Shine Cycle Précis: The Longest War Character and Theme

A couple of months ago, I began my “brief introduction” to The Longest War, the planned eleventh book in the “main line” of the Shine Cycle, and last month I continued with a summary of its plot; today I conclude that précis with a discussion of the principal characters I’ve identified so far and of the theme.

I’m somewhat chagrined to have to say that I’ve scarcely begun to think about point-of-view assignments and the like. But here’s what I do know already.

First, either Mary or one of her advisors will likely be, if not the point-of-view character, a major character of the first section, since the “spider-bombardier” is invented in her district, and she also makes a suggestion that leads to the declaration of “Prohibition.” Penelope may also play a role in that section, as she discovers the crystals for which her district later becomes famous during this period, and she also is one of the main analysts responsible for advising the King on the situation around the enemy alliance headquarters.

In the second section, Cadwallader plays a major role and might well be a point-of-view character; when he arrives in the New Roman Empire, he and his escort turn a battle into a complete victory, and then he leads the New Roman space navy in the “Battle of Lightning.”

The campaigns in our universe centrally involve several characters, most of whom I haven’t introduced here yet, starting with Celia, the King’s Harpist and Princess of the Bardic Lands, and Hildegarde. But since those stories will be primarily told in the two sub-series I mentioned, I don’t know how much of their events and characters will appear in The Longest War. On the other hand, though, Penelope supervises the logistics behind several of the “Battles of High Powers,” so she’s likely to appear here but possibly not in the more detailed stories.

As far as theme: One of the points that I want to make sure comes through is the view of war, and “the fight against evil” more generally, as a long “slog,” requiring patience and perseverance more than mere bravery in the face of immediate danger. And I hope to also show the effects on “the home front,” which probably differ from what we might expect because of science-fictional technology and “applied metaphysics”. But other than that, I don’t really have may ideas.

Next month, we’ll look at the “Game of Life” sub-series, which will describe the battles waged on Earth in slightly more detail.


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