Thursday, 13 June 2013

Flandry At 61

Chapter III of A Stone In Heaven shows Dominic Flandry aged sixty-one, fourteen years after the violent death of his fiancee in A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows. Still in Intelligence and now a Vice-Admiral, he "...maintained three retreats..." (Flandry's Legacy, New York, 2012, p. 28). His home in the Imperial capital, Archopolis, includes a gymnasium with swimming pool and an office where he works with computers, infotrieves and eidophone.

The dining room's outer wall retracts onto a garden with a fountain, flowers both Terran and extraterrestrial, a brightly feathered singing bird from the planet Cynthia and a view of city towers that were built two hundred years previously.

Flandry's face, only the second that he has ever had, is still the one that he had biosculped when he was a Lieutenant Commander aged twenty-five. He expects to have his visibly aged Shalmuan servant, Chives, for another decade if he is lucky. Since the following volume, The Game Of Empire, set nine years later, does not mention Chives, it is almost certain that the Shalmuan will be dead by then.

We learn in Chapter IV that Flandry lectures at the Intelligence Corps Academy twice a year but meanwhile effectively makes his own assignments with a loyal staff answering only to him. Whether in spite of or because of the past achievements for which he is profusely decorated, including even the Order of Manuel (the Imperial Founder), he is disliked by the present Emperor. This fits with what we have been told of the period. Rulers lacking legitimacy fear and distrust anyone who is competent.

Flandry has come a long way since he was nineteen in Ensign Flandry. Poul Anderson has written a convincing multi-volume fictitious biography.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    One of the interesting things I noticed at the end of A STONE IN HEAVEN was how Emperor Gerhart had come to trust Flandry's advice, despite not liking him. IOW, Gerhart was able to set aside personal feelings and consider Flandry's advice as objectively as possible.


  2. Hi, Paul!

    I agree Dominic Flandry was aged 61 in A STONE IN HEAVEN and that Chives most likely died of old age by the time of THE GAME OF EMPIRE. But, I don't think GAME occurred nine years after STONE; rather, that book was set six years later. One piece of evidence is this bit about the ages of Flandry and his wife Miriam from Chapter 12 of THE GAME OF EMPIRE: "Not quite, he approaching seventy and she approaching fifty..." Since Lady Flandry was 17 years younger than Sir Dominic, I interpreted this to mean she was just shy of fifty and her husband was 67.

    I argue that age 67 IS to be approaching age 70. And that it's implausible and unnecessary to neatly round off all dates and ages at the end/beginning of decades.