My next book, The Naga’s Treasure, is almost ready for release. I have to make one last edit and also create a cover that I’m happy with. The Naga’s Treasure is a bit of a departure from my two “Journey” books. For starters, the new book is fantasy, based on the idea that the old myths and legends of ancient Angkor are true. Specifically, the book was inspired by the following tale related by the Chinese emissary to Angkor, Zhou Daguan:
[caption id="attachment_89” align="alignright” width="184” caption="Siamese boatman of the nineteenth century”][/caption] In the “Journey” books, I’ve struggled a bit to describe the typical dress of the men of Southeast Asia, particularly Siam, in the nineteenth century. I’ve seen plenty of descriptions and illustrations, but how to describe it? It’s a bit more than a ‘loincloth’ but not quite trousers. As luck would have it, in my other role as a travel writer I recently came across a rare nineteenth century photograph of a commoner.
One of the charming things about Thailand, and much of Asia for that matter, is that they’re much less hung up on depictions of the male member. In fact, some religions even venerate a crude representation of the male phallus. I imagine many of you have worshiped at that altar, haven’t you? In Thailand, phallic charms and wood carvings are popular. They serve many purposes, such as ‘protecting’ a guy’s real manhood from attack by evil spirits, or to simply encourage, err, propagation.
[caption id="attachment_24” align="alignright” width="200” caption="Sir James Brooke”][/caption] I just finished the first draft of the sequel to Journey to Angkor, which hopefully means I’m only a month or two away from publishing it. So, I thought it might be interesting to give you some background on the one historical figure I’ve used in this next book. I first encountered James Brooke when I visited Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysia, where he was the first “White Rajah” of Sarawak.