The Emerald Storm Q&A
A: Our hero is perfectly ready to settle down, except that ambition, vanity, greed and treachery gets in his way.
Q: Fortress de Joux sounds forbidding. Why would Napoleon put a black hero, Touissant L’Ouverture, there?
A: This castle, which can be visited today, was the Napoleonic Alcatraz, one of the worst places to be imprisoned and particularly harsh for a captive from the tropics, given its alpine locale. But Napoleon wanted to return slavery to Haiti, and hoped imprisoning the black leader would accomplish it. Instead, it made the slave revolt worse.
Q: The Caribbean must have been a nice place to do research.
A: Somebody has to do it. It WAS nice, of course, but the islands we think of as paradise today were considered hellish then: hot, diseased, and thronged with insects. I had to imagine the setting from a very different perspective.
Q: Did the Aztecs really have flying machines?
A: No one saw them flying, but golden artifacts have been found that look oddly like airplanes. Perhaps they were representations of gods or animals or perhaps, as some have speculated, they are memories of ancient astronauts. There are also some pre-Columbian reliefs that resemble a helmeted astronaut.
Q: Is there really a treasure of Montezuma?
A: You can go look for it. The story is that the original Spanish hoard captured at Lake Tenochtitlan was lost in desperate fighting. One theory is that the Spanish eventually recovered it and shipped it to Spain, but it was lost in a shipwreck. Another is that the Indians carried it north to today’s American Southwest and secreted it for safekeeping. People have been searching ever since.
Q: What comes next for Ethan?
A: The end of ‘The Emerald Storm’ gives him a grim new mission. The next book in the series, scheduled for 2013, will explain how that plays out.