Writer's Commentary on Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris & Irene Adler #1 by Leah Moore.
Page 1, I wanted Woola in this bit, he's such a cool character, and nothing says domestic bliss like the dog coming and sitting all over your feet and huffing and puffing at you. Dejah is pretty confused by the events of Swords of Sorrow #1, so I was glad she had some company and a friendly face, well, friendly for Woola anyway!
This had to be the opposite, the least barsoomian thing you could imagine, the epitome of Britishness and Jasoomian life. If I'm crossing over Dejah with Irene Adler, from the world of Sherlock Holmes, then there is no point having half measures. Houses of Parliament it is, moustaches firmly attached to stiff upper lips, cravats tucked into waistcoats, and then BAM, a great big hairy scary Banth. I think that sets out my stall for the series pretty well, right there. There is also of course, vital clues which the reader can return to once they have finished the series. At the heart of the story is a mystery, and these clues solve that mystery.
Mycroft Holmes is somebody we met in our previous series The Trial of Sherlock Holmes, so we know what he's like, but this scene shows that he keeps a lot of plated spinning besides his relationship with his brother Sherlock. he is currently covering up the events we have just seen take place in the Houses of Parliament. We see Irene Adler is in his employ as a fixer, a special operative. She is on the Banth case now. That seems a bit much for one woman doesn't it? Actually Irene is not just any woman. but we'll get to that later.
This is a person we saw on pages 2/3 an MP who it seems is a huntsman, a safari enthusiast with some rather large weapons, and stuffed specimens. What could he possibly want to do with that gun? Irene is not the only one with her sights on the Banth!
Irene outwitted Sherlock Holmes in A Scandal in Bohemia by dressing as a young man in order to confirm Holmes' identity, so when she has to leave the stuffy all male Diogenes club, she has to be a young man to do so. See! Its not just an excuse to make her cross dress. I have 'reasons' and everything.
Then we see Irene at her best, digesting everything Mycroft has given her in a super efficient display of deduction that would make the Great Detective proud. They are racing across London, with Adler on the trail of the Barsoomian beast.
We cut to our safari mad huntsman, who is also out in the foul London night, on the hunt for the beast. He is clearly used to tracking large creatures, but not usually through London. As you can see London is only temporarily a problem. Soon he is far away!
Irene Adler might look like a gentleman but she hasone final change to make before she narrows her search for the beast. She equips herself sensibly, and decides on a whim to take the mysterious blade delivered to her by The Courier in Swords of Sorrow #1. Her cabbie looks about to put up a fight, but luckily its not a bad run, just the East End, and then he and Bessie can head home. Right? I was so glad to have put Bert into the story. I would say a London Cabbie is an asset to any writer in any story. he's the perfect foil for Irene's smugness.
Barsoom! I loved the idea that whatever was causing people to slip between worlds might not necessarily be a nice gentle journey, so we see the Hunter has left quite an impact on Mars. Adler is from a world caught up in the great race for Africa, the stripping of foreign assets, and the colonisation of other countries, all in the name of the queen. Our Hunter is clearly a veteran of that world, and has lapsed back into it somewhat. Will his skills keep him out of trouble on the red planet? Not so much…
Irene and Bert are progressing through the east end, but slowly. The horse is tired, the driver is grumpy, but Irene wants results! What happens is not exactly what she's expecting.
Helium has become a desert fort under siege from the British Empire's smallest army. They have blasters, they have trasporters. they have nothing to fear, but our Hunter does not yet know this. He would be glad to know that reinforcements have arrived, in the form of Irene and Bert, but they are far away, and busy with their own issues.
Irene vs Dejah, the fun begins! Two women, evenly matched in skills and tenacity, squaring up for the fight of the century. Draw up a chair, settle down, and enjoy! Except…
…whoops. Player One has left the game!
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