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The Nexus

Volume 5 of The Interregnum
A Novel of the Timestream
Copyright December 2005

by R. Sutcliffe

see also
Volume 1 -- The Peace
Volume 2 -- The Friends
Volume 3 -- The Exile
Volume 4 -- The General

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Many thanks to all the proofreaders and editors. Your suggestions were all considered and almost all were adopted. Remaining errors are entirely my fault.

Plot Summary

The Nexus is book five in the Christian sf (alternate history) series The Interregnum, set on Ortho-Earth (Greater Hibernia) during the sixty-year ban on the throne following the 1941 deposition of James IV, High King over two of the six Timestream earth then known. The action of this volume takes place on Hibernia and Tirdia (Prime), with arcs of the story cycle rotating among accounts of Mara Meathe, Catherine Ryan, and Maeve Derry (all on Hibernia), those of Lucas and Eider on Tirdia, and a few chapters set on Meta.

Mara: Following the trial over which Tad O'Kelly presided as Senchus in The General, Mara resumes her globe-trotting missions, trouble shooting in various parts of the world, including a new military adventure in India with her ally Rileon the lion. She returns to Tara to await the Nexus, when she deals with assassination attempts, kidnappings, the mysterious Karina who lies abed upstairs in the palace, pirate attacks in the Great Ocean, and the treacherous schemes of at least two "noble" houses.

Maeve:Called to the jungle outside Centralia to recover her Cadet Sergent's body following a bandits' ambush, Maeve makes a discovery that will see Tad reappointed as Senchus for another history making hearing at Tara. Along the way, she, Mara, and Sandy must face an unprecedented attack on Tara's children.

Catherine: Her time as a protected court ward is fast running out. On the day the Metans say the nexus will come, she turns seventeen and can be challenged for her lands, position, and life. Thomas Monde can't wait, indeed, he has several schemes to remove her or replace her with a substitute.

Lucas and Eider: Elbon the Builder chairs the meetings of Meta's elders in his own study/library. But his daughter Eider has been eavesdropping, and when he returns to Tirdia to take up as John Dominic, proprietor of the orphanage at Berea, she follows. Soon, she is tangled in a web of intrigue surrounding her father and his friends, the orphan boy Lucas, and crime boss Al Marcotti. Lucas, torn by what appears to be Dominic's betrayal of him, runs away during a debate on creation in Vancouver. But Eider follows, and the two are soon at the heart of the world-dividing nexus, and in the gun sights of Marcotti's thugs.

We see the nexus as experienced by Catherine, Lucas, Mara, and Maeve, each of whom makes critical decisions, and most of whom have battles to fight the next day. Will the light of righteousness burn long enough at Tara for the Friends to enthrone an honourable king, or will the MacCarthys and Mondes snuff it out and appoint a dictator?

Hibernia's deposed King, James IV, continues to influence events from behind the scenes as various of his allies and enemies try to determine what became of him after the 1941 deposition. Scholars, students, soldiers, loyalists, rebels, and athletes--among them Christians, agnostics, and hardened sinners--populate the history of his interregnum. He and Clan MacCarthy's leaders continue pursuing incompatible visions of Tara's throne--a symbol of justice, honour, and individual dignity for James, of racist oppression and casual human experimentation for his opponents.

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