Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"The Venusian Gambit"

Michael Martinez is the author of The Daedalus Incident and The Enceladus Crisis, the first two installments in the Daedalus trilogy. A journalist and professional writer by trade, Martinez lives with his wife and daughter in northern New Jersey.

He applied the Page 69 Test to The Venusian Gambit: Book Three of the Daedalus series, and reported the following:
I’m slightly disappointed that, in a book about Napoleonic Era sailing ships in space…there are no sailing ships in space on page 69 of The Venusian Gambit, the final volume in the Daedalus trilogy. But that’s OK, because there’s a British admiral, a Cabinet minister, the Crown Prince of England – and an alien.

The Daedalus series hearkens back to C.S. Forester’s Hornblower and Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander books, but blended with a healthy dose of Star Wars; the series is full of thrilling battles and four-color adventure. In the latest book, there’s also a good dose of political intrigue.

To get you up to speed: In 1809, Napoleon has used ancient alien alchemy to raise an army of revenant soldiers from the dead, and has taken much of England, as well as King George III. Thus, there’s a government-in-exile up in Scotland, and the admiral – Lord Thomas Weatherby – must work to keep Napoleon’s ambitions confined to Earth, lest the rest of the Known Worlds fall under his sway.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that – I didn’t even get to the part where our future 22nd century dimension crosses with Weatherby’s. But that should get you started. Here’s page 69 of The Venusian Gambit, which starts with the minister, Lord Castlereagh, discussing the disposition of a pair of spies in Oxford, and whether they may need assistance.
…an inch. And there are legions of French troops, and their damnable Corps Eternel between.”

“Little, certainly, other than to be prepared,” Weatherby said. “We have given them instruction to discover as much as they are able without being discovered themselves, and—”

“And I’m sure the will perform admirably,” came another voice from the head of the room. The group turned and saw His Royal Highness, George, Prince of Wales and Prince Regent, enter the room. He was tall, stout and broad-chested, possessed of a florid face and dark hair, with eyes that could hold joy and menace in equal measure – and occasionally both at once. At times Weatherby wondered whether he was King Henry VIII come back to life; certainly the prince’s once-profligate spending, estranged marriage, and long-time mistress helped the comparison.

Yet Weatherby saw there was something far more interesting afoot than the mere attendance of England’s ruler, for the Prince Regent was accompanied by a Xan.

All in the room bowed deeply toward Prince George, but their eyes remained locked on the looming hooded figure to his right. This worthy was teen feet tall, and its taloned hands were clasped in front of it, obscured by the folds of its robe. Likewise, the Xan’s hood covered its face, as was common amongst those Saturnian folk who visited Earth-men.

Prince George, for his part, smiled wickedly at his subjects in the room. “And here I imagine you thought me off on some wastrel adventure or another,” the Prince Regent chided. “In fact, I have been deep in negotiations with the ambassador here.”

Weatherby and Castlereagh shared a quick look, and it became quite evident to Weatherby that this was a surprise to the minister, and thus likely a surprise to the rest of His Majesty’s Government as well. Since retreating north, the Prince Regent had taken a far more active role in government than King George, especially given the latter man’s enfeeblement of both body and mind. An active monarch was, in the eyes of some, a worrisome development, especially when he might act without the advice and consent of Parliament – a Parliament that continued to have difficulty meeting with more than half its elected members behind enemy lines.

George, meanwhile, smiled up at the hooded figure, which made a non-committal, melodic sound. The Xan had two mouths, one upon each side….
Visit Michael J. Martinez's website.

--Marshal Zeringue