A Much Arranged Marriage, or, Further Adventures With Tallis and Friends

Cover A much arranged marriageAs I said, I spent a little time reading over the long Christmas weekend, and one of the things I read was A Much Arranged Marriage, the newest book in The Port Naain Intelligencer series by Jim Webster. As usual, poet Tallis Steelyard and friends have become embroiled in a mystery, though this time in a rather less dramatic fashion than in Flotsam or Jetsam. But just because it didn’t start with a bang doesn’t mean it didn’t finish with one:

Benor is asked to help warn off a blackmailer who appears to be threatening a young girl’s chances of marriage. But the deeper he digs, the more dangerous things become.

It all starts with a request for help from Tallis Steelyard’s patron, Mistress Bellin Hanchkillian. She seeks to help the granddaughter of a childhood friend, but nothing about the situation is exactly what it seems. Once Tallis and Benor were on the job, I couldn’t stop reading – I had to know what would happen next. I read the whole book in one sitting, which is both good and bad. It’s great because it’s nice to read something a little shorter every now and then, but it also kind of stinks because I’m always left wanting more. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have to wait long between installments! 🙂

If you haven’t yet read A Much Arranged Marriage, what are you waiting for? It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it.

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My Southern Exposure

With me today is a poet of some renown, the inimitable Tallis Steelyard, to talk a bit about poetry and adventure. 🙂

Cover A much arranged marriageI am, of course, a poet. None the less I am not biased and recognise that there are other fields of artistic endeavour which might even be considered legitimate. That being said I have always had my doubts about novelists.

This reminisce was brought on by reading the obituary of old ‘Truly’ Gicken in last nights ‘Port Naain Intelligencer’. I honestly never knew his given name, everybody called him Truly, even his wife, because of the habit he had of starting his sentences with that word.

But I remember him in his prime. He was the younger brother of Ardwok Gicken, who ran Gicken’s Printers. Ardwok didn’t have an imaginative bone in his body, but no finer printer ever drew breath. Truly was almost the opposite, but in his own way he was touched by genius. It was he who came up with the idea of ‘The Port Naain Annual Poetry Yearbook.’

What he did was canvas all the poets, potential poets, would-be poets and ‘thought they could be poets if only they’d had the chance’ in Port Naain. For a not insignificant sum he would include their poem in the yearbook. Well for me five vintenars is a not insignificant sum, even now. My lady wife and I can still live well for a day on that sort of money. But of course he was selling them a piece of the dream, he was promising them ‘exposure’, making it possible for their genius to be recognised, and of course they fell for it.

Where he showed real genius was that he…