Barnard’s Law

There’s a new story for Patrons up over at my Patreon page, for those interested in some weekend reading. A dollar buys you “Barnard’s Law”, which takes place in an alternate Elizabethan era, where the Spanish Armada succeeded, and the Court of St. James were forced to flee to England’s overseas holdings.

Now, Christopher Marlowe, playwright, gadfly and secret agent, is forced to play a deadly game in the primeval forests of the New World, in order to win allies for the nascent kingdom of Virginia, before the Spanish beat him to it…

“Barnard’s Law” is the first of several stories I planned out and started working on intermittently a few years ago, after reading Giles Milton’s book, Big Chief ElizabethIt finds Christopher Marlowe as a sort of Elizabethan James Bond, defending Queen and country against the agents of the Spanish empire, on the orders of Sir Francis Walsingham. With occasional help from Dr. John Dee, because if Walsingham is ‘M’, then Dee is ‘Q’.

The title refers to an obscure bit of Elizabethan slang. A ‘barnard’ is a member of a group of swindlers, who pretends to be the helpless victim of the gang’s chosen dupe. A ‘barnard’s law’ is when the dupe is made to believe they’re taking advantage of the barnard, when, in reality, it’s they themselves who are being swindled.

The first few hundred words of a follow up story, “The Moor of Virginia”, which finds Marlowe fighting alongside Moorish ambassador Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud in order to preserve the life of the Queen’s heir, has been sitting uncompleted on my desktop for a while now. Hopefully, I’ll manage to get that one finished as well, at some point.

Heck, time permitting, I might even start working on the alternate Elizabethan era novel I had planned…

Anyway, new story. Go read it, and drop a dollar in the jar. And be sure to check out “The Black Pullet”, as well, if you haven’t already.