Monday, 6 July 2015
Food has become a major sub-theme so let's stay with it. Harvesters' sandwiches are long, freshly baked, crusty loaves cut in half and filled with melting butter, honey-cured ham, home-made mayonnaise, onions, strong cheese and mustard, accompanied by potato salad also containing red pepper, boiled shrimp, roast quail and birdshot. They drink ice-cold water and freshly squeezed lemonade. We vicariously enjoy the characters' meals.
Stirling also presents a detailed description of the harvesting process as part of his fictional travelogue of the Commonwealth of New Virginia. Meanwhile, a political conspiracy threatens to shatter the peace. A Family Prime travels in secret, his suite of rooms hidden in a giant container loaded into a transport aircraft. The conspirators have duplicated the Gate complex for assault training purposes so they have not yet duplicated the Gate itself although they have a theoretical physicist, pretending to be a geneticist, working on the problem. And a Russian colonel called Garshin might ring some Andersonian bells?