Now if only this meant *I* had more time.


I think I may push the start date of the Victorian book from 1870 to 1884, or thereabouts.

It all has to do with the Underground. Blackfriars station opened May 1870, and that was originally going to be the impending threat at the heart of this book. (Because of what it means for the Onyx Hall.) But I’m thinking that I may instead want to center the story around the completion of what became the Circle Line, when they connected Aldgate and Mansion House — partly because of the Cannon Street station (which might look significant to those who remember their Onyx Hall geography), and partly because it is a circle: an iron ring around and through the palace. That seems significant to me, even if it goes around a heck of a lot more than just the City of London.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean huge changes elsewhere in the story — not like it would if I moved, say, Ashes by fourteen years. Some social differences, yes, but the politics in this one are going to be much more internal to the cast, which means I can transplant them around the later Victorian period without too much trouble. (I hope.)

Now if only pushing it back fourteen years meant I got some extra time on my end.

0 Responses to “Now if only this meant *I* had more time.”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    I would back that. The Circle Line is Evil with a side order of Hellish. (I used to have to commute by it. It breaks down a lot.)

    • Marie Brennan

      Heh. Well, it’s a pretty damn old piece of engineering, even if they’ve obviously updated the trains and such since the early days; and this book talks about some of its particular oddities, like the place where its tracks and the District’s actually cross, so trains keep having to stop and let each other by. The decisions and limitations of the Victorians still have effects, a hundred and fifty years later . . . .

      • la_marquise_de_

        I heard the best station announcement ever on the circle line years ago: ‘We apologise for the delay to trains. This is caused by a peer of the realm on the line at Earl’s Court.’ Sad in many ways, but also irresistibly funny — some announcer had waited years to have a chance to say that.

  2. sartorias

    Wow that is fascinating–I never thought of the rings of story around when the Underground was built. I look forward to reading this book!

    • Marie Brennan

      Glad to hear it! This is literally the idea that created the book: rails of iron, and iron trains, running through the space that the Onyx Court immaterially occupies. It’s such a clear moment of the modern world arriving, and a crazy piece of engineering for the time; I hope I can convey the interesting-ness of it sufficiently well.

  3. ckd

    I like this idea.

  4. tak61

    Out of curiosity, what book are you using for your primary research on the history of the Underground? I’m working on a mystery set in London between 1865-1878 and think I should possibly read it.

    • Marie Brennan

      At the moment, Christian Wolmar’s The Subterranean Railway. I’m told there’s at least one factual error in the WWII information, but for a starting point, it’s very much what I needed.

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