Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Nathan Makaryk is the author of Nottingham, and a theater owner, playwright, director and actor, living in southern California. None of these pay very well, so he also has a real job teaching audio systems networking software to people who have no idea he's also a novelist and theater guy. He likes dogs and scotch because of course he does.

Makaryk applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Lionhearts (the second installment in the Nottingham series), and reported the following:
On page 69 of Lionhearts, we see a Nottingham Guardsman named Quillen who contemplates how much of a mark he can make on the world from his menial position of night patrol on the castle ramparts. He then dangerously dozes off in the cold and is awoken by another Guardsman, who happens to be something of a sociopathic killer. Their interaction would be extremely alarming to anyone who had read the preceding pages, but without that knowledge it just comes off as idle banter when read out of context.

There’s a good representation of the themes of morality in the novel, as well as some quirky humor—but on its own, it’s actually a little on the boring side! This is a quiet moment for this character as he’s transitioning between major plot beats, so there’s no action or a sense of urgency, and therefore not a great standard-bearer to represent the entire novel, which has tons of action and adventure.

And more importantly—as is true for any book with multiple POV characters—the Page 69 test can’t possibly provide more than a snapshot of a single character’s perspective. Lionhearts has six recurring narrators that cover all sides of the Robin Hood world, and the tone and writing style varies for each of them. Quillen is definitely the most reserved and introspective of these characters, while others are more emotional, violent, or (in the case of Prince John) just absolute brats.

So in this case, I’d have to say that the Page 69 test fails to represent Lionhearts as a whole. (However, if you jump a hundred pages forward to 169, there’s some pretty delightful swashbuckling at play!)
Visit Nathan Makaryk's website.

--Marshal Zeringue