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Hey! Remember Puss? You know,
the boot-loving roustabout who lived by his wits?
He’s back.
This go-round, the cutie’s thwarting goofy skullduggery in sixteenth century Europe.

An Icon of Children’s Literature Reimagined in a Series of Novellas

 

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A highly stratified society was crumbling. 

A measure of social mobility was possible for the first time, brains and pluck the key to advancement. Into the muck and the murk I’ve flung Sylvester Boots. He pokes his digits into many a pie, including a putrid Traitor’s Pie in Elizabethan England.

I’ll jog your memory:

Puss (I call him Sly) had snagged himself a plum position as advisor to a king in a backwater realm. He’s lived the high life way too long. Sated with the excess and over-refinement of court life, he seeks to recapture a simplicity which he years before had exchanged for the glories of a diplomatic career.

He and a rotating cast of nitwits

bully and bluff their way across Europe in a saga of misery and mayhem, filled with vibrant personalities including a Queen Elizabeth-wannabe monkey and a mentally unstable frog who believes himself an enchanted prince. My sad-sacks deal with injustice, with personal failures, and with heartbreak. I butt in, discussing situations and making suggestions which are seldom helpful.

This is silly fantasy,

goosed with what appears to be a wealth of scholarly detail. Take the history with a grain of salt. I’ve fudged facts. I’ve embellished. I’ve plundered history books for zany material and woven the scavenged bits into my narrative; I hope it sounds like I know what I’m talking about. (I don’t.)

I’ve cheated outrageously on my sea-going episode. I don’t know a damn thing about ships. It’s all made up, out of nautical novels, mostly. If you find fault with my depiction, email me and I’ll fix it.

My story is told in a cascade of related adventures.

I’ve discovered that what I’ve cobbled is called a picaresque tale, the outstanding example of which is Don Quixote. I’m thrilled to be in such company.

I read DQ, of course, in school, fifty years ago. I don’t remember a damn thing about it. At that age, you read for the story. I’m going to reread it one of these days, to see what I can learn from the style.


The picaresque novel (Spanish: picaresca, from pícaro, for “rogue” or “rascal”) is a genre of fiction that depicts the adventures of a roguish, but “appealing hero”, of low social class, who lives by his or her wits in a corrupt society.

 

 

 

 

 

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.Grunge brown paper, with nice grain on the surface.

Yep. The Holy Virgin,* (aka Mary, Mother of God)

was the catalyst (sort of–it’s complicated) behind a long, strange trek.

*Not to be confused with The Virgin Queen, also pictured.

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So, who are these people?

Start with the Holy Virgin–you can pick her out, I hope–and follow the arrows.

            1. Virgin Mary
            2. Pedro, a runaway Duke.
            3. A dancing bear in a shabby street-show.
            4. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
            5. Sha-Sha, a monkey at Queen Elizabeth’s court.
            6. Queen Elizabeth of England.
            7. John Dee, her Royal Astrologer.
            8. A rat, one of many you’ll meet a bit down the road.
            9. A frog, who’s convinced he’s an enchanted prince.
            10. Sly. He can be nasty. Don’t mess with him.

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