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The Barbed Crown Q&A

William Dietrich authorQ: When we last saw Ethan, in The Emerald Storm, he vowed to hunt down and kill Napoleon Bonaparte. Is that the quest in The Barbed Crown?

A: For several pages. This is an Ethan Gage novel and the plot winds like a serpent. Not only does he land on the coast of France with a beautiful comtesse, he finds his wife – last seen carried off by a Caribbean hurricane – very much alive, and holding their son in her arms. Then things really get complicated. Grab the gunwale and hold onto your cocked hat.

Q: But Ethan is rich from a fabulous emerald, right?

A: Not to give anything away, but this book was written shortly after the Wall Street meltdown. You might want some tissues ready when Ethan meets his London financial advisers.

Q: Is Gage in pursuit of another relic, and does it have any basis in fact?

A: Well, our hero does have to commit religious sacrilege while stealing a relic from the Archbishop’s Palace next to Notre Dame Cathedral. And legend claims that Albertus Magnus, a medieval scholar, constructed an artificial man capable of foretelling the future, and that Saint Thomas Aquinas was so horrified by the evil of the invention that he destroyed it. Or did he?

Q: Whom is Gage working for in The Barbed Crown?

A: The British spy service. French royalists. Napoleon Bonaparte. Foreign Minister Talleyrand. Admiral Nelson. The French navy. I told you it was complicated.

Q: Does young Harry play a role?

A: Yes, he’s a brave lad, and his mother Astiza is a crucial link. As Gage remarks, the three of them make a peculiar family.

Q: You set The Emerald Storm in the Caribbean, and much of The Barbed Crown in Paris. This seems highly opportunistic.

A: You are beginning to discern why writing these novels appeals to me.

Q: What’s next for Ethan?

A: The Barbed Crown ends with bangs and thunder, but they are cliffhangers aplenty and threads still unstitched in what is a two-book story. The next will take Gage and family to central Europe where he fights at Austerlitz and is embroiled in the mysteries of Prague. Coming in 2014.

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