One of the most complex characters in the Tyrant cycle, and one who will reoccur for a long time, Banugul is the younger sister of Barsine, bastard daughter of Artabazus, a satrap under Darius and a player in the game of kings around the time of Alexander. Banugul is not meant to be either vicious or virtuous by Greek standards — merely a woman attempting to keep and expand her power in a world dominated by war. Although entirely (almost entirely!) fictional, Banugul is solidly based on the exciting life led by her sister Barsine, who was mistress to Alexander and wife to Memnon of Rhodes, two of the greatest soldiers of antiquity — some say that Memnon actually defeated Alexander on the first day of the Battle of the Granicus (read Peter Green’s appendix on the subject).1
The male-dominant world of the Hellenistic Greeks was unforgiving to women who used sexuality to achieve power (unless they were sex-trade workers like hetaerae) and Arrian’s tales of Alexander are full of queens “giving their all” to the conquering hero. Through Banugul, I thought I’d give the reader a taste of the complex problems facing a person who desired to rule but could not lead armies. I also enjoyed creating a strong woman who was a contrast to Srayanka’s Medea-like strength.