Friday, 8 May 2015
In his "...almost monastic..." (p. 140) cabin in the Envoy, Alvin Brent displays portraits of his heroes, currently Alexander, Charlemagne and Houghton. Google Houghton and you will find, among many other items, Houghton Hall (see image), residence of the first British Prime Minister. Houghton is also a surname of thirty seven notable people although none of them is likely to be a hero to Brent.
However, Brent refers not only to the history that we share with him but also to the fictitious future history presented in the previous 139 pages of this novel. On p. 5:
"...Avery Houghton launched his coup..."
- and, on p. 13:
"...Houghton prevailed. After all, he and his cause were widely popular. He was now the permanent Chief Adviser to any and every President of the United States. The trial and execution of his predecessor assured the docility of Congress and the courts. His reign lasted until his death, nineteen years later."
A man admired by Brent. I think we know all we need to about Brent.