The Black Box has reached the proof stage, the cover art is done, and the book will be out in January 2011. Meanwhile, here’s a bit of a introduction to the new story.
Our Heroes, of course, are Jordan and Helen and Cassandra the sentient virtual supercomputer, from The Cassandra Virus and The Drone War. However, in this one Helen and Jordan aren’t home in Easter River or off visiting Cassie (the sister) in Cataraqui; they go across the Bay to Spohrville.
Hmm, you may say. I’ve heard of Spohrville. Something to do with eels. Or was it werewolves?
Paul Marlowe put a passing mention of Jordan’s home town of Easter River into his book Knights of the Sea, as part of the landscape of the Maritimes in 1888. I returned the favour by stealing his town for my story set in 2020 (or thereabouts). (Yes, I did ask, beforehand.)
Mr Marlowe in fact created a couple of characters for my story. Jordan and Helen are off visiting Jordan’s Uncle William, an archaeologist. (He’s actually William Ludlow, which makes him a descendant of Denis from Marlowe’s book Sporeville.) While there, they become friends with a couple of older teens, Arielle and Demetrios Graven, who live at the Old Fort above Spohrville. Ari and Dee are members of an historical re-enactment society called the Spohrville Fencibles, which gives displays of circa-1812 military drills for tourists. But is it just chance that Arielle claims to have very good night vision?
Anyhow, the story itself: Uncle William has found a peculiar rock, or possibly artefact, while excavating what is supposed to be an Acadian farm site, something is interfering with satellite and radio signals around Spohrville, and the house up the road has been rented by a flock of birdwatchers who seem to think they can find an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the forests of Nova Scotia. They all have very military haircuts and are taking far too great an interest in Uncle William’s archaeology. On top of that, Reuben Harvey, one of the two Bureau 6 agents who have been plaguing Jordan’s existence since book one, is in Spohrville, supposedly on holiday, but who’s going to believe that? And he seems no longer to believe that Cassandra is merely a prank programme written to tease Cassie.
And on top of that, there’s a hurricane coming up the Bay of Fundy, aimed right at Spohrville.