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The General

Volume 4 of The Interregnum
A Novel of the Timestream
Copyright August 2004

by R. Sutcliffe

see also
Volume 1 -- The Peace
Volume 2 -- The Friends
Volume 3 -- The Exile

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Many thanks to all the proofreaders and editors. Your suggestions were all considered and almost all were adopted. Remaining errors are entirely my fault.

Plot Summary

The General is book four in the Christian sf (alternate history) series The Interregnum, set on Ortho-Earth (Greater Hibernia) during the sixty-year ban on the throne following the 1941 deposition of James IV, High King over two of the six Timestream earths. The action of this volume takes place on Hibernia and Tirdia (Prime), with arcs of the story cycle rotating among three accounts, one of Mara Meathe and friends, a second of Tad O'Kelly (previously met as Blue Army Sergeant Cadet at Kilkarney) and a third of mysterious goings-on at Chilliwack on Tirdia.

Hibernia: Mara comes to court at Tara, confronts Frank Haggerty, and is then sent on a series of assignments all over the world by the Donal. Is he trying to teach her something, or kill her? Meanwhile, old acquaintances Cath Maguire and Maeve Derry have their own adventures in Centralia, South America, and West China. Nellie Hacker continues to labour at Moody. Cath puts out a call for help in fighting floods and bandits that gathers all four women to a date with disaster.

Tad O'Kelly graduates from Kilkarney with a fistful of honours, and becomes an army forensic investigator who finds himself looking into a long string of murders, disappearances, violent crimes, and battlefield analyses. The pressure nearly destroys him before he is taught salvation in an unlikely place and by an unexpected person. When he later finds himself appointed judge in a high profile court marshall, he needs all his skill and plenty of help to avoid a miscarriage of justice.

Tirdia: This arc commences during Tad's tenure as Senchus when Day is sent to Tirdia to keep an eye on a high profile physician. Joined by the distraught Nellie Hacker, the two encounter thieves, spies, traitors, gangsters and murderers as they try to make sense of the mystery behind a Tirdian nursing home. Day's old flame Sandy MacFarlaine returns to the action, joins with local paper boy Lucas Caine, (now Inspector) Morris O'Malley, and General Zeke O'Connor to recover stolen electronics and guns, and help an old lady recover memories that hold keys to solving Tad's case back on Hibernia. Sandy gets that first kiss he missed in a previous volume, but not, of course, from Day.

Hibernia's deposed King, James IV, continues to influence events from behind the scenes as various of his allies and enemies try to determine what became of him after the 1941 deposition. Scholars, students, soldiers, loyalists, rebels, and athletes--among them Christians, agnostics, and hardened sinners--populate the history of his interregnum. He and Clan MacCarthy's leaders continue pursuing incompatible visions of Tara's throne--a symbol of justice, honour, and individual dignity for James, of racist oppression and casual human experimentation for his opponents.

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