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General's Mistress chapter titles

As we move toward the publication date for The General's Mistress, I thought I'd share the chapter titles. If you pick one I'll talk a little bit about what it means and give you a snippet from that chapter. I have to say, I've never changed chapter titles around as many times as I have for this book!

The Cuckoo's Child
The World of Men
The Runaway Bride
A New Life
The White Queen
Winter in Paris
Among the Marvelous
Dangerous Acquaintances
Games of Passion
Ten of Swords
Dido's Revenge
Walpurgis Night
Nine of Swords
Grand Saint Bernard
The First Consul
Fire From Heaven
Fama Volat
The Road Home
Queen of Swords
Two of Chalices
In the City of Light
On Campaign
Echoes of a Beating Drum
Christmas in the Field


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2012 12:19 pm (UTC)
That's one of those phrases that sounds interesting in English because it's a direct translation. Entre les Merveilleuses is much more prosaic! In this chapter Elza moves in Directory society and we're introduced to some of the movers and shakers. (Also I must admit that my picture of Paul Barras owes something to a certain well known and scandal ridden politician I once worked for....)

I had never planned any sort of social occasion in Paris, and I was keenly aware of how my efforts would reflect on Victor. The wine, the food, the musicians, everything necessary for a simple party took weeks to prepare. I was beside myself over the flowers. The ones I had wanted were not available, and instead I had gray classical urns, meant to hold flowers outdoors on a terrace, filled with cherry branches forced to bloom early. The effect was both rustic and lovely, and the spare shapes seemed almost opulent in Victor’s understated rooms.

The fête went well enough. As I had expected, I did not enjoy myself much. It is far easier to be the guest than the hostess.

I did, however, at last meet Barras. He was of medium height, with brown hair and a handsome face of the sort that every young lawyer aspires to, open and inventive without any trace of cynicism or interest. He took my hand politely and bent over it, saying every conventional thing, making compliment to my clothing and décor. And five minutes later I found it completely impossible to remember a word he had said.

“You are right, Victor,” I said when I passed close to him later, “Barras is a cipher.”

Victor leaned forward against my arm. “He says everything that everyone wants to hear, and yet says nothing.”

Jul. 30th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
Walpurgis Night, please?
Jul. 30th, 2012 02:22 pm (UTC)
Oh fun choice! Elza has been doing fake seances to earn a living, but now the stakes are higher. She's been hired to do one on Walpurgis Night, and to fake angelic possession by the Archangel Michael! Only....

The candlelight, the incense, the darkness of the room outside the circle drew me in, pulling me into that feeling of strangeness, of uncanny concentration.

“Spirit of Air, morning’s breath and dawn’s light . . . Spirit of Fire, noontide’s heat and day’s brightness . . . Spirit of Water, evening’s tide and twilight’s softness . . . Spirit of Earth, night’s peace and midnight’s skies . . .” The words blurred together, and I was no longer conscious of them as words, but of their meaning, the wheel turning and turning, dove-gray dawn to brightness, afternoon’s glare to evening’s purple shades, fading to midnight and the cool before dawn, turning and turning again.

Lebrun began chalking the floor around where I knelt on a black silk cushion. Greek, Hebrew, a little Latin. Symbols that didn’t match the words. I was glad that it was no demon he summoned. The circle he chalked was wrong. Why I thought that, I could not say. I had never seen one like it, but I knew it was wrong, that it would hold nothing that did not wish to be held.

—It’s impolite, something whispered amused in my head, to invite a guest and tie him up.—
Jul. 30th, 2012 02:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's got to have entertaining results!
Jul. 30th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, Michael has a few things to say! :) She may think she's faking, but she's certainly not!
Jul. 30th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
Hohenlinden, please!
Jul. 30th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
Unsurprisingly, this is the Battle of Hohenlinden! :) Ok, that was a rather prosaic title...

With a roll like distant thunder, the guns opened up.

The front of the Austrian advance had come out of the woods straight into the field of fire of Moreau’s guns. Caught between their own advancing column and the French guns and infantry ahead, the Austrians did the only sensible thing. They charged.

I ran outside and looked, but I could see nothing. There was too much smoke from the batteries, too many men rushing about, and the buildings of the town blocked my view. I glanced up. Even from the second-story windows of the house, I should see nothing, with the church between it and the road. The church tower was filled with our men, no doubt, spotters who could send messages to Moreau. The church itself had been made ready as a hospital, the priest and several nuns who normally tended the sick waiting for the wounded of both sides. As yet, the town was safe. We were not in range of the Austrian guns.

From the sound of the batteries crashing, I doubted that many of the Austrian guns were in play yet. They would have to be dragged clear of the woods and unlimbered, and I had seen what a laborious process that could be. To do it under fire in fourteen inches of snow would take quite some time, if they managed it at all.
Jul. 31st, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
You have certainly whetted my appetite - I can't wait to read the entire novel. I have enjoyed all the snippets you have posted. Thank you!
Jul. 31st, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
Hohenlinden was an interesting section to write. Like Gaugamela in Stealing Fire, it's a big set piece battle that's massive in scope. And so the only way to write it is to keep the focus very narrow, just on what Elza sees and experiences.
Jul. 31st, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
"Indiscretions" sounds interesting. what's going on there?
Jul. 31st, 2012 12:47 pm (UTC)
An interesting chapter! In which Elza has far too much to say to far too many people! And she cooks her goose, as it were.

A little piece for you with Elza and her theater friends....

There was Jean Delacroix, the lead who played Gaius Gracchus, and two more young men, one of whom was wickedly funny. All through lunch he told anecdotes about notable persons who came to the theater, both the Populaire and the Théâtre de la République, which was much more respectable.

“Ah,” said Delacroix, “but we are more entertaining!”

“We have Talma,” the young man countered, “the very prince of the theater that he is. If only he didn’t mingle in politics so much! It makes the rest of the company nervous.”

“It’s just that he likes to be looked at,” Lisette said. “He’s as kind as the day is long.”

“He likes to be looked at, all right,” Delacroix said. “He’s posing for Lemot the sculptor for a life-size marble, nude as the day he was born, but for a pair of manacles!”

“I’m sure that will be decorative,” I said dryly. “And pray tell me what the subject is. A dying Gaul, perhaps?”

Delacroix grinned. “Thettalos enchained,” he said.
Jul. 31st, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
"Debuts", please?
Aug. 1st, 2012 01:44 pm (UTC)
In which Elza decides to go on the stage, but in the absence of being cast takes a job doing fake seances, and discovers that she's...rather unexpectedly good...at predicting the future.

The next session with Lebrun was not nearly as spectacular, probably because the questions did not give me as much scope for poetry. “Shall my wife deliver a son or a daughter?” was particularly problematic. The gentleman in question was soon to become a father for the first time, and the answer must be either one or the other. I prevaricated and said that I could not tell.

Which, it turned out, was the right answer. Lebrun informed me the next week, grinning broadly, that the gentleman’s wife had delivered safely and without incident healthy twin babies, a girl and a boy. It had made my reputation. He wished to engage me weekly as his medium.

Aug. 1st, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
Ha! That's awesome.
Aug. 2nd, 2012 12:20 pm (UTC)
He meant to hire a fake oracle. He got a real one!
Aug. 1st, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you, I hope she tag teams it again this time. Elza is quite the sybil. Have you sold the next book in the series yet? I'm dying to read it.
Aug. 1st, 2012 03:58 pm (UTC)
Oops, this was supposed to be on the except post. Sigh. I still love the chapter titles though!
Aug. 1st, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! :)
Aug. 1st, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
No, not yet. They'll consider it in the fall when they see how The General's Mistress does.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )