Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Thirteen Orphans"

Jane Lindskold is the bestselling author of the Wolf series, which began with Through Wolf’s Eyes and concluded with Wolf’s Blood, as well as many other fantasy novels.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Thirteen Orphans, and reported the following:
When I was invited to participate in the Page 69 Blog, I will admit, I found myself feeling both interested and somewhat overwhelmed.

I’m a believer in making each page pay. So I decided to take a deep breath and see if page 69 of my newly released novel Thirteen Orphans would contain something to keep potential readers reading.

However, I decided that I wasn’t going to let my fondness for my own work deceive me. I had a book signing the very next day. I decided I’d wait until I had an audience to find out what was on page 69, and test what their response would be.

Saturday Night. Page One Books, Albuquerque. After explaining what I was going to do, I opened a copy of Thirteen Orphans to page 69. To my consternation, it started in mid-sentence. I said: “Should I go back to the first full line?” and immediately heard, “No! Go for it.” So I did.

...possibly the Japanese market. You can tell because there are no Arabic numbers on the tiles.

The paragraph goes on to talk about mah-jong sets. Okay. Not too bad. Analysis of puzzles or of mysterious items always catches me. Next paragraph.

Riprap ate the French fry, then went on. “You don’t look Chinese. Your daughter... Maybe she does if I stretch my imagination...

More mystery. A question of heritage. I speed my eyes down the page. Why is this important? Ah-hah!

“Are you familiar with generational feuds?” Gaheris went on.


“Well, being the descendant of your great-grandfather has set you up to be targeted by one such feud.”

I heard stirring from my audience. Apparently, generational feuds were a Good Thing as far as readers were concerned, especially feuds where at least some of those targeted have no idea they are vulnerable.

A little more discussion, as Gaheris seeks to convince Riprap that he alone of all his family is in particular danger. Then, as page 69 comes to an end:

At last, Riprap spoke very softly. “Tell me what would be on the lid of the box holding my great-grandfather’s set.”

Brenda heard herself answering. “A dog. The Dog.”

“And yours has a rat. The Rat...”

I finished the paragraph and looked up. My audience burst into spontaneous applause.

I grinned. “Shall we see what’s on page 169?”

And we did.

So my assessment, supported by that of about forty listeners, is that if you read page 69 of Thirteen Orphans, you’ll want to read more. I hope you’ll give it a try.
Learn more about the book and author at Jane Lindskold's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue