Tuesday, 23 December 2014

"Martin Schuster"

In Mirkheim, the Grand Duchess of Hermes' "...entrykeeper..." informs her:

"'Madame...Martin Schuster is waiting to see you.'"
-Poul Anderson, Rise Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2011), 234.

Although I have reread Mirkheim as often as the next Poul Anderson fan, this name surprised me and momentarily made me think that I had missed yet another of this novel's references back to earlier installments of Anderson's History of Technic Civilization. Martin Schuster was a Master Polesotechnician on Ivanhoe way back in "The Three-Cornered Wheel" so what is he doing visiting Lady Sandra Tamarin in Starfall?

I had temporarily forgotten that Schuster had had an apprentice called David Falkayn and that that same Falkayn has now made a clandestine return to occupied Hermes. He must be seeking an audience with the Duchess under this assumed name and this proves to be the case. However, this (mis)use of Schuster's name does serve a literary purpose. "The Three-Cornered Wheel" and Mirkheim are respectively the first and last works in which Falkayn appears. Thus, the name of his former Master bookends the Falkayn sub-series and reminds us of how far he has come.

Falkayn's presence and influence continue throughout the Rise... omnibus collection which opens with Mirkheim. In "Wingless":

"...Nat Falkayn rarely saw winged folk in the early part of his life. When an Ythrian did, now and then, have business in Chartertown, it was apt to be with his grandfather David or, presently, his father Nicholas..." (pp. 295-296)

And, in The People Of The Wind, which closes the volume, David Falkayn is remembered as the Founder.

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