Saturday, August 11, 2018

An Interview with a Pirate


Enjoy Helen Hollick's Interview with Vergil,
a Supporting Character from the 5-Volume
“Legends of the Winged Scarab” Historical Fiction Series
by Inge H. Borg



Helen: Hello, I believe you appear in several of Inge H. Borg’s Legends of the Winged Scarab novels? Would you like to introduce yourself?

Vergil: I am Vergil, with an e. That’s how my Puerto Rican mother spelled it.
I am a relative late-comer to Borg’s Legends, appearing in Books 4 and 5, The Crystal Curse and The Nile Conspiracy.
 


Helen: What role do you play in the novels?

Vergil: I turn into a rather important character due to my special skills acquired while plying the Southern Atlantic in search of ships. It’s how I wound up in that stinking Venezuelan prison on Margarita Island. Twenty-five years, I got for what the crappy Caracas court called ‘Piracy on the high seas.’ (I am sure, Interviewer, you are familiar with the term as you seem to have a soft spot for those engaged in the trade.)

Helen: No spoilers. But are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? Or maybe you are both?

Vergil: Depends who you ask, doesn’t it. I think I am rather good. Especially at what I do. Well, getting caught was bad luck.

Helen: So you support the lead character? Who is he or she and tell us a little bit about him or her?

Vergil: I wouldn’t exactly say I am supporting the lead characters, high-minded archaeologists Naunet and Jonathan Wilkins, trying to save those silly Ancient Egyptian golden tablets from obsessed people like my new boss Lorenzo.

Rather, in The Crystal Curse, I support Lorenzo Dominguez, the South American billionaire and art collector; a bit of a pirate himself, to put it mildly. After he sprung me and some of my murderous buddies from jail, he made me guard his “guests” on board the Bucanero.

Helen: Now be honest – what do you really think of this lead character!

Vergil: You are talking about that Boston boy, Jonathan? He’s always wondering if I only speak Spanish, or if I understand English as he and his exotic-looking wife are plotting their escape from Lorenzo. He keeps poking me in the chest, and in his broad ‘haavaad-yaad’ accent tests me with things like, ‘Your mother’s a whore.’
But I am smart [taps the side of his nose with his finger]. I keep my cool. Although, one day, pretty-boy …

As to Lorenzo? He thinks I am beholden to him, poor bugger. He plum forgets he owns a ship. From the outside, the Bucanero may look like a wreck, but inside, she’s a palace. Very tempting, that’s all I can say.

Helen: Do you like being the ‘supporting role’ or do you wish you could have a lead part in a book of your own?

Vergil: Naw. I am kept plenty busy, especially in The Nile Conspiracy. Did I tell you I am very handy with weapons? Balancing on the skid of a helo trying to shoot off a rocket launcher takes nerves of steel—and the prospect of a juicy prize.

Helen: What is one of your least favourite scenes?

Vergil: Remember, I’d been in prison for some time. So, I suggested to Jonathan I would appreciate a little romp with his lovely wife Naunet. The ungrateful sod slams a steel door in my face. I can tell you, I really had to hold on to my pistol (no pun intended).

Helen: And your most favourite?
I have a real good chance of getting my hands on a super ultra-modern yacht, the A&N. She belonged to a shady Russian billionaire (aren’t they all, shady I mean). This yacht was confiscated by the Egyptian president for his own use. He renamed her the Khamsin. As I said, I may have a real good chance …

Helen: Thank you – that was really interesting – I look forward to meeting you again in ‘your’ novels!

Vergil: El gusto es mio, SeƱora Interviewer. Now, shall we adjourn to the Bucanero’s salon for coffee and cognac? The old ghost ship may look decrepit from the outside - on purpose. But inside, she's fitted out like a palace.
The ship's owner liberated me from a nasty Venezuelan prison - and thinks I have reformed. But you know how it is: Once a pirate, always a pirate. 

Quickly now, before the owner returns from his search for desperate art dealers to "sell" him their treasures. 

* * *
 Helen Hollick is presently doing a PIRATICAL Blog Tour with prominent authors and their fascination with those more or less lovable rogues of the sea.

Check out dates and links at:
https://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Nile – Its Fertile Past and Its Imperiled Future

I was pleased and honored when I was asked to be a guest author and write an article for http://www.ancient-origins.net due to my historical fiction novel, Khamsin, the Devil Wind of The Nile.

Well, everything my research about pre-pharaonic times was in my head had obviously been already written by someone else, mostly noted archaeologists and other renown Egyptologists. What could I possibly add?

Then it hit me: Something about The Nile. The topic is especially close to me (as it must be to millions of those living along this great river), as Book 5 of my Legends of the Winged Scarab series - The Nile Conspiracy deals with the great concern over water distribution to Egypt and the Sudan from the Blue Nile springing from the Ethiopian Highlands.


From their extensive files, AO had added some great imagery
such as this one to my article.)

 Hapi, shown as an iconographic pair of 
genii symbolically tying together 
upper and lower Egypt. 


You can read the article itself here.

I also urge you to take a look at the other informative material published by Ancient Origins.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Supervolcano On The Verge


Writers are excited when some stuff in the fiction they write comes true and alive. Let’s hope this one doesn’t; because the beast that would rear its deadly head here is Yellowstone, the Supervolcano.

In After the Cataclysm, my fictional protagonists struggle to survive a decimated North American continent after the vast caldron of Yellowstone has blown its top. Makes for an exciting story.


Long foretold, the threat, alas, is all too real in our time. Just as with the threat from outer space, scientists, however, are working hard on how to save us from extinction; which is funny (well, not really at all) because on the other hand, the minds of little people plot annihilation.

I just came across this article in Mach/Environment:
Scientists Hatch Bold Plan to save Planet from Supervolcano,
by Kate Baggaley.

 
 Aerial view, Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Peter Adams / 
Getty Images

Not to scare you, but it’s worth reading.
Worth reading–for entertainment value and to remind ourselves that “it could happen”- I hope is After the Cataclysm. Please, check it out.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

My Review of "Lucia’s Renaissance" by C. L. R. Peterson



Inquisition, Pestilence during the Italian Renaissance
 


For most of us, the word Inquisition conjures up Medieval Spain and Portugal. However, during the waning decades of the Italian Renaissance and after the pope had returned to Rome, Catholic zeal to combat the Reformation of Martin Luther struck terror for enlightened Italians. Many of them died under the torture from the Grand Inquisitor and his zealot henchmen.

The author begins the story of young Lucia Locatelli and her family in 1571 in Verona. An extremely bright child, Lucia discovers Martin Luther’s hidden doctrines in her father’s study. Fired up by her thirst for learning and unfettered young idealism, her fervor sends her family on a terror-stricken path. Her physician father is branded a heretic and imprisoned. To atone, he is sent to the pestilence-ridden Venice. Eventually, Lucia follows him there in hopes of a new beginning.

Lucia’s Renaissance is told in first-person from the few main protagonists. A relatively easy read, the novel’s subject is nevertheless terrifying, and I kept reading in hopes of a better outcome for the Locatellis. Wisely, the author did not romanticize those terrible times when a careless word could spell death.

This is a debut novel for C. L. R. Peterson.

With the annotation about her extensive research, hopefully she will continue writing and pen a more intricate tapestry of those times. I did find the extremely large dropped caps irritating on my Kindle. I was surprised that the one German sentence was mangled. A quick Google search would have given her the perfect “Wer sind Sie?”
Other than that, the book was perfectly edited.



https://www.amazon.com/C.L.R.-Peterson


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Her Mystery Still Unsolved ...


Just as you should Google yourself (and your books) occasionally, I did this for the mysteriously vanished Russian Ghost Ship, the MV Lyubov Orlova, which I had instilled with new life in Books 3 – 5 of my Legends of the Winged Scarab series.
Dated November 19th, 2017, an article by Paul Harper appeared in the UK paper The Sun. (Curiously enough, I can't find any such headline in a US paper).
 Image: Science Channel/WhatOnEarth
The ship has been missing for four years after being released out to sea, when on its way to be scrapped in the Dominican Republic the towline snapped and she was set adrift (a bit irresponsible, if you ask me).

Remains of Russian ghost vessel wash up after it was invaded by hordes of cannibal RATS. Scientists believed wreckage that washed up on a Californian beach may have been the mysterious MV Lyubov Orlova.”
 

 Image: Science Channel/WhatOnEarth
And, yes, “my” ghost ship does feature cannibal rats (with some dire consequences) ...
To my disappointment (but also firing this writer’s imagination for another story perhaps), the article concedes at the end that this is not the Lyubov Orlova, but rather a vessel which was a former floating casino run by The Mob and called the SS Monte Carlo.
 As long as the ghost ship's whereabouts remain a mystery, this is good news for my books.


 My renamed Bucanero II (with its convenient home port of Caracas) can now sail on with unimpeded impunity under the ownership of all-around smuggler and modern-day buccaneer Lorenzo Dominguez.