Sunday, April 5, 2009


Ken Scholes's short fiction has been appearing in various magazines and anthologies for the last eight years, including Realms of Fantasy, Polyphony 6 and Weird Tales. He is a winner of the Writers of the Future contest.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Lamentation, his first novel, and reported the following:
“A woman met the forward scouts west of Sethbert's camp, lord. She came magicked and asking for your protection under the Providence of Kin-Clave.”

He smiled but there was no satisfaction in it. Maybe later, when all of this unpleasantness had passed. “Very well. Prepare her for travel.”


“She is to be escorted to the seventh manor. You leave within the hour. The metal man goes with her. Select and magick a half-squad to assist you.”

“Yes, lord.”

“And fetch me my raven.” Rudolfo fell back into the cushions, exhaustion washing over him.

“Lord Rudolfo?” The metal man struggled to his feet, his damaged leg sparking. “Am I leaving you?”

“Yes, Isaak, for bit.” He rubbed his eyes. “I wish for you to start that work we spoke of. When I am finished here, I will bring you help.”

"Is there anything I can do here, lord?"

He doesn't wish to go, Rudolfo realized. But he was too tired to find words of explanation. And the metal man brought something out in him -- something like compassion. He couldn't bear to tell him that he was simply too dangerous a weapon to have on the battlefield. Rudolfo rubbed his eyes again and yawned. “Pack your tools, Isaak. You’re leaving soon.”

The metal man packed, then swung the heavy pouch over his shoulder. Rudolfo climbed to his feet.

“The woman you will be traveling with is Jin Li Tam of House Li Tam. I would have you bear a message to her.”

Isaak said nothing, waiting.

“Tell her she chose well and that I will come to her when I am finished here.”

“Yes, lord.”

Rudolfo followed Isaak out of the tent. His raven awaited, its feathers glossy and dark as a wooded midnight. He took it from the scout’s steady hands.

“When you reach the seventh manor,” he told his scout, “tell my steward there that Isaak -- the metal man -- bears my grace.”

The scout nodded once and left. Isaak looked at Rudolfo. His mouth opened and closed; no words came out.

Rudolfo held the raven close, stroking its back with his finger. “I will see you soon, Isaak. Start your work. I’ll send the others when I’ve freed them. You’ve a library to re-build.”

Above is Page 69 of my first novel, Lamentation, though I took the liberty of finishing Rudolfo's dialogue, which carries a few sentences over to Page 70.

This is actually a pretty good page for this exercise. We have three of the primary characters all preparing to move -- Rudolfo is getting ready for war while Jin Li Tam, the courtesan spy, and Isaak, the metal man Rudolfo found in the ruins of Windwir, are preparing to leave the Desolation for Rudolfo's Ninefold Forest. Isaak will begin rebuilding what of the library can be rebuilt from his memory scrolls and the memory scrolls of the other surviving mechoservitors Rudolfo is sworn to free from Sethbert's camp. Jin Li Tam will first lay eyes on what is to become her new home as a result of the sudden strategic alliance between her father and Rudolfo and move in the direction of becoming her own woman, despite her father's manipulations, in a partnership with someone who is her equal. The page also gives us some tidbits from the story -- magicked scouts, messenger birds, and the beginnings of Rudolfo's friendship with Isaak.

If you like Page 69, I hope you'll give the novel a try!
Read an excerpt from Lamentation, listen to an audio excerpt, and watch a video interview with Ken Scholes.

Learn more about the author and his work at Ken Scholes's website and blog.

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

--Marshal Zeringue