Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Eon: Dragoneye Reborn"

Alison Goodman lives in Melbourne, Australia. She was the 1999 D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellow at Melbourne University, holds a Master of Arts, and teaches creative writing at the postgraduate level.

Her books include Singing The Dogstar Blues, a science-fiction comedy thriller, which won an Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and was listed as a C.B.C. Notable Book and an A.L.A. Best Young Adult book of 2004. Her second novel, Killing the Rabbit, is a crime/thriller for adults published in the U.S. by Bantam Books.

Her novel Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (titled The Two Pearls of Wisdom in the Australian edition and Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye in the UK) was recently awarded the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

Goodman applied the Page 69 Test to Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and reported the following:
I’m happy to say that if you casually flick through my novel Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and land on Page 69, you’ll get a good dose of mystical swords, a cryptic helper, a nasty antagonist, plus a bit of intrigue – all good fantasy genre markers! It is the page where my main character, Eon (who is a sixteen year-old girl masquerading as a boy), receives a pair of swords from a crusty old armsman for a ceremonial fight that will decide her fate.

Finally, he frowned into the dim depths of the armory, then disappeared for a few minutes, bringing back a plainer pair of swords. The two hand guards were decorated by a simple ring of alternating moonstones and jade, each translucent gem set in a silver moon crescent.

“Powerful luck bringers,” he said, brushing a thick thumb over the stones. “These two haven’t been used for a long time – too short and light for most. But they’ll do you just fine.”

The idea of luck and bringing luck is very entrenched in the ancient oriental world that I have created, as is the use of jade and sun/moon symbols. And of course, the swords are not quite what they seem…

He held them out and I closed my hands around the leather-bound grips. A roiling anger burned through me, blinding me with bursting lights, flooding my mouth with a sour metallic taste. It was a vicious rage, powerful, cold, and its center, very, very frightened. Or was that me? Startled, I let go. The swords clattered onto the marble floor.

The swords have rage woven into their steel and play a very important part in the novel. They become even more important in the concluding sequel that I am currently writing, but I can't say any more as it would be a huge spoiler!

Page 69 also helps to consolidate a secondary antagonist who makes life very difficult for Eon in the early parts of the novel: Swordmaster Ranne who is training her for the ceremony.

“Idiot!” Ranne roared starting towards me with his fist raised.

Calmly, the armsman stepped in between us. “No harm done, Swordmaster. No harm done,” he said, scooping up the swords. He turned a thoughtful gaze on me as he deftly racked them in a large wooden stand. “They must have very old energy,” he said cryptically.

I opened my mouth to say I didn’t want them, but he had already bowed, and retreated into the shadows of his domain.

Finally, structure-wise, this “receiving the swords” scene on page 69 is a short flashback embedded in the action leading up to the big ceremonial fight. I placed it at this point in the narrative to bring home the special quality of the swords and to start setting up their peculiar power in the big sword fight that occurs in the next chapter.
Read an excerpt from Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, and learn more about the author and her work at Alison Goodman's website and MySpace page.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue