Today, exclusively in cyberspace, Caroline and Jude Knight tell a story in which two of their characters meet. Half is on Caroline’s blog, and half on Jude’s. If you missed PART 1 it is here. In the virtual worlds of historical fiction, authors create whole societies of characters, interacting with real historical events and even real people. But each virtual world sits alone, never touching the worlds of other authors. Until now.
The Bluestocking Belles, as part of the launch of our new website for historical romance readers, created a magical coaching inn—fittingly called ‘The Crock and Bull’—a place for characters to meet from all of our books’ worlds and those of our guests.
Caroline Warfield and Jude Knight soon discovered the two of their characters had worked together in the past.
David Wakefield is the baseborn son of the Duke of Haverford. He earns his living as an enquiry agent. (Encouraging Prudence, work in progress to be published in September 2015)
Richard Hayden, The Marquis of Glenaire, is heir to the Duke of Sudbury. He is also Castlereagh’s protege, spymaster, diplomat, and fixer (Dangerous Weakness, work in progress for Winter 2015)
The year is 1807.
The Marquis of Glenaire and David Wakefield, enquiry agent, are trailing a French spy through the streets of London.
To find out why, see PART 1.
Glenaire is impressed with what he has seen so far. Despite Tolliver’s assurances that Wakefield was to be trusted, the man’s profession and his questionable birth made Glenaire wary.
The Delicate Investigation would fade into insignificance if his worse fears were realized.
And then there was the personal matter. He couldn’t allow his concern for his missing friend, Andrew Mallet, to stop him from discovering who the traitor was. But when he had that information, he and the French spy would be holding a little chat. He had to find Andrew before the French dismembered him in one of their ghastly prisons.
Wakefield is quick. He had insisted on knowing who they were following and why.
“We believe this man is to meet with… a personage,” Glenaire tells him.
“Political, military, or royal?” Wakefield asks.
Impressive. Wakefield has hit on the exact problem. The answer is, unfortunately, all three.
“And will you disclose the name of the personage?”
“Not at this point. But you will know the personage if the assignation is kept.” Glenaire feels more of an explanation is needed. “I’m sorry, Wakefield. But I have been instructed not to disclose the name in case we are wrong.” Glenaire will disobey instructions that he considers to be stupid. But not when they come from this source.
Their quarry uses a dozen tricks to lose anyone who might be following; doubling back on his tracks, entering shops by one entrance and exiting by another, plunging into crowds, hurrying and then dawdling, stopping and looking back, ducking into doorways and coming out wearing a different coat and hat. David seemed to anticipate them all, making sure that either he or Glenaire could keep the man in sight at all times, while staying hidden themselves.
At last, the French spy enters a coffee house, and settles at a table.
From across the road, they can see him waiting. Glenaire shifts impatiently. “You can’t go in, Glenaire,” Wakefield warns. “Your personage will know you. Will he know me?”
Glenaire shakes his head.
The wait seems hours but can’t be more than ten minutes. The man the spy is waiting for arrives, his face hidden by his hat and a scarf. He keeps them on even at the table, where he and the French spy begin a vigorous conversation. Glenaire hopes David is close enough to work out the traitor’s identity.
Another interminable wait.
Finally, the conversation ends and the traitor leaves, followed shortly by the French spy. Wakefield and Glenaire find another coffee shop where they could have their discussion.
“Not the… ‘personage’,” David reports. “I recognized the man, though. You’re looking for his equerry.
Glenaire should be shocked. The man comes from one of the finest families in the land. But not, praise be, the royal family. On the whole, Glenaire is relieved. He can now clean out his office, and arrest and question the French spy to find where to begin the search for his friend.