The starting point of the series, is Bade's personal story. Bade is a prince of a fantasy kingdom, a realm that is a mix of medieval and arabian custom. In Bade's world, homosexuality is not a crime, even if not so common; since Bade is not the first born, he is relieved from the task to provide an heir to the throne, and so is his twin brother Vane. Bade and Vane are inseparable, but at the beginning of the book they are forced apart by Bade's particular "mission": he is chosen by Prince Orinakin, the royal diplomat of a more important and wealthy kingdom, as suitor for his pharaoh Anosukinom. Prince Orinakin is travelling among all the kingdoms of the world to find various and handsome suitors and Bade is one of the chosen. Bade doesn't know why he is considered worthy, or why the chosen was him and not his more friendly twin Vane, but he takes the choice as a task, a way to bring the issues of his native kingdom in front of the powerful pharaoh.
For Bade is quite a cultural shock: even if in his native land, homosexuality is not forbidden, he is not used to openly manifest his sexual behavior or desires. Instead in this new land, sex is a common expression of a natural need, and not only it's not forbidden, it's also warmly adviced. The Bade we met at the beginning of the book almost separates in two different men: one who remains inside his mind and that has quite a predisposition toward Orinakin, the royal diplomat, and one that becomes to express himself also through his body, and that is deeply fascinated by Anosukinom. It's quite interesting to see Bade's evolution to see what will be his final choice. On the other side, both Orinakin than Anosukinom are interested in Bade, but Anosukinom, as man and god alike, already knows who will be his future husband, and so his intetest in Bade could mean that he is the final chosen. Instead Orinakin fears to care too much for Bade since, if he will marry his brother, he will be forever forbidden to him.
Even if Bade, Orinakin and Anosukinom are the main characters of this first book, all the other brothers of Orinakin have big supporting roles in the story, and since they are in total 8 (with Orinakin and Anosukinom), I have the feeling that every book will focus more on one of them, and that only in the final book all their stories will come to an end. Every brother has a different color who identify him, and Purple is the color of Orinakin.
"In this land" recreates a very complicated and interesting fantasy world, with deep arabian characteristic, like the harem and the use of water and gardens to embellish the palace. I felt almost like a cultural clash when Bade arrives in the new land, since his background was more european medieval, with all the boundaries that this means, and he found himself in a country that was at the same time terrifying and fascinating, since it disputed all he believed since then. I have also the feeling like Bade moved from a world in black and white, or better in soothing color, like brown and black, to a world that was a rainbow of joyous color, and this reinforced the sensation of cultural clash I had.
Amazon: In This Land: The Purple Book, Volume One
Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (April 5, 2012)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott