We’re having some work done on our house at the moment. I mention this only because it’s created an environment least conducive to focused writing. It’s why I’m glad that I have a consistent but realistic writing goal each week, as it flexes quite nicely with this kind of upheaval.

This chapter is doing some heavy lifting in terms of layout in the stakes and situation of what’s going on inside Bruckin. We get to see Stryke stepping up again and asserting himself in a situation he wouldn’t have dreamt about a few months back: it’s a far cry from quietly living out the rest of his days doing the ice run.

This also gives us a bit of an insight into Bruckin’s political workings. Previously we’ve mostly dealt only with the Lief brothers, but here we get to meet some other important figures – including the return of Lord Halderman, whom we glimpsed at the end of Arc 5. The structure of Bruckin is quite different to that of Treydolain and the King’s court. Bruckin stands on ceremony far less, and people are freer to speak their minds without fear of reprisal. Which isn’t to say that it’s the model of perfection – that doesn’t really exist in the book. Bruckin is still a stratified society in other ways, even while they pride themselves on being ‘different’.

We finish with the unexpected attack on the council room, which hopefully feels like it comes from nowhere. It’s the intrusion into what is otherwise considered a safe space that makes it so unsettling: it doesn’t matter how high Lief’s tower is, he’s just as much under threat from the Treydolain forces as anyone down in the streets.

And as a fun aside, the Bruckin police chief Balda Gare’s name is derived from another security chief – Michael Garibaldi, from Babylon 5. Because, why not? Balda Gare, Gare Balda, Garibaldi.

I have to find my fun somewhere, right?


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