A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Game Upon the Razor's Edge

Well, I have a title now for the second half of what started out as In the Lion's Mouth.  It is to be called On the Razor's Edge, following a poem that appears in the Lion's Mouth and is fortuitously echoed already in the text.  I figure the title scans to match the companion volume and is about the same size as the first two titles as well, so the cover art may continue the same theme without unduly resizing the font.   

Yuts’ga, whose star, once spied from Earth
In nameless twinkle, whose seas once swam
With proto-life prolific, joined in metazoan joy,
Her skies well-crossed by many streams, convulsed
At times by strife to seize them, has now in gentle peace
Reposed these slumb’rous years, to dream… of what?
Here, too, a crucial bottleneck where messages
Must criss and cross their way among the stars,
A place where proper hands may stay or speed
Intelligence sore-needed elsewhere by the foe.
And so have Shadows dimmed Fair Yuts’ga
In stealth to play the game upon the razor’s edge,
Life sweetly-dreamed along the borderlands of death,
And gather all within that fatal commonwealth
In which we all find final membership. 

+ + +

Méarana plucked a dis-chord on her harp.  “War as a cure for boredom?”
“Ah, harper!  No one who has not lived on the razor’s edge can know what it means to be alive.  Only by hazarding all can one win all.”

+ + +

Life seldom tastes so sweet as it does when stolen back at the very brink from those who would take it.  Méarana finally understood, a little, a phrase favored by the Ravn: “life along the razor’s edge.”   

+ + +
Which should give you an idea of the book.
+ + +

The chapters
Map of the Borderlands and the Old Home Worlds
Map of the Triangles
Map of Gidula’s Stronghold
Banners of the Shadows
I.  Doggedness
II.  And Did She Teach You Three Things?
III.  The Synthesis
IV.  The Pasdarm at the Iron Bridge
V.  One of the Pleasantest Things in Life
VI.  Many Arrows Loosèd Several Ways
VII.  One Man With a Dream, At Pleasure
VIII.  Never Do What You Said You’d Do
IX.  At the Capital of All the Worlds
X.  The Play of the Coral Snake
XI.  Hanging Tough
XII.  The Razor's Edge
XIII.  Three, With a New Song’s Measure
Notes for the Curious
The characters (major roles)

Francine Thompson     d.b.a. Bridget ban, a Hound of the Ardry
Graceful Bintsaif    a junior Hound, deputy to Bridget ban
Lucia D. Thompson     d.b.a. Méarana, a harper, daughter of Bridget ban
Ravn Olafsdottr    a Shadow of the CCW
Donovan (the scarred man)    d.b.a. The Fudir, sometime agent of the CCW

Hounds of the Ardry
Greystroke    longtime companion to Donovan and Bridget ban
Little Hugh O Carroll    Pup to Greystroke, d.b.a. Rinty
Black Shuck, Cŵn Annwn, Grimpen, Matilda of the Night, Obligado

Rebel Shadows
Gidula    Counselor to Dawshoo (black, a white comet)
Khembold Darling    Gidula’s ship-captain (yellow, a daffodil; comet canton) 
Eglay Portion    Gidula’s base-captain (tan, a rose; comet canton)
Domino Tight    a young Shadow (tawny, a lyre proper)
Oschous Dee Karnatika    field marshal of the rebel shadows (scarlet, a black horse)
Big Jacques Delamond    a large Shadow (white, a blue trident)

Loyal Shadows
Shadow Prime    Father of the Abattoir (black) 
Ekadrina Sèanmazy    field marshal of the loyal Shadows (black, a taiji)
Aynia Farer    a loyal Shadow (lime, a lion)
Phoythaw Bhatvik    advisor to Sèanmazy (yellow, two ravens)

Those of Name
Jimjim Shot    The Beautiful Name, the Mayshot Bo
Tina Zhi    The Technical Name, the Gayshot Bo
Paul Feeley    The Radiant Name, the Nangling Bo
Ari Zin    The Militant Name, the Woqfun Bo
xxxxxxxx    The Secret Name, the Bo’an Ghincat

Magpies, pups, hounds, shadows, retainers, boots, sheep, foo-doctors, archivists, villagers, Terrans.

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