Politics and MASQUE…

I have a confession to make.

I don’t like politics. Don’t much like politicians, either.

In Real Life, that is.

In books, now, it’s a totally different matter. And when it comes to Yes Minister, I positively love politics. The reasonYes Minister for loving Yes Minister politics should be obvious (and if it’s not, go watch all the seasons NOW), but the reason for loving book politics is quite different. I love book politics (in reading) because I like to see other peoples’ ideas and how their worlds fit together.

I love book politics (in writing) because I’m a megalomaniac who needs to be in control of my own little paradigm. If I don’t like policies, I can simply change ’em. So easy! So refreshing!

All of this is by the way, really, to introduce my topic, which is Politics & MASQUE: or, Who’s Who In The Triumvirate, or Why Does Lacuna Hate Everybody?

There’s a lot of history, political and otherwise, before Isabella sweeps onto the stage in MASQUE. This is because although it was written first, the events in MASQUE actually happen after the events of SPINDLE, BLACKFOOT, and THE STAFF AND THE CROWN (of which only SPINDLE has yet been published). In that time, a lot has happened. Civet and Parras, once uneasy neighbours, have become the amalgamated nation of New Civet. This has transformed the Three Monarchy alliance of Broma, Glause, and Civet into the Two Monarchy alliance of Glause and Broma. New Civet’s system of governance has changed into a two-party majority government system of competing Wizard Councils, and the minority parties of Old Parrassians and Royalists.

masque-2000Governments rise and fall, as do monarchies.

In the years between the end of SPINDLE and the beginning of MASQUE, New Civet once more becomes a monarchy and allies itself again with Glause. Broma, on the other hand, sees the loss of its entire royal line in a violent attack by Lacuna, and the reins of government are taken up by Broma’s prime minister. By the time Isabella Farrah and her father are becoming known figures in Civet’s political circles, New Civet and Glause are making an effort to strengthen themselves against the threatening Lacunans on one side and the two sister nations of the Lacunan Triumvirate on the other.spindle-2000

As far as it goes, Glause is the country that has distinguished itself most by its solidarity. No coups, no open warfare, and no bloody history of death and destruction.

This could be said to be so because of the size of Glause: it is roughly twice the size of New Civet, three times the size of Broma, and much the same size as the Triumvirate combined. Those in the know, however, are perfectly convinced that Glause’s solid position is solely on account of Glause’s king. The king is much older than he looks, and he comes from a long line of clever, ruthless rulers who have not been afraid to serve their country in the swiftest, most merciless manner necessary.

Thus, when Isabella arrives in Glause as a part of New Civet’s entourage, her interests are many.

Most importantly, she has a military merger to negotiate; a merger whereby Glausian and Civetan soldiers will train side by side alternately in Glause and Civet due to significant differences in conditions. In addition to that is her usual interest in forming connections, her interest in the King of Glause–not to mention her interest in why he is interested in her–and her interest in Glause’s tenuous ties with the Triumvirate.

Then, of course, there is the small matter of a murder to solve…

And all of this is reckoning without Black Velvet. However, since most of my characters aren’t exactly sure who, what, or where Black Velvet is either, we can be excused from delving too deeply into the matter.

Well, that’s it from me today. As always this month, don’t forget to enter the MASQUE 1st Birthday Bash!

Click here to view this promotion.

Also, feel free to message, comment, email or tweet me any questions you may have about MASQUE and Isabella: there’s still half a month left of MASQUE stories, posts, and giveaways…

6 Replies to “Politics and MASQUE…”

  1. Did you by chance make a map of your world?

    Tolkien made a great map of Middle Earth. C.S. Lewis didn’t make a map of Narnia, and one never really feels like you know the geography particularly well; I’m not certain there aren’t some inconsistencies. Arthur Ransome (the Swallows and Amazons series) made some good maps too; there’s a quote from him somewhere saying that you should always start with a map, because if you try to do if after you’ve started writing things may be already muddled.

    Even if you don’t have a map that’s an outstanding piece of artwork, it can help keep the geography clear in your own head so you don’t contradict yourself when discussing things like distances/travel times between different places, etc., and it can always be cleaned up and artistified later.

    Having a map to look at could also help influence your story; if you put a big mountain range on the border between two countries, that will impact the way the countries interact (for example, it’s that much harder to move an invading army and its supply train across those mountains, so they’re not as likely to fight as two countries on a flat plain).

    Besides, a well-done map just looks good!

    1. I have a VERY rough map that I drew years ago: I’m still planning on doing a proper job of it, though. I know where the countries are in relation to each other (and the sea, and the desert) and what kind of geography separates them (or doesn’t, for that matter 😀 ). The Old Parras half of New Civet, for example, is quite high in the mountains and culminates in an icy drop almost straight down into Broma in the west. The Old Civet end finishes by the sea and has a much warmer climate. The entire northern border curves along the sea, low at the east but rising in cliffs (think the white cliffs of Dover) very quickly so most of New Civet is quite high above sea level, and mostly a cold climate. The southern border is met by two of the sister states of Lacuna’s triumvirate in a mountainous, hilly, foresty sort of territory that gets progressively hotter and muggier as is loses altitude toward Lacuna. And then, further west along the southern border both Lacuna and New Civet meet up with Glause, which is very green, fertile, and hot. From there, Glause’s west border is half Broma and half unknown (desert scrub, mostly). I have literally no idea what is south of Glause, though 😀

      I really should get to work on that map again….

  2. This series does sound interesting. The snippets I’ve seen make it sound like it has perhaps a somewhat similar feel to parts of the Hundred Cupboards series, except perhaps not as dark.

    I do like politics (except real-world politics, which has too much riding on it and mostly consists of determining which crook you distrust least…). Growing up, we had our own imaginary country, with a newspaper (and later, two), a Parliament, an Only Minister (instead of a Prime Minister, since we only had one), a well-developed economy (I wrote the computer program to handle that, with about 25,000 lines of code, if I remember right), a football league (which eventually became computerized as well)… The total population was just over 5,000 at last count; 1,400 of them are in my place (we each have our own place).

    I also enjoy the board game Diplomacy; set in pre-WWI Europe, you take one of seven Great Powers and try to conquer Europe, but without the military power to beat everyone else single-handedly, you must negotiate and work together with other players – who are also trying to win. For every campaign phase, everyone writes down all their orders, and then they are all read and processed at once, so it’s always interesting to see England’s reaction when they discover that Germany relied on English support in their invasion of France, while simultaneously coordinating with Russia to backstab them in the north… and yet, you can’t create a reputation for yourself as an unreliable ally, or nobody will trust you.

    1. Oooh, that sounds fun! It probably says nothing good about me that my two favourite boardgames (so far) are Monopoly and AnkMorpork 😀 I usually win both, so it’s a pleasure that way, but it’s also fun trying to win a game that you have to bluff your way through. I’ve yet to try poker, but maybe I’ll like that just as well…

      (People don’t often play Monopoly with me any more. Can’t think why!)

      1. The problem with Diplomacy is that it can take a long time to play, and rounding up a group of seven people can be difficult. There is a website to play it online, though, and that can sometimes be more practical than trying to play it over the course of a day or two. The problem with playing it online, though, is that you don’t have fun and games with people listening behind doors to try to snoop on someone else’s negotiation… 😀 You also don’t know who is spending a lot of time talking with whom, which can also be a useful source of information (or, occasionally, disinformation!).

        We like Monopoly. We sometimes play it with two boards (one American and one French), and when you pass Go on one board, you move onto the other board and have to conduct transactions in the local currency. Having two boards means there’s enough property to go around when you have a lot of people (important in a large family!), but it means property trades can be rather complex and potentially have to involve a large number of people.

        I’ve never heard of AnkMorpork. Looks like it helps to know the book series it’s based on.

        We also like Settlers of Catan.

        1. Okay, Diplomacy is really sounding like a game I’d enjoy! Unfortunately, I don’t have enough like-minded family members to play a game with that many players…

          And as for that form of Monopoly–wow! That sounds insanely fun 😀

          AnkMorpork, now: it’s based on the Terry Pratchett Discworld books. Basically it’s subversive Monopoly. You’re working to complete your objective while trying to mislead your opponents as to what your objective actually is, while also trying to guess and sabotage your opponents’ objectives, while THEY’RE trying to mislead you…etc…

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