Henry V, in…Japan?
From Dreaming Spies:
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks;
A largess universal, like the sun
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear . . .
A little touch of Harry in the night.
At the early stages of a book, a writer plays with a lot of pieces to this puzzle she’s designing, trying to decide how they might fit together. Japan: yes, that’s an early decision, to set one part of the book there, in 1924. And I’ve mentioned elsewhere that Russell and Holmes were working for “the emperor of Japan”, so someone of that description needs to play a part. And something that can not only tie Japan to Oxford, but Basho’s poems and Hokusai’s art as well, and—
What? Of course not, go away and let me work. The old post roads between Tokyo and Kyoto: those link the poet and the artist, and also link Japan and Oxford, so—
Oh for heaven’s sake, what does Shakespeare have to do with this? I’m writing a mystery novel, for heaven’s sake, set in 1924 Japan and—
Henry V. A young king and his old fool. A call to battle that rings across three hundred years to stir the blood of another generation of young men going to war in France. A discussion of the nature of kingship…
What? Oh. Well.
So, Henry V it is, then.
My upcoming events are here.