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The Eagle's Heir

I'm happy to at last reveal the cover art for The Eagle's Heir, my interactive novel with Amy Griswold which will be released on March 30 by A Choice of Games!

A small teaser from the flashback in Chapter One, with your grandmother, Madame St. Elme...

Each afternoon you practiced with Alexandre.  Your grandmother watched you go through the drills together, quatre to cinq with blades extended, side by side in shirts and breeches, while the sweating instructor corrected your stance and grip.  In the carriage on the way home she put her arm around you.  “I learned that way when I was your age,” she said.  “With my brother who died.  Our father was a fencing master.  It’s a very useful skill.”

“But you were a girl,” you said.

“True.”  Your grandmother took off her glove and showed you the long scar across her palm.  “Waterloo,” she said.  “I caught a saber cut with my off hand that would have killed me.  I was wearing heavy gloves so it didn’t take off my fingers. I’ve bled a great deal in the Emperor’s service.”


Your grandmother seemed to consider your question very carefully.  “Because he’s the best monarch alive.  We have a constitutional monarchy, with a Legislative Assembly and a Senate who help make the laws.  We have a constitution.  We’re the only country in Europe that does, or was until some of our protectorates got them.  All of the other monarchs are much worse.  Would you rather live under the Austrian Emperor?  He’s an absolute monarch.”

“No,” you said slowly.

“Or how about George IV in England?  His father was mad and he does nothing but spend money.”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“Or a Bourbon restoration, as the powers of Europe would have us take?   To restore the old regime and go back to the way things were before the Revolution?  Before the Revolution I couldn’t have had my own bank account or the lease on my house in my own name.  I would have had to belong to a man.”  Your grandmother shook her head, her bonnet plumes nodding.  “The Emperor is our best chance for freedom and progress.  He’s not perfect – heaven knows!  I’ve known him very well for years through many ups and downs.  But he’s our best hope for the future.”

“But what about a republic?”

Your grandmother’s face was solemn.  “The powers of Europe will never allow that.  A republic endangers all their thrones.  They’re frightened enough by our constitutional monarchy, where the Emperor serves by plebiscite vote.  That’s why it says what it does on the coins – Napoleon Emperor of the French, not Emperor of France.  The country doesn’t belong to him.  He belongs to the people.”

It was a lot to understand.  “And what happens next?  Who is his heir?”

Her voice was quiet.  “That is the problem.  The Emperor made a marriage of state to Princess Marie-Louise of Austria.  Their son was only a year old when the Emperor was forced to abdicate and go to Elba.  He escaped, thanks to the work of many who were loyal to him, and regained his throne.  After Waterloo the powers of Europe have never dared to challenge him in arms again.  But his son was gone.”  She looked out the carriage window, her face sad.  “You are too young to understand this yet.”

Now, fifteen years later you understood.  The Emperor’s legitimate son had been taken back to Austria by his mother and had been raised by the Austrian Emperor.  The only other heir was Alexandre.

Eagle's heir art


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2017 11:23 pm (UTC)
I'm so excited for this!
Mar. 8th, 2017 11:55 am (UTC)
I'm glad! It was a lot of fun to write and I think it will be fun to play!
Mar. 8th, 2017 01:33 am (UTC)
I'll confess I'm a little uncertain about the interactive novel concept in general, but this sounds intriguing enough that I will try it in spite of that.
Mar. 8th, 2017 04:22 am (UTC)
I've played a couple of the A Choice of Games! games on my phone and enjoyed one of them very much. I think a lot depends on the writing so naturally I'm looking forward to this one very much!
Mar. 8th, 2017 12:47 pm (UTC)
I confess that I'm a fan of them and I've played a bunch of them. I think my favorite is A Choice of Alexandria (naturally!) but it's a close second to Affairs of the Court. I've also enjoyed A Choice of Broadsides, Hollywood Visionary, Rock Star, and Saga of the North Wind. I've played some others too, but those are my favorites.

I agree with you that the writing is a huge thing. We've tried to make this fully fleshed out and immersible. And there are some scenes with Elza that -- well, I loved writing them, and I loved imagining a future in which they happened. (Elza is a main NPC, and Michel also appears.)

Which ones have you liked?
Mar. 8th, 2017 01:32 pm (UTC)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.choiceofgames.broadsides Choice of Broadsides. I also have Choice of Alexandria and Choice of Robots wishlisted (it's a problem of space on my phone, not the money).
Mar. 8th, 2017 10:06 pm (UTC)
Oh hey, my friend wrote those!
Mar. 9th, 2017 09:25 pm (UTC)
Choice of Robots, right?
Mar. 9th, 2017 09:16 pm (UTC)
I really liked Choice of Broadsides. I also really recommend Affairs of the Court!
Mar. 8th, 2017 12:42 pm (UTC)
Do you remember those kids books from long ago, the Choose Your Own Adventure books, where you flipped back and forth from page to page to choose your way through several linear stories? They were fun, but the problem was that there were only a few things you could do and the story was very limited. Imagine you could do that with a full novel, where you the main character was completely fleshed out and there were a hundred and twenty possible endings instead of four or five! Basically, this is a full novel with branches, so that you can take the story in different directions. It's also fascinating because you can explore all the possibilities in different play throughs -- what would happen if I trusted this character or didn't? What would happen if I tried to escape instead of talk my way out of it, or if I had been a different person who wanted different things? It's an utterly fascinating take on history for me -- all of the possibilities open, all the endings possible. All of the what ifs explorable. I think you'll enjoy it!
Mar. 8th, 2017 03:13 pm (UTC)
oh wow, oh wow, oh wow! why haven't i heard about this? how do i get it? is it a graphic novel? is it a continuation of the elsa books?
Mar. 9th, 2017 09:24 pm (UTC)
It's an interactive novel -- a choose your own adventure style book in which you take the role of the main character, Elza's grandchild, in an alternate history 1836 in which the French won the Battle of Waterloo. Now, twenty years later, Napoleon is dying. The fragile peace that has lasted is about to break over the question of his heir. Will it be Franz, the Duke of Reichstadt, his legitimate son with Marie Louise who has been raised to be a Hapsburg monarch? Will it be his illegitimate son Alexandre Walewski, who is French but not acceptable to the powers of Europe? Or will a Republic be proclaimed, kicking off another round of the Wars of Revolution? As Madame St. Elme's grandchild, and Alexandre's friend, it's in your hands. There are a hundred and twenty possible endings! I think one of the most fun things will be playing it a number of times and seeing how your choices change the course of history.

It will be out on March 30, so three weeks!
Mar. 10th, 2017 04:02 am (UTC)
Speaking of Napoleon, I listened this week to the Incomparables series "Unjustly Maligned" podcast episode about Napoleon (normally they talk about under-appreciated pop culture products). It had a few interesting bits, though not so absorbing that I couldn't read/do other stuff while listening along.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )