Prophecies and Penalties Chapter 18, and a short vacation

Emily Fisher’s investigation of the murder of High Council member Stephen Nash has taken a giant leap forward, which makes her happy. On the other hand, that leap implicates her sister Elsie, and Elsie’s lover, the so-called Prophesied One, Alex Bancroft, and that makes Emily decidedly less happy.

So when the two sisters sit down to lunch after Elsie’s interrogation by Quasopon’s police chief, Emily’s expecting some nice quiet time with her sister, a chance to recover after the strains of the last 24 hours. And that’s what she gets . . . until Elsie throws her a curve that upsets the entire investigation again. Join Emily as she discovers one of the mysteries of the Children’s lands in “All things rest connected by hidden knots,” chapter 18 of Prophecies and Penalties.

The title for this week’s chapter is taken from an alchemical drawing featured in Principe’s book The Secrets of Alchemy. It seemed particularly apropos.

By the time you read this, I should have returned from a brief vacation in upstate New York and southern Vermont. We’ve been staying with friends who have two dogs the size of small bears, and three cats of distinctly different breeds and characters, one of which is trying to rival the dogs in size. (He’s thought to be part Maine Coon Cat.) The trip included an excursion with literary connections to previous posts in this blog. One of our hosts looked over the blog, and the next day dropped three hardcover books by Russell Kirk (two of ghost stories, one the novel about Manfred Arcane) into my lap. While yet another person who finds Kirk’s politics intrusive, he did express an admiration for the man’s stories, specifically including “The Reflex-Man in Whinnymuir Close” as one of his better ones.

That's a statue of Vermont military leader Seth Warner erected in front of the Bennington obelisk (Credit: Wikipedia)

That’s a statue of Vermont military leader Seth Warner erected in front of the Bennington obelisk
(Credit: Wikipedia)

One the same day, we traveled through Bennington, Vermont. Bennington is probably best known for the Revolutionary War battle that helped doom an invading British army, commemorated by a particularly phallic-looking obelisk. Part of our quest was to go see Bennington College, which probably does not wish to be remembered as the model for the campus figuring in Shirley Jackson’s Hangsaman. And along the way we stopped to see the place where she lived for a while nearby, and the small green in front which we are told served as the model for the infamous setting of her short story, “The Lottery.”

The Quasopon of Prophecies and Penalties is on the eastern side of the Green Mountains, so we did not travel to its (fictional) location. Still, as always, the sight of the mountains and the small villages of the region help support my vision of the town and its setting.

About Brian Bixby

I enjoy history because it helps me understand people. I'm writing fiction for much the same reason.
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10 Responses to Prophecies and Penalties Chapter 18, and a short vacation

  1. crimsonprose says:

    Sounds like a relaxing yet ‘educational’ vacation. And I expect, as with enjoyable vacations, you didn’t want it to end, nor yet to come back. But I’m glad that you did.

  2. Judy says:

    I presume one of the three was ‘A Creature of the Twilight”? I’ll be interested what you think as I had trouble getting into that one and stopped. Maybe a mood thing. Loved ‘Old House of Fear”…was that one?

    • Brian Bixby says:

      Two were volumes of ghost stories, all of which I’d already read, thanks to you 🙂
      while the third was “Creature,” and I couldn’t get far in it either. I could see what he was trying to do, and it was clever, his use of different voices, but couldn’t carry the story.

      • Judy says:

        Kirk seems a complex individual on so many levels and most assuredly had me in the zone with his ghost stories!

        Have I ever asked if you are a Dean Koontz fan?

        • Brian Bixby says:

          No, you haven’t.
          .
          .
          .
          Now, I’m not so mean as to leave you with just that. I have read perhaps two of his novels, one of which was “Demon Seed,” and that because of the movie, which I may or may not have seen. What little I’ve read hasn’t affected me either way.

          • Judy says:

            Well, I do like him…has many good tales. The first book of his I ever read was “Brother Odd.” (It was in my mother’s closet of read or don’t like books. I love that closet!) I remember initially being amused by his use of simile and metaphor, then I thought it was too cute and too much. But, before the book was finished I swung back to being charmed. I find him to be a fine, modern story teller with an interesting use of language. His penchant for comparisons is interesting to me because he will compare things I would never have thought of…and yet ends up with a very apt and perfect visual.

            I’ve not read Demon Seed and I’d have to think about my favourite titles. Lately things flow through my hands so quickly that I forget the titles where I stopped for awhile.

            • Brian Bixby says:

              Now there’s a blog article to consider: what we read thanks to our parents! Perhaps that’s tomorrow’s piece. Thanks for the idea, Judy!

              • Judy says:

                Oh yeah, that would be good. I think we all would have input on that subject too!! Hmm wonder what direction your parents sent you onto via the books?

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