Friday, April 17, 2009

The page 69 test

I found this information while following a link from a link of Beattie's Book Blog which I found on The Campaign for the American Reader blogsite which cited Marshall McLuhan who suggested that you should choose your reading by turning to page 69 of a book and, if you like it, read it. So, I've done that withe Banquo's Son but it's not a proper test as it's still in its manuscript/copy edits stage. Still, this is page 69. What do you think?

There was a knock on the door. ‘Enter,’ Duncan called. Firth, Donalbain’s serving man, entered with a tray and another servant carried in jugs of wine. At the sight of the lone Duncan, Firth paled. ‘It’s alright, man. Father has left but I don’t think he’s wanting food just now. Perhaps if you could have some at the ready.’ The servants came further into the chamber and Duncan deliberated over having his meal here alone, in case his father came back, or to go join the others in the dining hall.
Because he didn’t know where his father had gone, nor how long he would be, he decided it prudent to stay put.
As it turned out, it was a judicious decision for not fifteen minutes after the servants had left, Donalbain returned with two of his advisors: Old Preston who had looked over his father’s affairs since Duncan was seven, Bree’s age now; a scrawny, bad tempered man who all the children of the castle loathed. There was always something distasteful about the way he looked at the girls, especially Rachel of late, and the fawning way he addressed Donalbain made Duncan’s skin crawl. They did not even enjoy a reprieve when the family fled to Ireland after King Duncan’s murder for Preston had travelled with them.
The other advisor had only joined the castle last spring. His name was Calum and he had a strange way of speaking so that Duncan had difficulty placing where he was from: the highlands? Lowlands? Further south? That he was educated was obvious and he spoke a number of languages: Latin, French, German and Celtic as well as English. He didn’t say very much but Donalbain seemed to trust him implicitly.
‘Calum,’ Donalbain said. ‘Duncan here has given some good counsel.’ Duncan saw Old Preston twitch with displeasure, his top lip lifting in a sneer. ‘He says to ignore that fool brother and get down to the business of preparations.’
Duncan knew better than to correct his father’s loose translation of his advice.
‘Indeed, your lordship,’ Calum replied, his attentions completely on Donalbain. ‘I think Duncan is very wise for his age.’
‘Just like his father then,’ Preston whined. ‘He is a mirror image of you sire.’
Donalbain ignored him. ‘We need to get the household ready to mourn my brother’s imminent death but we also need to show the people of Scotland that they are to gain a king who has the good of the country and its peoples in his heart.’ He spun around to Preston. ‘That was good – write it down!’

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