Men used to worship women, I mean really worship them.
Our value wasn’t weighed by how thin we were (lean was mean), or how young, or even how pretty. We were valued based on our contribution as the life-givers, our ability to generate new life to continue the tribe and, following our fecund years, honor was bestowed on all we’ve been and done.
Research on ancient humans plunging way back to the Bronze Age, have unearthed round, bountiful female statues that would never make the cover of Vogue. Fertility Figures they’re referred to now, as if that can tidy them away among the fossils and dinosaur bones.
Ancient sites like Turkey’s Çatal Hüyük discovered an advance civilization where men and women appear to live in a harmonious balance of mutual admiration. The Goddess sits on her leopard throne in a shrine surrounded by symbols of male energy, the bull (some things never change), as if the male hunters and warriors served the giver of life rather than ruled her.
And the Goddess looks more like your great aunt Mable than Gisselle Bündchen .
Think about it. Was this ancient civilization so much more advanced than ourselves that we actually valued multiple kinds of womanhood? Could it be that we didn’t lose our value in society as we aged and ‘lost our looks’?
Which brings me to the title of this post: how does an antique textile relate to how men worshiped women thousands of years ago? That question lays in the heart of my second book in the Crime by Design series, Warp in the Weave.
The answer may surprise you. It certainly should change how you look at traditional carpet patterns in the future and, just maybe, how you view women, ancient or otherwise.
One of the antique Turkish rugs that caught my imagination with that red
I confess that my love for color and pattern means I begin imaging a cover and its dominant color scheme long before I begin writing the book. The cover appears at the edges of my mind, slowly taking shape and form until it glows like a vision in my brain.
Covers matter, colors matter. For this latest one, I saw red, literally, but the first book in my Crime by Design series was awash in blues and cool greens to conjure the Atlantic ocean, which flowed throughout Rogue Wave.
Volume 2, fittingly enough, features that rich Turkish red, since a background of rare Turkish textiles contributes to the setting. I even researched how the artisans obtained that hue, which turns out to be a mix of sheep’s blood and a natural mordant. That a color can last without fading for hundreds of years amazes me.
I began collecting textiles while in Turkey, thinking how they’d make an excellent background for my cover. Besides hanging out at Istanbul’s Islamic Museum of Art, I brought home five kilims and one carpet from the first voyage. But the central motif–that enigmatic Goddess with Vultures motif–appeared to me much later. It turns out that she is so ancient , her story begins far back in the Bronze Age. And that, my friends, is a true story best left for another post.
The loose ends of her past keep threatening to hang Phoebe McCabe as she begins her new life as a London textile gallery owner. Every crook believes Phoebe knows where her missing brother and his friends hid the hoard; Interpol insists the thieves may have stashed the priceless artifacts under her nose; and she’s being stalked by multiple interests, none of them friendly.
As the black market continues to infiltrate her life, one of the thieves shows up unexpectedly, setting off a deadly chain of events that includes an unexplained corpse and gallery break-ins where nothing is stolen. If she didn’t have such strong feelings for the man, maybe she could have stopped him from escaping. Love is hard enough without falling for a crook.
And then something else extraordinary arrives in the gallery: a mysterious kilim with an ancient motif that holds a clue not only to the thieves’ whereabouts, but also to an ancient religion where God was a Goddess. Fueled by desperation, hope, and fury, Phoebe escapes for Turkey to track down the source of the kilim and, hopefully, her brother. Along the way, she meets an archaeologist who offers to help find the kilim’s source for reasons of her own, and together, they race across Turkey with Interpol and black market cutthroats at their heels
Against the panorama of Central Turkey’s underground cities and ancient caves, magnified by its rich textile and cultural heritage, Phoebe and Eva follow a trail that leads deep into the prehistoric past, hurling them against competing ideologies, and the mire that is the black market antiquities trade. What Phoebe discovers along the way is more than just about ancient shrines, missing relatives, and love betrayed. She finds that what’s at the heart of the human weave may be the pattern that illuminates everything that matters.
This fast-moving suspense blends intrigue, humor, and romance against a textile-rich world interwoven with archaeology, ideology, and one woman’s quest for the ultimate truth.
Coming in June
It’s been such a thrilling ride, accumulating in my fourth trip to Turkey last year, a revisit to my beloved London, followed by weaving together all the strands of Phoebe’s unfolding life. Rogue Wave launched the Crime by Design series last year and the second volume answers most of the questions posed in the first.
Are you ready for a thrilling ride?