a bit too far, although that wasn’t a big problem). I loved reading about Kitty’s involvement in the pearl industry and about her friendship with another strong and courageous woman, her maid Camira. CeCe’s storyline kept me turning the pages too. There’s a subplot involving a man she meets in Thailand which feels slightly disconnected from the rest of the story, but once she leaves Thailand and arrives in Australia things become more interesting.

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Areesh pwaphec Mohit
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