Hello everyone! Today I’m excited to welcome Kate Milford to the blog to discuss her new middle grade book, The Left-Handed Fate! It’ll be out later this month and this is a middle grade story not to miss :D.
- The most literal world of The Left-Handed Fate is the ship itself. A big chunk of the book takes place aboard a topsail schooner called (drumroll) the Left-Handed Fate. It’s a letter-of-marque, meaning it’s a ship licensed by its country (in this case, England) to prey on enemy ships. You could also call it a privateer, but its crew wouldn’t. Sounds too piratical.
- The wider world of The Left-Handed Fate is the same world as my other books so far. All of the books are standalones, but they’re linked to one another. If you’ve read Bluecrowne or The Broken Lands, you’ve met a few of the characters already. If you’ve read Greenglass House, you’ve visited the primary setting, the Sovereign City of Nagspeake.
- This particular visit to this world takes place at the outset of the War of 1812. This is a moment in history that I’d never really understood much about until I started reading about the Napoleonic Wars, which only happened because I got addicted to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels. (I probably shouldn’t admit that, because I’m from Maryland, and the War of 1812 is a big deal around there.) But it turns out the War of 1812 is pretty fascinating. My favorite anecdote has to do with a guy who gets knocked out by another guy’s flying decapitated head.
- One of the best things about this book was being able to start writing about some of the stranger aspects of the City of Nagspeake, which I didn’t really get to use in Greenglass House. It’s a very bizarre city, a place where, in the words of the Mad Spinster of the Liberty of Gammerbund (a part of town that might be a secretive, walled community or might be a literal insane asylum), “there are strange wonders enough that we aren’t so quick to invent new ones.”
- One of the patron saints of Nagspeake looks out for messages sent in bottles. Her feast day happens to fall on 8/23, the same day as the launch of The Left-Handed Fate. What a coincidence, huh?
About the Book
Lucy Bluecrowne and Maxwell Ault are on a mission: find the three pieces of a strange and arcane engine. They’re not exactly sure what this machine does, but they have it on good authority that it will stop the war that’s raging between their home country of England and Napoleon Bonaparte’s France. Despite being followed by mysterious men dressed all in black, they’re well on their way to finding everything they need when their ship, the famous Left-Handed Fate, is taken by the Americans.
And not just any Americans. The Fate (and with it, Lucy and Max) are put under the command of Oliver Dexter, who’s only just turned twelve.
But Lucy and Max aren’t the only ones trying to put the engine together, and if the pieces fall into the wrong hands, it could prove disastrous. Oliver is faced with a choice: help Lucy and Max and become a traitor to his country? Or follow orders and risk endangering that same country and many others at the same time–not to mention his friends?
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