Newtons Sleep
by Daniel O'Mahony
Newtons Sleep

As above, so below

Don't tell her what it was like. Don't tell her how you had to dig your way out through heavy layers of clay to reach the fresh air, because that would distress her. Don't tell her about the box, because that would confuse her.

And don't tell her about the light, because that was sacred.

Lately cannonballs have flown their arcs, leaving the crystal sky unbroken, while on Earth their traces are all too visible. Yet though Heaven has never seemed so far away, the divine is terribly closer. War on Earth presages War in Heaven; the struggle between the holy houses of Christ and their eternal Adversary has erupted among the living.

These are the signs of the last days: in 1651, a dead angel is found in a tree in Lincolnshire and a nymph rises from the waters of Kent; in 1642, a dying man is miraculously healed in the grave; in 1665, uncanny skull-masked doctors descend upon a plague house; in 1683, the French secret service unveil mirrors that show the futures; in 1671, Aphra Behn -- she-spy and poetesse -- infiltrates a gathering of alchemists; in 1649, the English kill their king, and history begins...

  • This is a stand-alone novel that takes place in the Faction Paradox Universe.
  • Publishers Random Static have offered a free download of this novel without the Faction Paradox branding, from their website. (Note from Cameron: it's free, but I, for one, would strongly encourage you to donate after reading it so that the publishers can make more books like this.)
  • Released: January 2008

  • ISBN: 978 0 473 12498 4

England, just after the Civil War. A young boy resting beneath a tree sees a humanoid figure, its body pure black and its head a non-reflective bowl, broken and bleeding in the branches above him. Curious, the boy touches the creature's body, and its fluid black skin envelops the boy's body and soul, granting the boy visions of his entire life from beginning to end -- including his great achievements to come as a student of natural philosophy and master of the Royal Mint. The boy is far too important to erase from history, and the black creature will be thus safe from attack if it hides within the boy's life. It tells the boy that its mission is to destroy the Adversary, and the boy, assuming that the creature is an angel, gives it permission to use him. The boy then awakens at the base of the tree, alone and with little memory of what has happened.

A Roundhead soldier named Nathaniel Silver is shot in the head at Edgehill, but digs himself out of the grave, clutching a strange glowing egg, after having a vision of God's chirurgeons repairing his soul. From this day forth, he does not appear to age, and frequently suffers blinding migraines. Silver subsequently takes an interest in natural philosophy, and over years of observation he develops a belief that God is the act and the emotion of love. With his followers, he attempts to found a commune called the Church of Christ Sublime; it is sponsored by Sir Denzil Lynch, who remained neutral during the Civil War and now wishes to leave a legacy of good so that his seven-year-old daughter Alice will be proud of him. Alice, who is mature and intelligent beyond her years, falls in love with Silver, while Silver himself falls in love with a woman named Ann Brownlow -- who dies when plague strikes the commune during its first hard winter.

The grief-stricken Silver curses God and attempts to smash the glowing egg, but three hooded angels appear before him as he does so, calling themselves "pilots." The pilots offer Silver a deal: they will take his soul, or "life-gifts," for study at the moment of his death, and in return, they will give him the egg, which comes into existence at this moment and exists both forwards and backwards along Silver's lifetime. The egg is an extension of the pilots' own life-gifts, and through it, Silver will learn the secrets of natural philosophy. Silver accepts the trade, but is subsequently unable to hold the commune together as it suffers from poor harvests and steady attrition. Silver's old comrade-in-arms, Don Taylor, then arrives with a warning: Sir Denzil has impulsively published Silver's incomplete writings, and several factions and secret societies now believe Silver to have set himself against them, since he did not explicitly support them. The final blow comes when Sir Denzil is arrested for debasing the coinage. His servant Hudd gets Alice away before the authorities can torture her to make Sir Denzil talk, and Silver dissolves the commune, sends his remaining followers to safety, and waits for the authorities to come for him.

Years later, a man named Thomas Piper is dying of plague, and his wife has been locked in the house with him for 40 days. She is saved from starvation by the members of a strange family, who wear masks of bone, call each other Cousin and Mother, are accompanied by a cat they call Faction Cat, and speak of rituals and spirits called loa. As Mistress Piper recovers from her ordeal, she dreams that her own totem animal, a cockerel, is fighting to protect her from a nest of hissing snakes set upon her by Faction Paradox. Thomas dies of the plague, and the androgynous Mother-Father Olympia arrives to chastise the family for wasting time while the Great Houses' Military Wing sweeps across the Spiral Politic, wiping out the Faction wherever they find it. However, even Olympia is impressed when Mistress Piper instinctively slips out of the grasp of Olympia's shadow weapon. Conceding that she may have been wrong, Olympia explains that this family is on a specific mission, and they need to recruit an additional member: either Mistress Piper or a self-centred and dangerous young boy. After all she's experienced, Mistress Piper would spit in God's eye if she believed he existed, and she thus agrees to join Faction Paradox. In a ritualistic dream, she slits the cockerel's throat and feeds it to the snakes, giving up all that she used to be and becoming Little Sister Greenaway.

Nate Silver spends years in prison, and one day suffers a migraine so terrible that the chirurgeons operate upon him -- and remove a bullet that's been embedded in his head ever since he was shot at Edgehill. Its removal cures his migraines, and Silver is presented to the newly instated King Charles II as a medical curiosity. The King pardons Silver, and some time later, a man rushes up to Silver on the street, returns the glowing egg, and rushes off to commit suicide, claiming that the voices from the egg have driven him mad. Silver resumes his study of natural philosophy, and experiments with the substance of the egg, learning how to stretch and mould it into new shapes. When plague strikes London, the egg instructs him on how to survive, and Silver is furious to learn that it could have saved Ann if only he'd asked it how. Silver continues his research by dissecting the bodies of the dead from plague pits, and this attracts the attention of a street urchin named Nick Plainsong, who concludes that Silver is a master magician and asks to become his apprentice. Silver allows Plainsong to assist him in his experiments, but while Silver is content simply to acquire knowledge, Plainsong wants more of a purpose to his life. Silver looks for a sign, and gets one when Plainsong takes him to Cheapside to pick up women of loose virtue -- one of whom Silver recognises as the now mature Alice Lynch.

Five years later, Aphra Behn -- poet, playwright, and sometimes spy -- is contacted by her lover Carola Morland, who asks Aphra to undertake a mission on behalf of Carola's husband Sir Samuel. A group of alchemists and ritualists is meeting outside Cambridge to hear from a new philosopher known as the Magus; this may be a plot by Republicans to undo the work of the Restoration, or Sir Samuel may just be jealous that he wasn't invited. Aphra heads out to Salomon's House, posing as an associate of Charles Babbage, but her mission is a very poorly kept secret and Nick Plainsong captures her before she even arrives. Nick has her bound and gagged and thrown into a cell for hours, but a nymph that Aphra remembers from childhood materialises in the cell briefly to remove her gag.

The Magus is Nate Silver, who is now accompanied both by Nick Plainsong and Alice Lynch. She is now in her early 20s but is still devoted to him. Silver mingles with Salomon's guests, including members of Faction Paradox and a nervous man from Trinity College who goes under the name Jeova Unus Sanctus. A Frenchman named Valentine tries to convince Silver to join the French secret society, le Pouvoir, but Silver insists that his work is for the benefit of all mankind and not for any one organisation. Silver feels a strange kinship with Jeova and speaks privately with the man, even showing him the glowing egg, but he is hurt when Jeova tells him that the egg is deceptive and insists that he throw it away. Alice interrupts their conversation to report that Nick has accosted and imprisoned a female spy from the English secret service, and Silver, upset that this has been done in his name, releases Aphra and angrily berates Nick. Humiliated, Nick visits Jeova's bed, ensuring that Silver will not be able to continue his conversation about higher things while Jeova is consumed with lust. Upset, Silver retreats to his own bed, and Alice joins him there, telling him that Aphra has taken hers. Despite the fact that Alice is 25 years younger than him, Silver can't resist her love. He does not know that Faction Paradox has been keeping him close to years to find out what makes him so special, and Little Sister Greenaway has finally gathered enough of his physical self to construct a biodata dolly. With the dolly, the family can bind their protective loa to Silver and try to protect him from what's coming. Mother Sphinx predicts that the storm will break tomorrow, and that the Great Houses will somehow be involved.

The next day, Silver sends Alice back to London before addressing the convention. He announces that his purpose is to make the study of science open to all, and to that end, he gives up his great secret by showing the egg to everyone, causing it to expand to a large size and calling on the pilots to make themselves known. A beam of light shatters the dome of the lecture hall, and two of the three pilots appear -- and try to kill him, claiming that he has cheated them. Little Sister Greenaway attacks the pilots, who swat her into the glowing ball of light; however, the protective loa then descend on the pilots and tear apart their souls, revealing the "angels" to have insect faces like fleas. The egg shrinks back to the size of a fist and falls to the floor, and Nick Plainsong scoops it up and runs off with it, telling Silver that he should have trusted him. Salomon, the elderly owner of the house and host of the convention, then enters with a platoon of Service Ratcatchers to arrest all those present, and Silver, realising that he's been duped and betrayed by almost everyone he thought he knew, flees before he can be arrested on charges of treason and espionage.

Assuming that the lecture will be a boring treatise on metaphysics, Aphra gets drunk, passes out, and misses all of the excitement. When she emerges from her rooms, she finds that Salomon has revealed himself to be Dr Alexander Bendo, the head of the Service. Faction Paradox have fled the scene, and Valentine and his agents have pursued Silver out into the downs. Bendo places Aphra under arrest, telling her that Sir Samuel has been kicked out of the Service and was just using her to weasel his way back in. As Aphra's guard marches her off, however, the beautiful nymph appears out of thin air and knocks him senseless. Aphra fulfils her childhood promise by giving the nymph a name -- Larissa -- and allowing her to use Aphra's life-gifts to track down the anomaly she's seeking. Larissa translates herself and Aphra out onto the moors near the fleeing Silver, whom she tries to stab in the heart with a glowing needle. Before she can do so, she takes a closer look and realises that although Silver is a temporal anomaly, he isn't the monster she's seeking. Larissa disappears, and Aphra, feeling guilty, tells Silver to run. She then returns to Salomon's House in disgrace.

Little Sister Greenaway falls through the glowing egg, down the track that the angels took upwards, and as she falls, her shadow stretches itself out into a whip, her first shadow weapon as a member of Faction Paradox. She lands in a space that shapes itself from her memories into the house she shared with Thomas Piper, and there, she encounters the third of the flea-angel pilots. They fight until something even darker attacks them both, but the pilot drives it off with a blast of light. It's too weak to do that more than once, and, knowing that the dark thing will attack again and kill them both, it admits that it is an avatar of a pilot from the posthuman future city of Civitas Solis. The pilots want to ensure that the War does not change their past and prevent them from ever having existed, and when they sensed that Silver was a temporal anomaly, they entered a praxis fugue and sent avatars of themselves back in time to communicate with him. Although Silver did not fully understand the nature of their deal, he agreed to trade them samples of his biodata that they could study after his death -- but when they did so, they discovered that he was just an ordinary man with no power of his own, whose life had been tampered with by another entity. Greenaway in turn admits that Faction Paradox wants to understand the nature of Silver's power as well, in the hope that it can be used to protect them from the Great Houses. She offers to make a personal alliance with the surviving pilot, whom she names Erasmus, and it agrees to ride her spirit like a loa until they both have what they want. The dark creature then attacks again, taking the form of a humanoid figure, its body pure black and its head a non-reflective bowl. With Erasmus' help, Greenaway fights her way out of the egg and back onto the moors outside Salomon's House, where she is reunited with the rest of her Family. Impressed by her ordeal, they grant her the title of Cousin -- and once she's recovered, she tells them that their real enemy, the monster she fought in the egg, is something from the Homeworld.

Following the fiasco at Salomon's House, Dr Alex Bendo becomes obsessed with finding out who Faction Paradox are and what they want. He has also become Aphra's mentor in the Service. In 1678, he sends her to a brothel called the Inferno to purchase a woman who is said to have appeared out of thin air and killed everyone in her way before she was overpowered; she speaks no English, and the chirurgeons claim that her internal physiognomy is entirely inhuman. Due to the current anti-Catholic hysteria in England, it is assumed that she is a Jesuitess whom the Pope magically transported to England to kill the King. Her senses dulled with drugs, she is now being presented as a freak and curiosity by a pimp named Corinthian Tom. Tom refuses to sell his exhibit to Aphra, and Bendo thus decides to stir up the mob and kidnap her under cover of the riot; he has learned that Faction Paradox has taken an interest in the Jesuitess, and is determined to get to her first. Aphra doesn't take his obsession seriously, and decides not to tell him that Corinthian Tom sold her the clothing that the Jesuitess was wearing when she first appeared, an impossibly sleek and skin-tight black suit. Aphra impulsively tries the suit on when she gets home, but despite its sleekness it cuts her arm as if it's bitten her. Aphra tosses it aside, but notes that her blood is pooling inside the fabric and that a dull needle of some kind is clamped to its belt.

Cousin Greenaway has been keeping an eye on Nate Silver, who was "rescued" by Valentine's agents as he fled Salomon's House and is now working for le Pouvoir in France. The Paradox shrine has remained in London to avoid attracting attention, and when Greenaway returns for a routine report, she finds her family preparing to face a possible attack. The Jesuitess is from the Homeworld, and her senses have been dulled not by drugs but by the Faction's early-warning loa. The family breaks into the Inferno to confront the Jesuitess, but when they restore her power of speech, she doesn't give the answers that they were expecting: she claims to be here on her own, refers to them as House Paradox, and seems surprised to learn that the Homeworld is at war under the rule of a War King. An angry mob then attacks the brothel, stirred up by Bendo's agents, and Greenaway offers to remove her bone mask and impersonate the Jesuitess, distracting the mob while her family gets the real Jesuitess back to the shrine. She does not tell her Cousins that she has another agenda; she's never told them about Erasmus, but he has sensed the pilots' egg nearby and has come up with a plan to get it back to Nate Silver. Dr Bendo's Ratcatchers take Greenaway back to Bendo's base of operations, where she overpowers them with her whip and takes the egg, which Bendo had been keeping for study. However, the Jesuitess escapes from the other cousins as they hurry her away from the Inferno.

Mother Sphinx has left the Cousins to their work while she investigates a "daughter event" that could give birth to a short-lived alternative timeline. Her loa prevent Aphra from fully perceiving that Mother Sphinx has turned up at her house. The Jesuitess then arrives to reclaim her suit, but Aphra has removed the wand to study it. Fascinated by the unconventionally beautiful Jesuitess, Aphra offers to return the wand if the Jesuitess goes to bed with her, but Dr Bendo shows up before the Jesuitess can decide. He has realised that his men have captured an impostor, and has traced the Jesuitess to Aphra's home, intending to perform cruel experiments upon her while she's still alive. He shoots the Jesuitess in the abdomen, but she grabs the wand, which transforms into a needle, and stabs Bendo in the heart with it. Bendo's body explodes in a blaze of light, and when Aphra recovers, the fatally injured Jesuitess has vanished along with her suit and her wand. Mother Sphinx has watched everything without drawing attention to herself, and when she asks Aphra about Dr Bendo, Aphra claims that there is no such person; he's a fake personality put on by the libertine John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester. The real Dr Bendo has been excised from the Spiral Politic, and history has healed over the small wound caused by his absence. Satisfied, Mother Sphinx returns to the shrine, where she reveals that she knows about Greenaway's passenger and Greenaway tells her about Erasmus.

Nate Silver is working for le Pouvoir; they believe him to be a powerful alchemist who will deliver the future into their hands, but are growing impatient for results. He finally gets the chance to provide them when Alice Lynch arrives in Paris with the egg, which she claims was given to her by a woman from Faction Paradox. Silver is still able to mould and shape the substance of the egg as the pilots had taught them, and over the next few years, he stretches out its substance into the framework of mirrors, creating windows that show images of possible futures. But he also learns that he is not the only person to have been miraculously resurrected in 1643; many other people suffering from mortal injuries or fevers were miraculously healed at the same time that Silver rose from the grave in Edgehill, but most were driven mad by the shock or were denounced as witches. Nearly sixty years later, on the last day of his life, Nate Silver will visit a brothel with the elderly Nate Plainsong, who has become a much sought-after architect; many of the buildings that he's designed are in fact architectural booby-traps that will be sprung on Faction Paradox when they copy a shadow of version into their own domain to serve as their Eleven-Day Empire. Silver will die in bed with a French prostitute named Madame Machine, and the pilots will take his life-gifts apart, removing his gross corporeality to study his essence. They will learn that he is an ordinary man who should have died at Edgehill, but whose life was artificially spliced onto that of another -- and when they try to probe further, they will be attacked by the same black creature that assaulted Greenaway and Erasmus in the egg. Silver will die knowing that he was created by a dark power to be an instrument of war.

The Homeworlder called the Jesuitess has fled down the one available safe path; her suit read Aphra Behn's life when it tasted her blood, and she is thus able to travel back in time along Aphra's life path. Mortally injured, she regenerates into a new form when she arrives, and young Aphra, only 10 years old but already starting to understand that she can turn the eyes of both men and women, is captivated by the sight of the beautiful nymph splashing up out of a pond in the woods behind her home. Fascinated, and not really understanding what's going on, Aphra pledges her life to the nymph, whom she will one day name Larissa. Aphra returns home, where her father has been consorting with Royalists; one of them, realising that Aphra has been keeping secrets, gives her a letter to pass on secretly to another visitor, which is how Aphra first becomes a freelance agent for the Service.

Later, young Aphra dreams of the nymph's former life in the world of the Great Houses, as a mnemonic recorder, "little book," to the mother of a secret order. The order's mother became obsessed with her belief that the Homeworld would one day find itself at war, and sought counsel from a terrible prisoner responsible for a terrible massacre at another House: a humanoid figure, its body pure black and its head a non-reflective bowl. The monster claimed to know the nature of the future Enemy, and insisted that it could win the War by altering the noospheres of the lesser species to turn them into footsoldiers willing to fight on the Great Houses' behalf. After a terrible encounter out in the Spiral Politic, the order's mother became certain that the monster's predictions were accurate, and she thus took it to a dead world on the edge of time, intending to release it as it requested so she could find out what it knew. To ensure its cooperation, she bound her own biodata to the monster and gave little book a continuity needle, a weapon that would erase her and the monster from the Spiral Politic if necessary. But the monster slaughtered the entire crew of their timeship and then tore apart the timeship itself, creating a wound in history through which it could escape. Little book could not bring herself to erase her order's mother from history, and the mother thus died conventionally, releasing the monster from her biodata. The monster tortured little book half to death but left her alive to tell the Homeworld that the monster was going to destroy their enemy for them. It then fled through the wound in Time, and little book was forced to seek sanctuary with the scavengers who had descended to pick over the remains of the battle. Nevertheless, she vowed to hunt down the monster and destroy it for what it had done.

Many years after the fiasco at Salomon's House and the incident with the Jesuitess, the Service sends Aphra Behn to France to deliver a letter to le Pouvoir. There, she encounters Sir Samuel, who is still trying to get back into the Service's good graces, and tells him a bit too much about her mission while drunk. Two prostitutes then accost her at her lodgings and lead her, blindfolded, to a room full of candles and mirrors draped in shrouds. Le Pouvoir's representative, who names himself M. Pantaloon, leaves Aphra alone while he reads the letter, and she examines the mirrors and sees the reflections of different possible futures. Pantaloon informs her that le Pouvoir will never give up its windows of divination, but it will give up the man who created them: Nate Silver, whose usefulness to le Pouvoir is now over. Aphra accompanies Silver back to England with a team of Ratcatchers, and assures him that Alice Lynch is still free. Silver, who once believed that Mankind could tame the natural forces of the world, now believes that Mankind is at their mercy instead. Aphra, for her part, is fascinated by his bruised but still youthful body, and when he tells her that he still believes in love, she takes him to bed.

Afterwards, Aphra finds Larissa waiting on deck for her, and the nymph tells her to wait on the docks when the ship arrives in England. Larissa is travelling down the safe path that is Aphra's life, seeking out the moments where it intersects with the temporal anomaly that is Nate Silver in the hope that this will lead her to the monster she's hunting. Aphra doesn't fully understand what's going on, but convinces Larissa to let her provide backup, claiming that the "safe path" may have been cleared by her enemy as a trap. She notices that Larissa's suit has a small tear in its abdomen, but because she's never been exposed to the concept of non-linear time, she has no idea that this is where Dr Bendo shot Larissa when she was the Jesuitess. Larissa doesn't want to talk about it, as her people find living biology distasteful; however, she does tell Aphra that the suit is her only way to escape from this world when her work is done. Larissa leads Aphra to an abandoned church, and they lie in wait outside.

In Paris, Cousin Greenaway returns to Nate Silver's lodgings to find agents of le Pouvoir searching it for anything that Silver might have left behind. She overpowers them with her shadow whip and forces them to reveal that Silver has been turned over to the English Service. On Erasmus's advice, Greenaway breaks into le Pouvoir's headquarters and uses her shadow whip to shatter the windows of divination; the pieces flow back together into an egg, which she swallows. Since the egg was made from the essence of the pilots, this strengthens Erasmus, who is able to transport Greenaway instantly back to England. There, however, she finds that her cousins are no longer in their shrine, only their frozen shadows and the forlorn Faction Cat. Before she can investigate, somebody steps out of hiding and coshes her in the head.

Meanwhile, the Ratcatchers take Nate Silver to a reunion with two old acquaintances: Jeova Unus Sanctus and Nick Plainsong, who both work for the Service now. Jeova apologises for Nate's rough treatment and for the fiasco at Salomon's House, which is such an embarrassment that nobody will now admit to having been Salomon. He also explains that, as a young boy resting under a tree, he witnessed a miracle that convinced him there was a War taking place in Heaven; he now believes that Silver was raised from the grave by God to become the general who will lead the children of Earth to war against the Adversary. To this end, Jeova wishes Silver to become the new Master of the Service. Silver is tempted but is also wary of being manipulated again, and he refuses to commit himself until Alice Lynch is brought from France unharmed. Nick Plainsong, who probably doesn't care about angels or devils but just wants to be on the winning side, tells Silver that they have one more visit to make tonight, where they will prove to Silver that he's been manipulated all his life by those closest to him. The divine voice that speaks in Jeova and that raised Silver from the grave has taught Nick how to entrap the members of Faction Paradox in their own shrine, an abandoned church where the Ratcatchers are holding Cousin Greenaway prisoner. To Silver's horror, Nick removes Greenaway's mask of bone to reveal that she is Alice Lynch.

Deeply wounded, Silver leaves the church, telling the Ratcatchers to let Alice go but make sure that she never comes near him again. Alice genuinely did love Silver as herself, but she's also the widow Mistress Piper and Cousin Greenaway. When Faction Cat distracts her guards for a moment, she spits the egg out of herself; it's full of Erasmus now, charged up with the energy of Alice's life, and it wraps itself around Nick's hand and chars to dust the anti-loa charm he used to trap the Cousins. As Cousin Greenaway, she then flings her whip into the shadows, and her Cousins grab it and pull themselves free. Mother Sphinx casts a ritual to make the Ratcatchers dance helplessly out of the church, and then beats up Nick Plainsong herself. Alice/Greenaway picks up the egg and follows her Cousins outside.

Silver leaves the church, crying, to find Aphra and Larissa waiting outside -- and when Jeova emerges, Larissa overpowers his Ratcatcher escort and tries to stab him with the continuity needle. But with a sudden burst of superhuman strength, Jeova knocks the needle out of her hand, and the black faceless angel that's been hiding in his life ever since his childhood spews out of him and into Larissa. This is the real reason it let her survive: to goad her into following it here so it could use her to escape this world once its work was done. But Aphra, seeing only that Jeova has somehow harmed her beloved nymph, grabs up the needle in a fit of rage and stabs him in the heart. He is far too important a figure to be erased from history as easily as Dr Bendo, and all of the higher powers in the War sense the ripples as history begins to twist out of shape around him. This is the anomaly that first attracts the attention of the pilots in Civitas Solis, causing them to send their avatars back to prevent the past from changing them out of existence. The ripples are also what attracts the attention of the self-exiled little book, who purchases a time-aware bio-suit and travels back in Time to become first the Jesuitess and then Larissa. As history begins to unmake itself, the Cousins of the Faction join forces to hold back the changes while Silver approaches the dying Jeova -- and as he does so, he realises that his own life has been extended by being spliced to Jeova's. If Silver allows Jeova to die, he can make a name for himself by taking Jeova's place in history. Instead, he pulls the needle out of Jeova's chest before it can do its work, and the ripples die down as history remains unchanged.

Meanwhile, Aphra tries to tend to Larissa, who is succumbing to the corruption of her biodata and begs Aphra not to let the monster escape. Aphra thus sticks her fingers through the hole in Larissa's suit and tears it to tatters, destroying the one thing that she could have used to leave this world. The creature thus turns on Greenaway and begins to throttle her, intending to use her as its host instead and use the Faction's rituals to escape. As she struggles, she drops the egg, and Silver picks it up and asks it to help her. The egg flows out of Silver's hand and envelops Greenaway and the war angel, who find themselves back in the memory of Mistress Piper's home. Erasmus is strong enough to stun the war angel with a blast of light as he had before, just long enough for Greenaway to rescue Larissa from its clutches. Erasmus shows her the way out of the egg, but remains there himself to keep the war angel contained. Greenaway and Larissa fall out of the egg, which momentarily shapes itself into Jeova's dark war angel but then shrivels up into a dull, dead pebble.

Jeova faints, Nick Plainsong runs away, and Silver, using his authority for the only time, orders the Ratcatcher Serjeant to take Jeova and Aphra back to their homes and to let the Faction go free for now. The Cousins have used their rituals to mend the damage caused by the near-erasure of Jeova from history, and Aphra, knowing that Larissa would shrivel and die in the mundane real world, tells her to let the Faction take her away. Since Greenaway saved Larissa's life even though she didn't need to, Larissa decides to trust the Faction enough to discuss a possible personal alliance. However, Silver has had enough of being manipulated by higher powers, and although Alice does still love him, he turns his back on her and walks away, throwing the continuity needle into the foul water of the Thames and letting it sink.

Many years later, Silver visits Aphra Behn on the last day of her life, and drives away the physician who has poisoned her with his quack cures. The dying woman tells him to find the woman that he rejected and forgive her; in the end, all that matters is love. Silver carries Aphra to the window so that she can breathe fresh air as she dies.

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • Greenaway's Cousin Suppression is seen reading a series of books called "The Homeworld Chronicles." These are presumably the Gallifrey Chronicles written by Marnal Gate, and possibly others, in the Doctor Who novel The Gallifrey Chronicles. They are here described as propaganda that puts the Homeworld in a flattering light.
  • Young Aphra Behn, while dreaming of little book's life, also dreams of an incident that may be the fall of the Imperator Presidency (described in The Book of the War, and probably a reinterpretation of the fall of Morbius in Doctor Who's The Brain of Morbius).
  • Although the connections remain implicit, we feel safe in assuming that the "war angel" that causes all of this trouble is the babel responsible for the massacre at House Catherion, and that little book's "mother" is Thessalania of the Order of the Common Weal. For more information, see The Book of the War.
  • The figure who takes Alex Bendo's place in history -- John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester -- was portrayed by Johnny Depp in the movie The Libertine. This may be an in-joke referring to the implication that Depp also "played" Little Brother Edward in Of the City of the Saved... Or a coincidence.
[Back to Faction Paradox Page]