The Raven and the Pig
by Lou Kemp
GENRE: Magical Realism
Synopsis of The Raven and the Pig Book 2
As the music dies, the magician Celwyn is mortally wounded. His darker, immortal brother Pelaez brings him back, barely, with his magic. The party of protagonists travel on the Nautilus to the Cape Verde Islands and the healer of immortals. During the journey, Professor Kang and Bartholomew can not tell if Pelaez will keep his brother alive. Captain Nemo is ready to evict Pelaez forcibly, and keeping Celwyn alive is the only thing that restrains him.
After Celwyn is saved, the healer requests payment for his services. This sends the adventurers to the catacombs in Capuchin where their experience is one they will not forget. Before it is over, several of the protagonists question why it seems everyone from warlocks and vampires to witches, seem to be congregating in their world. Before it is over, some of them become surprising allies, and a few of their allies turn against them.
In part II, work on the new flying machine begins in earnest bringing attention from the Mafioso and a cherub-like warlock called Duncan. After a final battle with Duncan, the flying machine is destroyed and everyone at their compound is murdered by one of their own.
The rolling hills near Odessa, north of Constantinople 1867
With each step he took, Professor Xiau Kang sensed the intensity, and importance of what he would find. Above all, he felt the weight of his sadness. He had done his best to ignore that there was no guarantee Captain Nemo had located Thales, if Nemo failed to find him, Jonas Celwyn would be dead within a matter of days, perhaps hours.
A long time ago, on the Zelda, the magician had doubted a mechanical man could feel. Kang paused, swaying on his feet as he fought to regain his control; at this moment, the automat knew real despair, a wrenching grief that they would lose Jonas. He swallowed hard and walked faster, climbing to the top of the berm.
There she was! The long black submarine lay still in the water. A single sailor stood on patrol, and another perched in the cage on top with a spyglass.
Kang called, “I’ll get Mr. Celwyn. Please let the Captain know we’re here.”
Conductor Smith joined him as they ran back to the coach. The others had seen them and began unloading the magician onto the stretcher that Kang had fashioned for this moment. He skidded to a stop and grabbed Celwyn’s hand.
“The Nautilus is here. It isn’t far.”
In the distance, a low hum reached them; the sound sputtered and grew stronger.
The magician’s eyes opened slowly, like a thread from his memory raised his lids, impelling him to look. Everyone, including Jonas, gazed upward, as if they had already known what was to come.
The noise grew louder, and then a bright yellow flying machine crested the low hills and headed toward the estuary.
“Yes!” Kang shouted, raising his fist in triumph.
The plane swerved to the north, banked, and then flew toward them again in a wide arc.
“Oh, my God, it’s Bartholomew,” Elizabeth exclaimed.
Bartholomew wore a broad smile and his scarf fluttered in the breeze as he sailed over them. He waved. As he banked again, the engine revved and he turned, descending for another pass. Celwyn raised himself onto an elbow to wave back.
“Hurry,” Kang said. “Bartholomew is going to land. We have to get Jonas onto the ship.”
Interview with the Author
What part of an author lives within their characters?
Here are a few of the characters from the Celwyn series, and what motivates them.
Initially, the immortal peyote-eating magician Jonas Celwyn and Professor Kang, an automat and scientist, meet under difficult circumstances. The magician was hired to deliver Kang to a man called Talos. But as the time drew near to do so, Celwyn and Kang became fast friends and confidants and Talos was the one who died.
As Kang gets to know him during their adventures, he finds Celwyn is lovable to all he meets, he is also unpredictable, violent, and Kang enjoys any opportunity to nag him to be safer. When Bartholomew joined their party, he dived into the dangers they faced. One of the first things he saw was Celwyn tossing a nasty vampire called Mrs. Karras off an Orient Express-type train in the mountains near Iran.
Bartholomew thinks nothing of taking on a collection of knife and gun wielding Mafioso, but most of Celwyn’s magic frightens him. He is the bravest, most superstitious man that Celwyn has met, and the magician can’t imagine their party being without him. The automat is hundreds of years old, just as Celwyn is, and they likely will be around hundreds of years more. By book 3, the magician has devised a way to keep Bartholomew with them that will scare him even more.
Who is the other voice of reason? Annabelle, the heiress who bribes them into taking her along as they travel across Asia and into Europe. She doesn’t put up with Celwyn magical antics, and as the story progresses, she finds that is the least she should worry about. When the magician installs them in what appears to be a high-class bordello to hide from their enemies, Annabelle puts her foot down. Celwyn changes their rooms into something else right before her eyes. Her moment of accepting his magic occurred then, and she swallowed it along with a caustic comment the situation deserved. She becomes a good-natured voice of reason as they travel west, and the others take care not to unduly alarm her with things not easily explained.
Do authors identify with their characters? Do they love them and hate to kill them off? Yes, usually.
Celwyn displays some of my personality, as does Kang and Bartholomew. Without an internal audit, can I approve of everything Celwyn does? Perhaps. More likely, I’ll accept it because of where I want the plot to go, allowing his actions whether good or bad.
Then there is Celwyn’s immortal and immoral brother. He joins the series in Book 1, Music Shall Untune the Sky as he saves Celwyn from death, but then in Book 2, The Raven and the Pig, he is caught twisting Celwyn’s arm as he lay near death. Pelaez has his own agenda, and eventually Captain Nemo will find out what he is capable of.
The complex personality of Pelaez is the main story in the companion book, Farm Hall. It chronicles the immortal Pelaez’s antics in 1945 in an English manor with a collection of Hitler’s atomic scientists.
Do I approve of Pelaez?
To a point.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Early work was horror and suspense, later work morphed into a combination of magical realism, mystery and adventure painted with a horrific element as needed.
I’m one of those writers who doesn’t plan ahead, no outlines, no clue, and I sometimes write myself into a corner. Atmospheric music in the background helps. Black by Pearl Jam especially.
More information is available at LouKemp.com. I’d love to hear from you and what you think of Celwyn, Bartholomew, and Professor Xiau Kang.
2009 The anthology story Sherlock’s Opera appeared in Seattle Noir, edited by Curt Colbert, Akashic Books. Available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. Booklist published a favorable review of my contribution to the anthology.
2010 My story, In Memory of the Sibylline, was accepted into the best-selling MWA anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris. The immortal magician Celwyn makes his first appearance in print.
2018 The story, The Violins Played before Junstan is published in the MWA anthology Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry. The Celwyn series begins.
Present The full length prequel, The Violins Played before Junstan, to the Celwyn book series is published on Kindle. The companion book, Farm Hall is also published where Pelaez, another immortal magician and Celwyn’s brother, makes his first appearance. The remaining books in the series: Music Shall Untune the Sky, The Raven and the Pig, The Pirate Danced and the Automat Died, will be available beginning in August 2021.
Book Video: https://youtu.be/L9AP32VkY2E
Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Pig-Book-Celwyn-ebook/dp/B09KXFWBZC/
Lou Kemp will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner, a 2nd randomly drawn winner a mug and pen with the book image and a 3rd randomly drawn winner will win a eBook via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway