Sunday, April 01, 2007

Against the Blog: 4-4

Hoo boy. So I just finished the novel--now let's see if I can plow through four hundred more pages' worth of blogging. Of course, it wasn't supposed to be like this--the whole initial idea was to provide impressions as I read. I think that idea was probably doomed from the start, however. Ah well--onward and upward! I think the book's final sections (not that we're quite there yet) may be its best.

So okay. Reorient. Kit is heading west to Asia to find Auberon Halfcourt--who, it turns out, was never actually lost but is living like a lord (dig the alliteration!) in Kashgar. He has a Russian counterpart, Colonel Yevgeny Prokladka, just across the way, enjoying a similar lifestyle.

The main concern here and now is an allegedly-man prophet known only as "the Doosra," operating somewhere to the north and causing trouble. Disrupting trade routes and whatnot. A messenger comes bearing a message from him. His name is "Al Mar-Fuad." He's wearing "English hunting tweeds and a deerstalker cap turned sideways," and he pronounces R sounds as W's. Geddit? El Oh El.

Anyway, the Doosra's message is simple: the city must be surrendered to him.

A brief flashback to when Auberon purchased Yashmeen from the slave market. His initial attraction to her was not entirely paternal, but he seems to have gotten over this.

A Lieutenant Dwight Prance, formerly "a scholar of geography and languages at Cambridge," is in residence out here as well. Geopolitics are discussed. I have to admit, most of this sort of went over my head, and I don't think it ultimately impacts the story that much. Though I might be wrong.

Auberon, having "decided to resurrect a long-shelved plan to project a mission eastward to establish relations with the Tungus living east of the Yenisei," asks Kit to undertake this delightful mission. What the hell, he thinks. Maybe this is what I'm meant to be doing. Prance is to accompany him.

The next day: the Doosra shows up, "younger than Kit had imagined and lack[ing] gravitas." He informs our heroes that he is, in fact, only a subordinate, and that they should talk to his master, up north. He sends a fellow named Hassan to help Kit and Prance out.




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