Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Blood of the Stone Prince - a Medieval "hipster" novel

Greetings, all saints!
Exciting news for those who have been following the series of blogs on 15th century bishops, ecclesiastic composers and architects. Blood of the Stone Prince is here, courtesy of Crossroad Press (thank you for continuing to believe in my work). This novel - 23 years in the making, no less - is the fictionalized product of the themes I touched upon in my posts earlier this summer. No, this isn't a typo. It took me 23 years to complete this novel. I started developing my characters as a high-school sophomore, but I didn't quite know what to make of them. It took me over two decades to pull the loose threads into something coherent. I half-jokingly call it my Medieval "hipster" novel. My goal was to create a cast of characters that are recognizable to modern audiences. Please, don't faint. It's not about "selling out" or "dumbing down" the characters, or making them act in some anachronistic way. Quite the opposite. It's about drawing the parallels between the past and the present. Think of it as a form of reverse time-travel. Some archetypes are timeless. You will recognize the sickly goth girl, the self-absorbed child prodigy, the drama club geek, the burned out jock, the cynical CEO of a pharmaceutical company. Each chapter is narrated in the first person by a separate character. In the past I have been crucified for my usage of the infamous third person omniscient narrator. This time I took a drastically different approach and allowed the characters to speak for themselves.

From the alchemy labs of fifteenth-century France comes a tale of one beauty and three beasts on a macabre journey through the Parisian underworld. After sixteen years of priesthood, Monseigneur Desmoulins secretly wishes for excommunication. Fed up with sacristy intrigues and tedious inquisition proceedings, he keeps himself amused by dissecting rats, playing with explosives and stalking foreign women. Some of his dirty work he delegates to his nineteen-year-old protégé Daniel Dufort nicknamed Stone Prince, who plays the organ at the cathedral. The gaunt, copper-haired youth looks may look like an angel, but his music is believed to be demonic, pushing the faithful towards crime and suicide.

To keep themselves safe amidst urban violence, the master and his ward take fencing lessons from Lucius Castelmaure, an alcoholic officer facing a court martial. Their alliance is tested when a Wallachian traveler implores them to entertain his terminally-ill daughter Agniese, whose dying whim to is be buried inside the Montfaucon cellar alongside felons and traitors. The three men jump at the chance to indulge the eccentric virgin in the final months of her life.

Raised in the spirit of polyamory, Agniese has no qualms about taking all three men as lovers. In a city of where street festivals turn into massacres, it's only a matter of time before the romantic quadrangle tumbles into a pit of hellfire. Filled with witch-hanging, bone-cracking, gargoyle-hugging humor, Blood of the Stone Prince is a blasphemous thriller for the heretic in each one of us.

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