Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘So terrible was Her anger that Robert Dudley’s name was not even to be mentioned, and no one dared defy Her or support him.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: Depressing as Lord Richard’s history is, I can’t help but feel that being ousted from court might’ve actually done him a few favours in the long term. He seems like a gentle, genuine soul, at complete odds with the snide and prancing Thomas Herrick. The impression that I get is that he never really liked court life, but was mainly involved for the sake of Robert Dudley. In this instance, I don’t see Lord Richard’s returning to court as a positive change in his fortunes, but rather as a gilded curse that will leave him worse off than when he was first exiled.
Though this chapter is quite raucously joyful, with horse racing and hunts afoot, there are definitely a few thunderclouds of plot development on the horizon. Here’s hoping our young protagonists can weather the storm.
Matt’s Thoughts: So now we have our back story on the Richard Wutton exile. I’m not sure if it will be addressed in the book, but what has happened to fertility and social progress with the extended longevity of the Beatified Realm?
Bear with me here …we know everyone has been up there for 150+ years and, unless something bad happens like getting trampled by a mechanical horse, their biological age seems to be relatively unchanged. In other words, the Dritchlys and Richard Wutton were always older, and Elizabeth I has remained middle-aged.
But have people stopped having children? I thought I read somewhere that the young apprentices don’t remember the old England. So were they born on the floating island? If so, how long does it take you to get from being a baby to being a young adult? Does each stage of life last longer?
Furthermore, why has the culture remained so Elizabethan? Surely, you would expect politics, technology and fashion to have improved over that length of time. In short, there’s a slightly unsettling staticness about this world. Part of this, of course, is that we simply don’t know much more at this stage about the special ambassadors and their plans. What was the point of setting all this up? Presumably, if they went to all this effort to preserve some sort of human life in space, they had a plan.
I’m definitely hooked!
Meanwhile, on the action side of things, this boar hunt would be fun, except that I’m getting exceptionally worried about Suet…