Alan wrote:Well, I for one look forward to seeing it. Since (obviously) we'll get no more "Modern Musketeer" black magic books, this will be very much a consolation. And I personally feel it's very much on topic for a black magic tale obviously influenced by DW to be discussed here in the library.
I sometimes think it's a shame that DW was never as popular as Ian Fleming (although we shouldn't forget that Gregory Sallust was one of the inspirations for James Bond), otherwise, there might be a burgeoning market for Sallust, Roger Brook and Duke de Richlieu novels, just like you get all those Bond re-boots by various authors, sanctioned by, probably encouraged by the Fleming estate.
So with that in mind, I'd like to propose a sort of loose sequel to "The Devil Rides Out", set about thirty years after the original, and located almost exclusively at Cardinals Folly. It would take place in the 1960s, right after the characters get back from Ceylon in "Dangerous Inheritance". The Duke, infirm of body, but with his mind as sharp as ever, is spending his final days at Cardinal's Folly, being cared for by Richard and Marie-Lou, when Rex and Simon arrive at the house for an extended stay. One would also bring in the younger generation - Fleur Eaton and whatever Rex's son was called (name escapes me), and maybe Simon's bride from "Gateway to Hell" who's strangely absent from "Dangerous Inheritance", probably because DW hadn't conceived that character when he wrote the earlier book. So the essential set-up would be an extended house party at Cardinal's Folly, and you could just run with that alone for a while - a bit like the Tintin book, "The Castifiore Emerald", where the characters just hang out at Marlinspike Hall for the summer, and nothing really happens. Anyway, you then ramp up the action by having the offspring of Mocata arrive on the scene, out for revenge, following the thwarting of his father's satanic plot, thirty years previously. Good opportunity here to educate the younger musketeers in the perils of the left-hand path, just as the Duke educated Rex, all those years ago. And of course everything would then culminate in the mother of all pentagram scenes.
Picture the preamble to this:
The Duke, his grey eyes as piercing as ever, even when sunk within his gaunt and exhausted features, surveyed his compatriots, who were standing anxiously at the foot of his bed.
"My friends," he said, slowly but deliberately, "It would appear that we have been called upon to undertake one final battle. This will be my last ever mission against the forces of darkness. Mocata is gathering his acolytes, as we speak, and preparing to assault us with every foul weapon in his arsenal; an unleashing of pure evil, the like of which the world has never seen. And so it falls to us, once again, to save mankind. Tonight, we return to the library."
Sort of works. I'd read it!