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Jane Johnson | A Young Man Finds Himself Caught Between Love and War

The Black Crescent
Jane Johnson




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March 2024
On Sale: March 5, 2024
Featuring: Hamou Badi
400 pages
ISBN: 1668017504
EAN: 9781668017500
Kindle: B0C7RQTHND
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Jane Johnson:
The Black Crescent, March 2024
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The White Hare, October 2022
Court of Lions, August 2019
Court of Lions, March 2018


1--What is the title of your latest release?



2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

1950s Morocco, a young man finds himself caught between love and war as the country rises against the French protectorate.


3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

I've spent 18 years living between Cornwall and Morocco, and I know and love the country and its people well. I'd come upon a photo of a stunning young woman in immodest dress in Casablanca and wanted to tell her story.


4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?

I may have married my protagonist! Joking aside, Hamou shares a lot of Abdel's characteristics: I love him.


5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

Charismatic, decent, conflicted.


6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?

That the French built a kitsch Moroccan theme park in Casablanca that served as a brothel for its soldiers and administrators.


7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

As a professional editor, I find it hard not to nitpick at my drafts as I go. I am trying to stop myself from doing it, though!


8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

Dark chocolate


9--Describe your writing space/office!

A bench looking over the sea at my allotment garden outside the village where I live (I write longhand, then type it up).


10--Who is an author you admire?

I admire anyone with the fortitude to complete a book: it's hard graft. I work with some amazing authors - like Robin Hobb and George RR. Martin. Martin has created entire worlds: an extraordinary achievement. I admire Hilary Mantel and Maggie O'Farrell for their honed,

disciplined style; CJ Sansom for his sense of history and captivating characters; Bernard Cornwell for his storytelling prowess... I could go on.


11--Is there a book that changed your life?

THE LORD OF THE RINGS. I read it at the age of 11 or 12 and was hooked. I specialized in Anglo Saxon and Old Icelandic at university and by sheer dumb luck, ended up as the worldwide Tolkien Editor and worked on Peter Jackson's movie trilogy, an amazing experience.


12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.

I was peeling potatoes at my husband's restaurant in the mountains of Morocco when my agent in New York called me to tell me there was a 4-way auction for my first historical novel, THE TENTH GIFT. That was pretty surreal!


13--What’s your favorite genre to read?

It varies according to mood. At the moment, I'm hooked on Michael Connelly's Bosch thrillers.


14--What’s your favorite movie?

That's another thing that changes. Lawrence of Arabia, The English Patient, Far From Men, Hero, Dumbo.


15--What is your favorite season?

Spring: when everything starts to grow. I've become a keen gardener, especially of fruit and vegetables, and cultivated two allotments.


16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

With a walk along the coast and dinner with my husband.


17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

TV series - Call My Agent (French version) made me choke with laughter.
Podcast - West Cork - the best true crime series I've listened to


18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?



19--What do you do when you have free time?

Gardening, walking with friends, dancing outside to loud music!


20--What can readers expect from you next?

EZRA'S COTTAGE - a contemporary Cornish novel about a curmudgeonly old man sitting tight in the rural cottage he was born in, despite all the efforts of the new owners of the big house in whose grounds the cottage is situated. Funny and serious at the same time, I hope!


The Black Crescent

A captivating historical novel set in post-war Casablanca about a young man marked by djinns who must decide where his loyalties lie as the fight for Moroccan independence erupts.

Hamou Badi is born in a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains with the markings of the zouhry on his hands. In Morocco, the zouhry is a figure of legend, a child of both humans and djinns, capable of finding treasure, lost objects, and even water in the worst of droughts. But when young Hamou finds the body of a murdered woman, his life is forever changed.

Haunted by this unsolved murder and driven by the desire to do good in the world, Hamou leaves his village for Casablanca to become an officer of the law under the French Protectorate.

But Casablanca is not the shining beacon of modernity he was expecting. The forcible exile of Morocco’s sultan by the French sparks a nationalist uprising led by violent dissident groups, none so fearsome as the Black Crescent. Torn between his heritage and his employers, Hamou will be caught in the crossfire.

The lines between right and wrong, past and future, the old world and the new, are not as clear as the magical lines on his palms. And as the danger grows, Hamou is forced to choose between all he knows and all he loves.


Mystery | Thriller | Romance Historical [Simon & Schuster, On Sale: March 5, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781668017500 / eISBN: 9781668017524]

Buy THE BLACK CRESCENTAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for over 20 years, as a bookseller, publisher and writer, and is the author of The Tenth Gift, The Salt Road, The Sultan’s Wife, Pillars of Light and (coming shortly) Court of Lions.

She was responsible for publishing the works of J. R. R. Tolkien during the 1980s and 1990s and worked on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, spending many months in New Zealand with cast and crew. Under the pseudonym of Jude Fisher she wrote the bestselling Visual Companions to the films of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. She has also written several books for children, including The Secret Country, Maskmaker and Goldseekers.

In 2005 she was in Morocco researching the story of a distant family member who was abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa (which formed the basis for Crossed Bones/The Tenth Gift), when a near-fatal climbing incident caused her to rethink her future.

She returned home, gave up her office job in London, sold her flat and shipped the contents to Morocco. In October she married her own ‘Berber pirate’ and now they split their time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. She still works, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins.





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