Regular readers will know that when I am writing frequently, a decent part of it gets on to here in some way, shape or form, so paying for a paperback or an ebook (or, waiting until I remember to make it free when I can) is basically nothing more than a gesture to remind me that it could be a job rather than a hobby. Having said that, I understand that sales drive more sales, so if anyone is feeling both generous and flush with cash, investing the relatively tiny amount in a Kindle eBook makes more difference than you might imagine. You can even read the book for nothing if you have that Kindle Library thing, and frankly I don't care about royalties but I would like more readers!
Anyway, for free, as always on the blog, here's an excerpt from what I'm currently working on in Book VI.
“Passage to Rome?” Thomas Gilbert looks from Guy Fletcher to James Longshawe and back again. “It’s him again, isn’t it? What has he done this time? Gone before the Pope and told him that God isn’t real?”
Fletcher smiles. “We need him.”
“Jesus Christ Almighty!” Gilbert sighs. “It must be something awful, then.”
“Politics.” Longshawe says, looking at Fletcher in a way that suggests the younger man is leading this negotiation, and the elder is following his lead.
Fletcher nods. “Politics.”
“Gentlemen,” Gilbert says, “it might be worth reminding you that there isn’t a thing goes on in this city that I don’t know about. Now before I allow you to bring Strelley back here, you will tell me what problem exactly you think he can solve. I would hate for him young Strelley to be fed his own balls by Our Lord and Master Northumberland for no good reason.”
Longshawe again looks to Fletcher, who nods slightly. Longshawe begins, “the King is not well. Perhaps he will not live out the year. He will not produce an heir of his own.”
“So I hear. But how,” Gilbert asks, with a sardonic smile, “Is Strelley going to solve that problem? Steal him a child to present as his own? Shave off his beard, dye his hair red and pretend to be the King?”
“We seek his wisdom. His counsel.” Fletcher almost doesn’t look at Gilbert, but he can see that the merchant is now smiling broadly, almost laughing. Fletcher, unperturbed, continues, “He will want his revenge on Northumberland. He at least can work against the Duke without breaking any oath of loyalty or damning his future should he fail.”
“He’s not going to kill him, is he?” Gilbert feigns shock. “I have almost grown fond of the miserable old bastard.”
“Gilbert,” Fletcher says, “Despite all of this,” he gestures at the merchant, indicating him and his conduct in this conversation, “we value your discretion. An Englishman heading off to Rome might attract the attention of the authorities. They might even conclude that the messenger is a secret papist, with a mission to the Bishop of Rome. That, as it stands right now, is not something to be caught doing.”
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought