Of course, a whole blog series on The Tale of the Hostage Prince has to talk about its main protagonist by name at some point!
Yosua ayell Garett, in my head, is a bit of a walking contradiction. Putting aside the rags-to-riches, slave-to-prince narrative, Yosua is soft, innocent, and sweet, and often overly trusting of family and friends. Yet at the same time, he’s had to learn to be hard, crafty, suspicious, and street-smart in order to survive in both Maha and Bayangan.
My original envisioning of Amok was to split the POV between Mikal and Yosua, but I eventually decided that making it Mikal’s story made more narrative sense. But I’d already fallen in love with Yosua enough that I had to give him his own story, hence this book that doesn’t quite fit within the overall series arc.
Yosua is named after the most prominent Sultan of Terang. It’s noted in Amok that after Raja Muda Mahmud performed his penance and fulfilled the Covenant of Salt, “A new priest-king, the famous Sultan Yosua…ascends the throne with a Secretkeeper wife. It’s the first and only time that the leadership of all Terang was concentrated in a ruling pair.” It’s this fulfilment of the covenant with Kudus that grants Terang their magical powers.
Interestingly enough, this is also what pushed Harett Baya to leave, bringing those who don't believe in Kudus out from Terang to form his own kingdom of Bayangan: “There are fantastic sea battles up and down the straits accompanied by dramatic declarations, until Harett finally convinces Sultan Yosua to leave them alone.”
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The Tale of the Hostage Prince (Absolution 1.5)
But peace doesn’t come easily, not for a twenty-year-old servant playacting at being king.
With his parents brutally murdered and his uncle bent on revenge, Yosua must decide where his loyalties truly lie. With his only remaining relative and the kingdom he has claimed? Or with his best friend Mikal and the sultanate that raised him as a hostage?