Counterparts

Fresh off the press today, August 9, 2021

The Plot

If the audacious young Scot, Coinneach Throckmorton, had not failed to assassinate the Duke of Devonshire, he would not have been drawn into the plot of the houses of Devonshire and Wellington to depose Emperor Napoleon III. Moreover, the missing secret to chronomigration might never have been discovered. The terrible truth of the cause of hemodrosis, that dreadful disease known without the learned and scholarly as the Weeping Death, might never have been realized. The next great leap of technological advancement, the interface between Napoleon’s preternatural substance Ludibrium and Britain’s clockwork mechanicals, might never have been accomplished. And, ultimately, the secret means of surfing through time by way of ethereal mind streams might never have prevented the ultimate existential threat to mankind.

Luckily, then, Coin did fail, for had he not, all might now be lost and the steampunk universe never imparted.

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The Cast

Coinneach Throckmorton – a gifted young Scot traveling about with his cousins Digby and Bridget after their family and hamlet was annihilated by hemodrosis.

Helen Culling – niece of the 1st Duke of Wellington, the Iron Duke, who deposed the first Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo. Helen’s own technological cunning had saved her from the many courters, so far.

Fabian Fairchild – given the title of Count by Emperor Napoleon III and the sole right to produce the highly valued and preternatural substance Ludibrium, which, when applied to the wall of a public house common room or mansion drawing room, will show anything desired, save how it is made.

Joseph Paxton – head gardener and chief council to Lord William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire. At the duke’s behest, in our time, Paxton designed the wondrous glass structure, the Crystal Palace, for Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition of 1851. But, as the world was as it should not have been for Coin, Helen, and even Paxton himself, the structure he designs for Mayfair’s Hyde park is instead the dreadful Great Labyrinth.

Catherine Dickens – or shall we say Catherine Hogarth, for not only has the world lost the great author Charles Dickens prematurely, but, due to certain inexplicable circumstances, Catherine never married the dashing star of story, much to her own surprise.

William Harrison Ainsworth – having lost his dear friend Charles to the Weeping Death, Ainsworth has abandoned the frivolity of fiction to journal the efforts of the Dark Riders as they quarantine hamlet after village afflicted by hemodrosis.

Lord William CavendishLord Douro, son and heir of the Iron Duke; Victoria Regina, Queen of the United Kingdom and IrelandPrince Albert, her husband and consort; Lord Charles BabbageLady Ada ByronCharlotte BronteTsarevich Alexander RomanovLouis VeronHenry ChevreauCharles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France; et cetera, et cetera.