Friday, February 5, 2016

"A Prisoner in Malta"

Phillip DePoy is the director of the theatre program at Clayton State University and author of several novels, including The Drifter's Wheel, A Corpse's Nightmare, and December's Thorn.

He applied the Page 69 Test to A Prisoner in Malta, the first book in a new mystery series featuring Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare's contemporary and Queen Elizabeth's man behind the throne, and reported the following:
Page 69 of A Prisoner in Malta contains a particularly telling bit of action tied to philosophy:
The man was taken by surprise, but training or instinct did not fail him. He drew his sword.

“Stop,” the man warned, menacingly.

“Ah, good,” Marlowe said to the man, “military sword against rapier and dagger. The former is a clumsy man’s failing; the latter is a clever man’s grace. As luck would have it, I am quite graceful. You’re about to die.”

That was a lesson from Lopez: taunt an opponent with the idea that he’s already lost, even before the fighting has begun.

The guard hesitated. The verbal gambit had worked. Marlowe thrust his rapier directly into the man’s midsection. Blood spotted his tunic.
From this exchange we quickly understand several things about the young Christopher Marlowe. He’s calm, confident, and verbal in the face of a dangerous situation, but he’s also still a student, relying on lessons he’s been taught (in this case by his sometime mentor, Dr. Lopez, the Queen’s physician). This section arises from one of my favorite real quotes from the historical Marlowe: “You must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute, and now and then stab, when occasion serves.” The entire book’s not comprised of swordfights, of course, but there is a lot of action. I think what might be missing from page 69 is a fuller explication of Marlowe’s more poetic virtues, but all in all the page isn’t a bad partial introduction to the rest of the book.
Learn more about the book and author at Phillip DePoy's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Drifter's Wheel.

The Page 69 Test: A Corpse's Nightmare.

The Page 69 Test: December's Thorn.

My Book, The Movie: December's Thorn.

--Marshal Zeringue