Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PoNS 4 : Heart of Oak update

I don't mean to tease you, I really don't. PoNS 4 : Heart of Oak is coming sort of soon in paperback. I continue to be plagued by ill health, so progress is slow, but it is happening. I am currently working on the third (polishing) draft, after which it will need one more draft of fine tuning / proofreading, then book layout, proofs ordered, corrections, made, second proof ordered, and assuming all is well, go to print.

I expect PoNS 4 to appear in print this summer. The sooner the better as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately, being too ill to sail also means being too ill to do much of anything. My insurance runs out in September and I don't have a diagnosis, so I must concentrating on pushing for as much testing and consultation as I can get before this barky is wrecked on the reefs of the American healthcare system. Obamacare cannot arrive fast enough as far as I'm concerned.

The cover of PoNS 4 will continue the tradition of using classic works of art. This time the cover will be 'Le Chasseur' by one of Frances' most famous artists, Théodore Géricault (26 September 1791 – 26 January 1824). You can see an image here: Géricault may be most famous for 'The Raft of the Medusa,' in which he depicts the horrors after the Medusa was wrecked and her passengers abandoned by the crew and officers, but he began his early career as a painter of cavalry officers. 'Le Chasseur' is the portrait that brought him fame.

Pirates of the Narrow Seas takes place in the middle of the 18th century, so the uniform is anachronistic, but when you're a small press with a budget only slightly larger than zero, custom art is out of the question. Hussars (light horsemen) with spectacular uniforms date back to the 1500s in Hungary and were in use throughout central Europe and were being adopted sporadically in western Europe during the 18th century; England was one of the last countries to adopt them (early 1800s). The hussar uniform with its ladders of gold braid on the chest was inspired by the Turkish uniform and became de rigeur for armies throughout the 19th century. The last hussars / light horsemen saw service during WWII.

Turkish military band music was spreading through Europe at the same time; the clarinet, cymbal, and kettledrum were all Turkish inventions, as was the very concept of a military band. Not surprisingly, the pomp of the military band accompanied the spread of the spectacularly uniformed light horsemen, and all military bands today are their direct descendants. If your high school still uses the old-fashioned band uniforms with a long-sleeved, short-waisted wool tunic, matching trousers, decorated with (fake) gold braid, topped off with an imitation bearskin, you too are the heir this Turkish/European tradition.

The light horseman cover is in honor of one of the supporting characters in the novel, Colonel Jan Karolyi, commander of the bodyguard for Count Orsini, the ambassador from the Kingdom of Hungary to Portugal. Although he is only one of several supporting characters in the story, he is the only one for whom I could find a suitable classic work of art in colors that went handsomely with the established color scheme for the novels. The fact that he has a leopard skin saddle cover is bonus.

No spoilers, so I won't tell you what Colonel Karolyi gets up to, but I will tell you a story about French chasseurs. It is said that when they arrived in town, the populace started running: the men away from them, and the women toward them. Colonel Karolyi lives up to the light horsemen's reputation.

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