In anticipation of my upcoming novel To Rule the Skies, I present its Anteprologue, a little teaser which takes place immediately prior to the beginning of the novel, and introduces a few important characters and a bit of the world in which the novel takes place. Enjoy!
Professor Boffin turned from his conversation as Lord Clarendon entered the room. He had expected Clarendon to attend the retirement dinner for the Captain, but he had not expected the person who followed him.
“Elizabeth!” he exclaimed, ignoring his benefactor and father-in-law altogether as he rushed to his wife. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you before you flew off. Father says that Flamel is to depart in the next couple of days.”
Boffin looked quizzically at Clarendon. “Is this true, sir? I’ve heard nothing of new orders.”
“I apologize, Nicodemus. I heard of it just before leaving Newton Hall this afternoon. I’m afraid all the details have not coalesced as yet. I am still waiting to receive the details from the Admiralty. Anyway, when I mentioned it to Elizabeth, she insisted upon accompanying me here to Croydon.”
Although Professor Nicodemus Boffin was the Expedition Commander of Her Majesty’s Research Airship Flamel, it seemed to him sometimes that he was the last to hear when Flamel was ordered on what was termed “extraordinary assignments” for the Government. And Boffin did not like the feeling of his position being ignored and disrespected. His wife saw the irritated look on his face and took him aside.
“Nicodemus, do not worry about what orders you may be receiving.”
“Why? Why am I the last to know? Do they not respect me at all?”
“Let tonight be an enjoyable time. For the captain.”
Boffin’s troubled visage softened. He could not resist his wife’s combination of logic and honest sentiment. He looked at her face, turned up to his with one eyebrow raised hopefully.
“Yes, of course, dear. Tonight is in celebration of the captain. I shall not let what may come tomorrow interfere with the festivities. But I do have some matters that I must discuss with your father before dinner.” Continue reading