New Site

January 29th, 2013

I have created a new site for the information that was formerly here:

Matthew West’s Library

September 15th, 2012

There are several passing references within the series to Matthew West’s library.  Because he had lived in parallel universes and in other times, he had read many books that had not yet been written in 1700 when he arrived in the story’s timeline.  One of his powers was an eidetic memory that allowed him to reconstruct a book he had once read, or even that he had once touched.  Thus, he filled his library with works that had been important to him in one form or another through his long life, and most of them originally had been published after he officially “died” in 1778 or in a timeline that he had altered.

In the first volume in the series, some of these books are mentioned as he ponders whether to interfere in events at the time of the Tuscarora War.  There are other passing references throughout the series to books that were from Matthew West’s library.  When he started the Fortress, he created a copy of his library as part of the institutional library.  He also had copies of his library at each of his homes, which were many.

In the third volume of the series, we will find a descendant of Matthew West who is inspired by Anthony Hope Hawkins The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Henzau.   This fellow renames himself Rudolph Elphberg and founds a new nation, Ruritania.  That’s quite some influence Hawkins had to inspire a new nation a hundred years before he wrote his books.

German versus English

August 22nd, 2012

I was just looking over past posts and realized there might be another thing I’ve done that could confuse readers.  In the table of titles that I posted a month or so ago, I used German place names for the titles in the Holy Roman Empire (HRE), but I believe in the books that I usually use the English.  The two most glaring examples are Franconia/Franken and Swabia/Schwaben.  I also use Churfürst in the table, which is an older German version of “Prince-Elector.”

The Germans also had separate terms for ruling prince versus the son of a ruler.  The ruling prince is a Fürst.  This is also seen in the title Kurfürst/Churfürst for (ruling) prince-elector.

Lord This and the Honourable That

August 22nd, 2012

If one is not familiar with the protocols and styles of British and other nobility and royalty, some of the rules and usages might be confusing.  For instance, one of the characters in the series is Lord Francis Campbell.  He is a younger son of the Duke of Argyll.  As the younger son of a British duke, his style is Lord Francis, using his first name.  His elder brother, John, uses one of their father’s courtesy titles, since he is the heir.  So he is known as the Marquess of Kintyre and Lorne, or more colloquially addressed as Lord Lorne.  There are actually small variations in the way a Marquess would be addressed versus the son of a duke using the courtesy title, but I don’t think that has come up yet in the series.  The point here, though is that the non-inheriting son of a duke or marquess is called Lord (First Name) in direct address, as was the case with Winston Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill.

A title holder or heir using a courtesy title will be called Lord Y or Lord X of Y where X is the family name and Y is the associated place name for the title.  So, to give a real example, there was a twentieth century British Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden who was created Earl of Avon with the subsidiary title of Viscount Eden, of Royal Leamington Spa in the County of Warwick.  So, from that time until his death, Anthony Eden was addressed as Lord Avon.  His son, during this time, was addressed as Lord Eden.

Non-inheriting sons of  an earl or less are styled, “The Honourable.”  So, another character in the series is Lord Francis Campbell’s maternal uncle and Royal Navy Captain, The Honourable Sir Sidney Kentigern Godolphin, younger son of the Earl Godolphin.  He had earned a knighthood before he was introduced in the series, thus the “Sir.”

So, that is a brief overview in case anyone was wondering why Lord Francis was Lord Francis when everyone else who was “Lord” somebody was using a title or last name.

Benjamin Thaddeus West (I4295)

August 14th, 2012

 An issue with families is that sometimes they name children after one of the parents’ siblings and we run into confusion in a family saga such as the Hidden Angels Series.  The modern tradition, although not always observed, is that if a man names a son for himself, the son is labeled “Junior” and the father “Senior.”  If a man names his son after his brother, in other words a collateral line of descent, the nephew is labeled with a “II,” pronounced “the second.” While this is not always so today, such consistency of form was even less common in the Eighteenth Century.  For instance, if a nephew were named for a deceased uncle, he may not use a number at all.  He would just go by the exact same name as his uncle with no easy distinction unless someone diligently were to check his birth year and so forth.

Such is the case with Benjamin Thaddeus West.  In the West family, there are no less than four Benjamin Thaddeus Wests.  Two of them use the naked name, and the other two who are first cousins, both append a “II,” since they were named for their uncle, who was named in turn for his uncle, so he could also have used the Roman numeral II, too.  Thus, in discussing them, I shall use the numbers assigned to them by the genealogy program that I use for tracking them all.

Benjamin Thaddeus West (I4295) was the eldest son and heir to Tobias Matthew West, Sr. (I3), eldest son of Matthew West (I1).  Tobias followed his father as the Prince-Elector of Franconia in the Holy Roman Empire, even though he never went there and left it in the hands of his brother and regent, James Charles West, Sr. (I188).  Benjamin was originally known by his grandfather’s subsidiary title, the Earl of Tortuga.  He went on his Grand Tour to Italy, and that is where he changed history.  He married Maria Teresa Cybo-Malaspina, who was the heir to Massa and Carrara.  He died four years later after having four children.  His eldest son then became the heir to Massa and Carrara.  Of course, he was also the heir to his grandfather Tobias and great-grandfather Matthew.  This Benjamin Thaddeus West never appears in the books directly.  He is referenced in the first book when his brother, Tobias Matthew West, Jr., is using his grandfather’s courtesy title of Earl of Tortuga.  By that time, he was in Italy, married, and having children.  He had quietly renounced the right to his grandfather’s British titles, since he did not figure to leave Italy.  However, his grandfather’s titles as a Prince of the HRE and then a Prince-Elector were created after his death and he and his children never renounced those, so his eldest son will follow his grandfather as Prince-Elector of Franconia in the third volume of the series.

He is not to be confused with his nephew, Benjamin Thaddeus West (I14), the son of Ezekiel Robert West (I8), who is also the Angel Hermes and is known as “Benny.”  Benny has already appeared in the second volume, Angels Revolting, and will be a fairly major character throughout the series.

Real People Used as Characters

August 3rd, 2012

The Hidden Angels series is set in a world similar to our own except for the changes that happen due to Matthew West and his progeny.  As those changes spread out, it becomes less and less likely that something or someone corresponds exactly to who was there and what happened in the real world.  For instance, we might meet Karl Marx, but he might be a lawyer and committed monarchist.  Or Nietsche might have different forenames (since he was named for his king whose birthday he was born on) and he might be a Lutheran minister and theologian because his father lived to guide him to adulthood.  But by about 1900, it is unlikely that anyone born will be the same as in the real world, unaffected by the changes induced by Matthew West and his progeny.

That said, there are many historical characters who make cameos or have greater appearances in the series.  Robert Walpole, the first British Prime Minister, appears briefly.  Many nobles appear or are referenced since Matthew West becomes a nobleman, which means his children are more likely to marry into other noble families.  The Duke of Shrewsbury and Earl of Derby are examples who appear in the first volume of the series.  George III appears in several chapters in multiple volumes, as does his uncle, the Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, etc.

By the third book, Matthew West has taken a new identity and purposefully faded into the background.  He will still appear now and then, but he becomes a fairly minor character, just one among many Angels in the series.  Instead, there is a new character who comes to the fore, a character who was real, but whose life has already started veering from his original path before he even appears in the third book.  His path will continue to diverge from the original, and he will be a central character moving to the peripheral as time goes on in the series until 1845.  The upcoming volumes will still be constructed of many independent or semi-independent stories with a large number of characters, but the events around this one character will become central.

Part of the reason that most of the real characters have been cameos up to this point is that it is difficult to say what a real person would or would not do.  It’s like using characters that another author created.  (In this case, the author is God.)  People who read the original author have very strong opinions about what a character would or would not do.  Readers might even get irate if they feel some character has been corrupted from the original into something unrecognizable.  So it might be with historians when historical personages are made to do the will of some hack fiction writer.  As an author, I am trying to avoid such things.  If a historical person is used relatively extensively, it is only if their lives have already been significantly altered.

For instance, let’s look at King George III.  In real history, he started showing the first signs of some sort of disease that affected his mind, possibly porphyria,  in 1765.  It will be revealed in 1787, presently intended for the third volume, that Matthew West healed him and his family at that point, cleaning up the genetic diseases.  Of course, Matthew West had already been changing things and interacting with the House of Guelph for more than forty years.  So by that point the changes are so great that George III would not be the same man he would have been in our universe.  The same is true of his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland.  William Augustus first meets Matthew West when he is only a boy, and then he goes to the military university Matthew West started and continues to be mentored by West.  West even counsels him on his diet and exercise regimen, which leads to his living a longer life than he did in reality.

Giving up the Fight

June 17th, 2012

This blog software is a little too intelligent for its own good.  I have tried to increase the size of the font in posts, but the automation behind the software makes my attempts look less readable than the small font.  Also, if I go back and edit a post where I have increased the size, it merges paragraphs on me.  I go back and edit it to break the merged paragraphs, and it merges the next two.  So, if I make a slight edit on a six-paragraph entry, I may have to edit it six times to get it back to large fonts and six paragraphs.  Thus have I given up on trying to get this to a readable size.  Please use your browser’s capability to enlarge what you see in the site.  In the case of Internet Explorer, there is a little drop-down list in the bottom-right corner that allows you to enlarge what you see based on percentages, such as 100%, 125%, or 150%.  Given my monitor and configuration, I am finding 150% to be a readable size.

The Prophecy of the Popes

June 17th, 2012

A silly thing about authors is that sometimes they think simply everyone must know everything they know.  Such it is with the Prophecy of the Popes.  This author has long been interested in such things, and being interested can cite a thousand times this prophecy has been in the news over the last thirty-four years.  It has been brought to my attention that not all of my readers know about it.  For an easy update, I refer those to Wikipedia:

As that entry mentions, the provenance of the “prophecy” is uncertain.  It may even have been propaganda to support the candidacy of a certain cardinal to reach the Papacy.  As author, I chose to use the Nostradamus explanation of the prophecy’s origin.  I pictured him as he slowly wrote it out by hand, but then he reaches the new Pope in 1769.  He wrote down the code phrase, but had a sudden inspiration that things had changed, that a new phrase was relevant.  This was because even though the character who would later be known as Matthew West had yet to arrive on Earth, already his presence in the universe was propagating change waves through time.

So, what are the changes?  The prophet scratches out the Latin phrase “Ursus uelox,” or “Swift bear,” (251 on the list on the Prophecy page on Wikipedia) and writes the Latin words for “Innocent of War.”  This is a reference to the chapter of the same name in the second volume (Angels Revolting) where Cardinal Infante Carlos de Bragança of Portugal becomes Pope as Innocent XIV.  The name honored the real Pope Innocent XIII, who had spent time in Portugal before he was Pope.  (See entry 246 on the list on the Prophecy page.)

Of course, if one Pope is chosen differently, subsequent Popes will probably be different.  The Pope may appoint different cardinals.  He will almost certainly die at a time different than the real pope did, just as the fictional Innocent XIV dies in late 1783 as opposed to the real Clement XIV, our Swift Bear, who died in 1774.  So, there are a different crop of candidates in 1783 after the fourteen year reign of the fictional Innocent XIV than were available after the five-year reign of the real Clement XIV.  Of course this means that instead of the Prophecy’s continuing with the line 252 that we know, Apostolic Pilgrim, it has a different phrase, “Western Shores,” which just coincidentally is the title of a chapter in the upcoming third volume in the series.  So, old Western Shores will take us up to 1810.

The next entry in the revised prophecy is, “Long Warrior, Long Time.”  Would any be surprised if that referred to a tall and long-lived descendant of Matthew West?  Of course not.  So, that Pope will take us to 1902.  Yes, a gentle reign of 92 years.  But you won’t see him in action until the fourth volume and his ascendence to the Papacy until the fifth or sixth volume, depending on how things split as I fill in some of the chapters I am still writing.

Thought Quotes

June 16th, 2012

In the first chapter of the first volume, there is an extensive conversation that uses asterisks (*) instead of quotation marks.  A reader asked about this usage.  The answer is that this conversation is not spoken, but telepathy.  This has been the convention in a number of science-fiction books I have read in the past.  This convention will appear a number of times throughout the series since telepathy is one possible power that the Angels may express.

A Note on the Descendants of Thomas Ramsey

June 13th, 2012

A list of the descendants of Thomas Ramsey can be found here.  As with the rest of the series and information about it, it is an evolving work:

As is mentioned in the “Indian Wars” chapter of the first volume of the series, due to Matthew West’s actions Thomas Ramsey wound up married to twenty-one Muscogee women simultaneously.  As some of his wives passed on, he usually maintained twenty-one wives by replacing those who passed, usually within a year.  His final count was sixty-two (62) wives and 1,019 children.  This gave him the claim to having fathered the highest number of children ever documented, at least until Tom Smith, Jr. surpassed him in the mid-19th century.  That still left Ramsey at the top of the list for non-Angels.

Many of Ramsey’s wives had multiple births, just as the West family had a high incidence of multiple births.  There is the implication in the “Indian Wars” chapter in the first volume that West might be related to Ramsey’s maternal grandmother, and so it might be natural in the line as was the Second Sight (ESP).  However, it is also possible that Matthew West may have altered Ramsey’s genome for some purpose.  This is not explicit in any of the volumes of the series, so it may not have happened.  Perhaps Ramsey has some natural mutations that can cause both identical and fraternal twins and multiple births.

Another factor to be aware of is that many of the children were born of Muscogee women, and the rest were later adopted in as new clans within the Muscogee Confederation.  Therefore, all last names are hyphenated to indicate both the paternal line and the maternal line (clan).  The clan names are not spelled as the Muscogee (este-Maskoke) now spell their language.  The names assigned to the new clans are also not formed exactly as they would be done today, or necessarily as they would have been formed in the late 18th century unaltered by the presence of Matthew West.  Several things are historically different than they would have been and have effected changes in the Muscogee people and their language.  Events in the third and fourth volumes of the series will further complicate their lingual landscape to the point where it becomes easier to use English as the official language of Hyperborea, the kingdom that forms out of the Muscogee Confederacy.

Ramsey gave many of his Muscogee wives English or Christian names.  There are a few with Muscogee names, but most became known by the names he gave them.