Author’s note: Today, exclusively in cyberspace, Caroline and Jude Knight tell the story in which two of their characters meet. Half is on Caroline’s blog, and half on Jude’s. Below is Part 1, and the link to Part 2 is at the bottom.
In the virtual worlds of historical fiction, authors create whole societies of characters, interacting with real historical events and even real people. But each virtual world sits alone, never touching the worlds of other authors. Until now.
The Bluestocking Belles, as part of the launch of our new website for historical romance readers, created a magical coaching inn—fittingly called ‘The Crock and Bull’—a place for characters to meet from all of our books’ worlds and those of our guests.
Caroline Warfield and Jude Knight soon discovered the two of their characters had worked together in the past.
David Wakefield is the baseborn son of the Duke of Haverford. He earns his living as an enquiry agent. (Encouraging Prudence, work in progress to be published in September 2015)
Richard Hayden, The Marquis of Glenaire, is heir to the Duke of Sudbury. He is also Castlereagh’s protege, spymaster, diplomat, and fixer (Dangerous Weakness, yet to be published.)
The year is 1807.
David Wakefield, enquiry agent, has been asked to meet the Marquis of Glenaire at Glenaire’s office in the London headquarters of the Royal Horse Guards.
The man doesn’t seem to be a typical aristocrat, afraid of getting his hands dirty. David Wakefield knows them well, the spoiled sons of the aristocracy, sitting at desks and giving order while better men take the risks and do the work.
Glenaire’s reputation suggests he is brighter than most, and good at the shadowy work he did for the KIng. To be fair, he also seems determined to be fully involved in the errand he has employed David for. David isn’t feeling at all fair. His investigation into the murder of the courtesan Lilly Diamond is not going well, and his other investigation, for his friend Rede, is also stalled.
This job started like any other. “I need to hire a thief taker,” Glenaire had said without preamble when David was shown into his office.
“I am an enquiry agent,” David told him. Thief takers have a reputation of being little better than the criminals they round up for the reward. David objects to the term.
Glenaire had waved aside the objection, getting straight to the job he wanted to hire David for: tracking a man. “I need to know where he goes tonight. I will follow him myself, but I need someone to back me.”
In the ensuing discussion, Glenaire had agreed he would back David. “I cede my place to the Shadow,” he said.
Remembering, David narrows his eyes. Only two people know that David Wakefield and the Shadow are one and the same. The government contact who sometimes hires him, and who gave him the usename for his work as a spy. And David’s lover, the spy called Mist, whose real name is Prue.
It must have been Tolliver. The government contact has been talking out of turn.
David catches up with Glenaire at the mouth of the alley. Glenaire’s job is to point out the man he suspects of being a French spy, then follow David’s instructions to the letter.
The suspect is where they think he will be; a nondescript man known by half-a-dozen names and as many professions. And David and Glenaire soon fall into the rhythm of passing the sentinel position from one to the other, making them harder to detect as the follow the man through the streets and clubs of London.
The job is to follow, to watch were the man goes, and to see who he meets. David has drawn his own conclusions about why he is now threading his way through the London streets instead of one of Glenaire’s usual operatives.
The Marquis suspects that the spy will meeting someone from his own office.