Point of Dreams: A Novel of Astreiant
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The city of Astreiant has gone crazy with enthusiasm for a new play, ''The Drowned Island,'' a lurid farrago of melodrama and innuendo. Pointsman Nicolas Rathe is not amused, however, at a real dead body on stage and must investigate. A string of murders follow, perhaps related to the politically important masque that is to play on that same stage. Rathe must once again recruit the help of his lover, former soldier Philip Eslingen, whose knowledge of actors and the stage, and of the depths of human perversity and violence, blends well with Rathe's own hard-won experience with human greed and magical mayhem.
Their task is complicated by the season, for it is the time of year when the spirits of the dead haunt the city and influence everyone, and also by the change in their relationship when the loss of Philip's job forces him to move in with Nicolas. Mystery, political intrigue, floral magic, astrology, and romance--both theatrical and personal-- combine to make this a compelling read.
A winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBT Speculative Fiction! Show Less
Eslingen thought, would almost be too bad. “Just take care,” he said aloud, and the woman nodded. “Now, if you please, join the others.” For a moment, he thought she would protest, but then she nodded again, jerkily, and swept across the stage, head up. One strand of hair had worked itself loose, and was trailing free of her neat cap, falling almost to her waist. Siredy, standing in the wings opposite, saw her coming, and looked past her to meet Eslingen’s eyes, his eyebrows rising in silent
Gausaron glared at him, and leaned back in her chair. “With respect,” Rathe said, “the alchemist’s report also suggests that there were—anomalies—involved with the death.” He had received the report the previous afternoon, hastily copied but legible, and he’d worked with the chief alchemist Fanier often enough to recognize when the man was hedging his bets. Fanier had noted changes consonant with “external influences,” though no internal evidence of that influence: not enough on its own, but
about the only advantage we do have.” Rathe nodded, and turned into his workroom. The stove had gone out, this time, and he shouted for a runner, settled himself at his table while the girl brought kindling and made up the fire. He scribbled the note to b’Estorr as she worked, hardly knowing what to ask, except his help—but the magist understood as well as anyone what was happening, he told himself. He would find someone to help, if he couldn’t do it himself. The girl took the folded paper
quite under his breath. “We’re working with Mistress Gasquine on the masque,” another man said with ponderous dignity. Eslingen jumped again—he hadn’t seen the big man there in the shadows, or the round-faced girl beside him—and the master went on as though he hadn’t noticed. “If that’s her policy, I trust she’s hired a sceneryman, then? Because we have the chorus here at half past noon, expecting to rehearse.” The watchman seemed to realize for the first time that he might be outside his
Point, he simply wasn’t—a person of substance.” It was a bitter epitaph. “And yet you kept company with him,” he said aloud, and she shrugged. “He had an idle tongue, could be amusing. And our mothers are friends. I don’t know many of the others, you understand. We only come to Astreiant for the winter-tide.” All good reasons, all equally unhelpful. He took her through more questions, all with the same answer—de Raçan was a nonentity, of no importance at all to her—and by the end was fairly