“From the first page, Logan’s thrilling debut novel is an intelligent, intricately layered adventure.”–Kirkus Reviews
“Shall we write about the things not to be spoken of?”
-Julian the Apostate, Roman Emperor, 363 AD, Hymn to the Mother of the Gods
The Seven Perfumes of Sacrifice, Amy Logan’s provocative debut novel – over a decade in the making – is a suspenseful search for the divine feminine and the ancient lost origins of “honor killing” in the Middle East. In this post-9/11 cautionary tale, an American writer struggles to “civilize” a tiny Arab village of Israel; her intercession leads to tragedy beyond anyone’s calculation…and revelations that could heal what seems hopeless.
American freelance journalist Fereby McCullough Jones is struggling to sell stories from Israel when she befriends Leila, a young artist in a village on Mt. Carmel. Leila is a Druze – a secretive, Arabic-speaking, thousand-year-old offshoot of Islam – and shares her double life with Fereby: Painting nudes, lovers and goddesses – taboo subjects in her culture – and selling them in Tel Aviv. When Leila becomes the possible victim of an “honor killing” – the murder of a female by her family for violating cultural gender norms – Fereby witnesses the village celebration, her family’s silence and police indifference. Enraged, Fereby launches an investigation that is decidedly unwelcome.
With her oddball translator, Moshe, she struggles to unearth Leila’s traumatic life story, facing a conspiracy of silence, police and government corruption, a forbidden connection with Leila’s brother, Fadi, and danger and backlash she never anticipated. After a shocking turn of events, Fereby is forced to come to terms with her own painful past that’s fueling her search. Then, Leila’s last series of paintings prompts Fereby and Moshe to make a surprising discovery: The ancient, lost origins of honor killing, which have been suppressed for millennia, and hold some volatile secrets. A mysterious prediction leads Fereby to Leila’s killer, but it turns into her worst nightmare: To get justice for Leila’s death, will Fereby have to sacrifice something even greater? What price are human rights worth fighting for?
Seven Perfumes’ author Amy Logan discovered that just trying to openly discuss the issue of honor killing, let alone fight against it, was taboo in the cultures where it occurs. She realized that must be why this violent practice has continued unabated in some places for several thousand years. To try to understand and expose the mysterious underpinnings of honor killing, Logan landed rare homestays with the Druze in Israel and spent a decade researching and building a theory of the ancient lost origins of the practice. As she gradually uncovered a vast and true deception from the birth of honor killing, The Seven Perfumes of Sacrifice began to tell her its story.