Saturday, May 5, 2012

In which the Author cites a connection between Cinco de Mayo to the current work

First let me quote from that eminently unimpeachable source, Wikipedia:
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a celebration held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico—which is actually celebrated on September 16.
Okay so let me break it all down: During the time period that Pont-au-Change takes place, the same Napoléon III that Victor Hugo hated so much was also trying to expand colonial interests in the New World. Mexico was the last major French colony in the Western Hemisphere; they'd grabbed it from the Spanish and they meant to keep it, even installing their own Emperor, Maximillian. And the battle of Puebla was basically to Mexico what Waterloo was to the English. Any excuse to kick the crap out a Napoléon, huh? And despite the inclination to make a "French Military Victories" remark, at the time the French were rolling on 50 years of straight victories. After this, it kind of went south in a handbasket for them. Seven years later the Prussians were rolling down the Champs-Élysées for the first time, and they liked it so much they did it again seventy years after that, before the Maquis (with Allied backup) got them to knock it off.

And if you think that somehow this little factoid about the holiday we now more or less celebrate as Cinco de Drinko will not somehow make its way into the current book Honor, you are sadly mistaken. It's merely a footnote to the overall work (since the battle takes place six years after the episodes in Guernsey) but it's in there. By the end of the year when Honor is complete, you'll see it.

For me, though, it's kind of an in-joke, a self fulfilling Easter Egg: this is the very part where the Pont-au-Change universe collides with another of my book universes: the same one that 500 years later will be the Timeless universe, the one where this story and these people exist too. Kind of like this, really.

But that is another story, and shall be told at another time.

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