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Fortune's Wheel

A reader asks, "I'm really curious about the new book that's coming out next summer. Are Gull and Neas and Xandros and everyone back?"

All of them are back in the books that tell the story of the Wars of Revolution, though Fortune's Wheel is only the first book and the only one sold so far. But all of them aren't in the first book, Fortune's Wheel. Gull is the main character, and Neas is back as a major character. Xandros doesn't appear until the second book, except for one moment when he doesn't have any lines. Bai from Black Ships is back, as is Bagoas from Stealing Fire.

If I had to characterize Fortune's Wheel for readers of the previous books, I'd say that Lydias finally takes his shot at Hephaistion, and things work out very differently than Lydias would have expected!


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2011 09:01 am (UTC)
And about time too! But why not write about the relationship between Lydias and Hephaistion in their own time and include Alexander too? There is so much more to tell, gaps to be filled, that surely there is enough for at least a full length novel on the subject. Much as I enjoyed Horus Indwelling, and appreciated Lydias naming his son Hephaistion, I would love even more to read about Lydias and Hephaistion themselves.

Jun. 17th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
I think there could be another story about Lydias and Hephaistion, but sadly not Lydias/Hephaistion. Lydias, in his utter lack of self confidence, managed to say no when he didn't mean no! And of course Hephaistion would consider it dishonorable to press the point when Lydias is under his command. So Lydias managed to totally mess up his chances without meaning to! But there could be another story about Lydias and Hephaistion.... *ponders for another anthology*
Jun. 17th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, it doesn't have to be slashy, but it would be interesting to read more about their relationship, what it was about Hephaistion that Lydias admired and fell in love with. It's just that I feel that there is more to be told and I would so like to read it.

I apologize for not commenting on the anthology, but after having read Horus Indwelling and starting on Ravens, Alcibiades arrived (a new biography by P.J.Rhodes) and you know what he's like. Claiming all your attention and being ever so charming and interesting; but I shall go back and read the rest of the anthology soon.
Jun. 17th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)
I think there is more. I wrote a scene that wasn't included about Hephaistion's wedding to Drypetis, but it didn't really fit in Stealing Fire, so I took it out. (Although it's referenced in the second book about the Wars of Revolution, The Chariot.) There's also a scene set during the siege of Tyre that I took out because it read like fanfic for Judith Tarr's Lord of the Two Lands, a book I love but was decidedly not ripping off!

I hope you enjoy Ravens. The title story, The Ravens of Falkenau, has Hephaistion as a woman, which is interesting.
Jun. 17th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
Trying to keep the incarnations straight...

Black Ships: Gull is, well, Gull and Neas is Neas.

Stealing Fire: Gull is Lydias and Neas is Hephaistion.

Hand of Isis: Gull is Charmian and Neas is Marcus Agrippa.

Fortune's Wheel: Gull is Elza and Neas is Michel Ney.

I haven't received my copy of the paperback Ravens yet, so I can't go much further. But, am I correct so far? And, just for the fun of speculating, is the soul who was the gender-bending temple prostitute (sorry, his / her name eludes me at the moment) in Black Ships become Bagoas in Stealing Fire? Who became Dion in Hand of Isis? Male, approaching female more and more incrementally?
Jun. 18th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
*g* You're right about all the Gulls and all the Neases.

Ashterah is Dion, but not Bagoas. Also Xandros is Artashir and then Emrys.

Xandros isn't in Fortune's Wheel, though he will be in the next book set at the same time, and he's in the short story set in that time in Ravens of Falkenau, Small Victories. Ashterah/Dion is the main character of Small Victories, the girl named Victory. Again, she'll be in the later books in the Wars of Revolution but not in Fortune's Wheel. Bagoas, however, is in Fortune's Wheel, oh yes, absolutely! :) As is Alexander....
Jun. 18th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Xandros is Artashir? Oh, that's interesting. Changes in the complexion of the relationship between Gull / Lydias and Xandros / Artashir. It seems to emphasize the Companion aspect of the Gull / Xandros relationship (Companion to Neas, that is).

Ashterah is Dion, but not Bagoas? Whoa! Okay, I have to re-think my understanding of the arch for both Ashterah / Dion and Bagoas. I had just sort of assumed that the bi-sexual temple prostitute became the physical eunuch became the homosexual man...

Thank you for the clarity!
Jun. 18th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, Xandros is Artashir. That really does emphasize the Companion relationship rather than the romantic one, which is something that always plays back and forth -- are they going to be lovers, or brothers in arms? That depends.

Yes, Dion and Bagoas are definitely separate people! In the Wars of Revolution books they're both on stage at once as two very different women, Dion as Victoire and Bagoas as Josephine.
Jun. 19th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
Oh, wait -- Xandros is Emrys, in Hand of Isis? I thought Xandros was Iris.
Jun. 19th, 2011 12:23 pm (UTC)
No, Xandros is Emrys. We hadn't seen Iras before. Which is one of the things between Emrys and Dion -- Xandros and Ashterah.
Jun. 19th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
Do you write the lines down, of who becomes who? I am so confused, sometimes! But I love working away at it. Sorry to be a pain.
Jun. 19th, 2011 12:25 pm (UTC)
Not a pain at all! I'm so glad you're enjoying it!

Yes, I have it written down about who becomes who, even the ones who haven't yet been center stage enough to be readily identifiable. For example, in the anthology Jauffre's squire Laurent is the same person as Valeria's father is the same person as Victory's father.
Jun. 19th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
Hm. If it's that detailed, then I suppose Glaukos is Sigismund? Was he Bai? Eeeee, this is so much fun!
Jun. 19th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
No, Glaukos isn't Sigismund, but he's McDonald in The Ravens of Falkenau title story. We'll see Bai in Fortune's Wheel as Rene, and then Sigismund will be back in the second book of the Wars of Revolution as Gervais. You can see that one of him in the anthology short story Small Victories, the big man with the moustache. When Victory is watching the man she danced with, Honore, talking to his friends, it's Elza, Gervais, and Jean-Baptiste, formerly Charmian, Sigismund, and Adam Trcka from Ravens of Falkenau -- Emrys' friends in this life.
Jun. 19th, 2011 08:03 am (UTC)
That last paragraph made me squee so much! Especially because I always wondered in that scene between them in Stealing Fire if Hephaistion wasn't falling quite hard for Lydias, in a totally different way than he had for Alexander.

Yeah, he and Alexander were still close, and still ended up in bed from time to time, but they seemed to have more become soul friends than lovers...of course, I could also totally be reading that wrong *grin*

And Fortune's Wheel sounds phenomenal in general, from the chapters you've posted. When it comes out, will you post a character table, explaining who everyone's been reincarnated as, at least the ones that appear in this one? I love trying to puzzle it out while reading, and it'd be brilliant to know if I was right!
Jun. 19th, 2011 12:33 pm (UTC)
I think Lydias jumped the gun saying no! I don't think Hephaistion's answer was definitely no, especially not at this point where there are both Bagoas and Roxane in the picture. I think he could very well have said, "Look, you have Bagoas and Roxane, and I get to have somebody too." But Lydias was so sure the answer was no that he went straight there, and once he had Hephaistion would consider it dishonorable to push the issue once Lydias had said no, since Lydias is under his command.

I'm so glad you like what you see so far of Fortune's Wheel. Just for you, I'll post the first time Lydias sees Hephaistion in that life, from Fortune's Wheel.
Jun. 19th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
Thinking of Hephaistion's relationship with Alexander in that light e.g. you have people, and now I'd like to have Lydias, if he's willing (at least if Lydias hadn't shot himself in the foot) really makes me think about how relaxed non Western cultures are about love.

One love doesn't diminish another, but enriches it, because if both parties are happy, they make the other happy.

And I suppose this also accounts for the lack of jealousy among these characters about vocation? I mean, a vocation is often as demanding and requires just as much of a committment as a romantic relationship. But, if there's a lack of jealousy, the love for vocation can enrich the partners' lives together, rather than taring them apart.
Jun. 19th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Our culture is stuck on the idea that the only possible basis for a good relationship is sexual fidelity. Think about how our society reacts when a scandal breaks about any public figure's infidelity -- whether or not their spouse actually reacts that way or not! Physical infidelity is supposed to be the ultimate deal breaker, no matter what the actual basis of the relationship is -- friendship, respect, shared work, shared lives, shared values, love. The trump card is supposed to be monogamy.

And relationships (or vocation) that are demanding but aren't sexual are supposedly "safe." But are they? If someone's emotional life orbits around their best friend, if that person is the center of their social life, of their support system, the most important person in the world to them, but it's not sexual, how is that less important than sexting a picture to someone you've never met? Why is being completely emotionally intimate with someone not "cheating" but flirting with someone online is? We're stuck on sex. It's all about the sex act.

What if it weren't that way? What if the most important things about a relationship were things other than sex? That's one thing about Elza and Michel throughout the five books of the Wars of Revolution -- other than a very brief period, they're never sexually exclusive. But they are utterly and passionately devoted. Their vocation is something that brings them together. Fidelity is about being true to the ideals they share, not about being physically faithful.
Jun. 20th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
Interesting. The monogamous marriage is, of course, of Christian origins; although Jewish patriarch Abraham had Sara and Hagar, Christian spin is that Sara was wife and "gave" her maidservant to Abraham for reproductive purposes (in Islam, they are co-wives). I've read that monogamy was one of the elements which was attractive to some European women as Christianity spread out of the Mediterranean basin.

Moreover, monogamy was emphasized during the Protestant Reformation, when wives were given a status hitherto missing in the Virgin Mary / Mary Magdalene dichotomy. Luther actually had a great marriage, and the whole notion of partnership in marriage started with him. Or at least was formally articulated and accepted as one of the central tenets of the new religion.

Lust plays havoc with monogamy. I think in Protestant North America, sexuality is the most scary, dangerous force around. Because it's so forbidden, it has amazing power. In Italy, France, even in England, things are so much looser about sex, and look how far Berlusconi can go in public opinion.
Jun. 20th, 2011 11:44 am (UTC)
I think the thing we're running into in modern western society is this -- most people are simply not going to marry the first person they sleep with and be monogamous for sixty or seventy years. It's just not happening. And so rather than have constant chaos in people's lives as everyone changes partners in endless serial monogamy, with all the social instability and economic uncertainty that entails, I think we need something more workable. Past cultures, and other modern cultures, give us insights and models to try, and fiction gives us the means to explore ideas.

What would it be like to get rid of the idea of One True Love? What if Emrys wasn't supposed to choose between Charmian and Dion, leaving one of them unhappy and the other supposed to fulfill all his emotional needs? Who is Gull/Lydias/Charmian's True Love, Neas or Xandros?

They both are. And Xandros/Emrys also loves Ashterah/Dion. And Neas/Hephaistion/Agrippa also loves Alexander. All of these loves are real and true. Which ones should be written off? It's an interesting question to pose for the reader.
Jun. 20th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Past cultures and other modern cultures do give us insights and models to try. I'm not keen on the ones where men keep harems, myself, but there you go. Perhaps 'share-husbanding' is the way to look at it. Either way, I'd very much like to see some flexibility happening, and it may be popping up in the rise in polygamy.
Jun. 20th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
I've also seen mainstream discussions of "negotiated fidelity" or "freebies", essentially agreements about what kind of relationships outside of marriage are agreed to by the participants, the jist of which is that physical fidelity isn't a deal breaker, but that honesty is essential.
Jun. 19th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, please!
Jun. 19th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!
Jun. 21st, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation of who's who in which period of time. Not that I am able to follow it all. Anyway, it doesn't matter as the stories themselves are so interesting, captivating and well written. I enjoyed all of the stories in Ravens and can't wait for Fortune's Wheel to be published. I do hope you'll be able to get more stories accepted and look forward to more anthologies as well.

Jun. 21st, 2011 10:51 am (UTC)
I'm really glad you enjoyed Ravens! Thank you!

I'm looking forward to Fortune's Wheel so much myself. I started it originally in 1992, and I finished it between Black Ships and Hand of Isis. Its sequel, The Chariot, is already finished, and I'm working on the third book, Sword Queen. I hope The Chariot and Sword Queen sell!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )