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What am I working on?

What am I working on?

Saturday I finished The Marshal's Lover, the third book of the Wars of Revolution books. I'm in that happy book finishing place, despite this being the seventeenth time I've finished a book if you count my two teenage endeavors, that lovely place where it's all golden and I'm in love with it for the first time. Considering that some sections of this book were written as early as 1992, it's been a long time coming.

I thought I'd share a little scene with you -- in which there is the reappearance of one of my favorite characters from Stealing Fire, Chloe. In which Elza, my main character, has met a young girl in Italy who is reputed to have the gift of prophecy, and Lydias' dreams begin to come full circle....



"The Sibyl," she said, looking up at me. "My grandmother said so. She said I would be the Sibyl after her. But then she got sick and died. And I don't know how to do it." She took a long breath and I waited for her. "I met this man, the French consul in Rome. He said he knew what I was."

"Claude-Francois Malet," I said.

She didn't seem at all surprised that I knew his name. "Yes," she said. "He wanted me to see for him. He paid me good money and he didn't take any liberties." She glanced at me swiftly to see if I believed her. "He said I had to stay a virgin."

"Obviously not," I said dryly, "As your grandmother was a grandmother."

She shrugged. "I only tell you what he said. And I was thirteen, so I was glad of his protection."

"And what did he want you to see?" I asked gently.

She looked at me swiftly. "He wanted me to see the downfall of the French Emperor. The one you serve."

"And how do you know that?" I asked, unnerved.

Ana smiled, sudden and gamine. "Don't you believe in what you, yourself, can do? It's written all over you. You serve for love, not money, and you are bound by your word."

"I do," I said. Was I this frightening? Truly? "And did you see it?"

She shook her head. "These things are written on the wind. There are too many pieces in motion, too many decisions yet to be made. I can't see a clear path, only possibilities, shadows of things that might be. He may fall or not. That depends on many things."

"And how did Malet take that?"

"He didn't like it. He wanted me to forecast sure success for him. Which I could not truthfully do." Ana splashed her hand in the water and raised it, droplets falling tinged with sunset's flame. She was using it as a focus, I realized. She was using the reflections of light in the water the way I used a candle. "I told him that if he wanted a true Sibyl then he would have to hear the truth."

"You are very brave," I said.

Ana shrugged. "I couldn't make up things for him because I didn't know what he wanted. So I told him the truth." She looked at me. "You know how it is. You see bits and shadows of things, things that may be the future or the distant past, and only God can open the true doors. That's not something that you can make happen."

"I know," I said. And I did know. I had never before met someone like me. "What did you see?"

"I saw a city of brass," she said. "I saw a place that was not a place, or it was many places at once, the gates of the underworld opened by deep magic within the earth, tying this place to others that have been. I saw a city on the horizon, long walls sleeping under slanting sun, domes gilded in the fading light."

"A real place?" Cold touched me for all that we sat in warm sunshine on warmed stones. Had I dreamed this? Or had I only dreamed it in some other life?

Her eyes were unfocused, a voice like a dreaming child. "A palace in summer heat, winged bulls thrown large on the walls, blue and green and gold mosaics cool under my feet. Mother says we must hide. She says that the king is dying and we do not know what will happen. We must hide, my brother and I, until our father comes. No one must see my eyes. No one must see my eyes…."

My veins were ice. I could see her, dark head bent, a little girl of seven or so, another child spirited away in the night with revolution and fire behind her, the long road stretching out before us under Ishtar's horned moon….

Ana looked at me, and she was only herself again. "You were there," she said.

I swallowed hard. "I was."

"And you will be again," she said. "When the dream comes full circle. You will walk into the wasteland and it will kill you or change you." I said nothing and she put her hand on my arm, her fingers real and callused against my sleeve. "Do I frighten you?"

"True prophesy is not gentle," I said. "I know that. And if my destiny has been coming, then it will come. All I can do is face it with honor."

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
cypherindigo
Oct. 24th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
That gave me shivers.
jo_graham
Oct. 24th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
Oh good! I love Ana, and it's interesting to see the Sibyl from the outside rather than inside!
linneasr
Oct. 30th, 2011 11:04 am (UTC)
Yes, me too.
jo_graham
Oct. 30th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
Oh good! :)
_illumina_
Oct. 24th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! I'm dying to read more!
jo_graham
Oct. 24th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
I love this book so much! Actually, I love all three of the Wars of Revolution books!
gilraen2
Oct. 25th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
I am reading Stealing Fire now. I wasn't prepared to like it as well as the other two - but it has drawn me in and encompassed me. What is the next Numinous Worlds book to be released?
jo_graham
Oct. 25th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you like Stealing Fire! I'm very proud of it myself.

The next book is The General's Mistress, which is out from Simon & Schuster next October, a full year away! It's the first book set in the Wars of Revolution and covers the years 1796-1800. I began it in 1992, but most of it was written between Black Ships and Hand of Isis, but Hand of Isis and Stealing Fire sold first.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )