Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"The Vagrant"

Peter Newman lives in Somerset with his wife and son. Growing up in and around London, Peter studied Drama and Education at the Central School of Speech and Drama, going on to work as a secondary school drama teacher. He now works as a trainer and Firewalking Instructor. He sometimes pretends to be a butler for the Tea and Jeopardy podcast, which he co-writes, and which has been shortlisted for a Hugo Award.

Newman applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Vagrant, and reported the following:
The Vagrant is a hero’s journey set against a bleak, far future, post apocalyptic backdrop. It also features knights, demons, and singing swords. Page 69 is set during one of the flashbacks that sets up the story and it gives a flavour of the prose, and the mood of the book.

From page 69:
The young men do not move. They glance at each other then up at the knight, chanting as one:

‘We invoke the the rite of mercy. Save us, protect us, deliver us.’

After a quick curse at the sky, the knight invites them in.

A few miles past the village, the metal snake belches black smoke and dies. The flanks hiss as they cool; a last impression of living.

The Knight Commander calls his last follower and the fresh recruits. The day’s travel has taken its toll, he knows he has reached the limits of his strength, inside he is crumbling, broken.

‘There is only one order,’ he tells the three of them, return the cargo to the Shining City whatever the cost. Failure is unacceptable, everything else permissible. That is all.’ The three digest the news. Even together they barely add up to one man. ‘From now on Sir Attica is in charge, you take your instructions from him.’

With effort the younger knight marshals his face to calm. ‘What about you, Commander?’

‘I’m not in the mood for running today, Attica, but I am in the mood to shoot something. Carry me up to the turret and you can be on your way.’

The youths have grown up with hard labour and make short work of moving the older man, armour and all, into the raised diamond on the snake’s back.

Attica straps his superior into place. Plastic loops take the strain where muscles cannot. Words fumble out. ‘Commander, I’m not sure I can do this.’
Here we get a hint at the main quest, and we learn that the heroes of the world are already dead and dying (the Knight Commander is one of the last). We also get a suggestion that the people left behind to complete their work are somewhat lacking.

What we don’t get here is much of the main characters. There’s no baby, no goat, no Malice, and the Vagrant hasn’t even become the Vagrant yet. The other thing that’s missing (and this may have some relation to the above characters not being present), are the touches of humour and hope that sometimes shine through.
Visit Peter Newman's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Vagrant.

--Marshal Zeringue