Thursday, 13 June 2013
Flandry At 61
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.