After yesterday’s cover reveal, it’s time to write a little about Sketches of China, my fifth novelette in the Hope & Glory series that acts as an introduction/prequel for the game, that will be out very soon.
The plan for the novelettes was to try and show a different corner of the Hope & Glory world with each story.
So we’ve been through the Anglo-Indian Ray (Glass Houses), North Africa (Number the Brave), the Imperial court of Russia (Part of the Machine), on a flying ship belonging to the Republic of Iezo (Above the Clouds) and now, China.
Also, each novelette tackles a different genre, showcasing the different themes and gaming approaches the players will be able to adopt in the game.
So we’ve seen a spy story (Glass Houses), a war story (Number the Brave), a noir (Part of the Machine), a “big dumb object” SF story (Above the Clouds) and now…
Now it’s interesting, because of all the corners of the Hope & Glory world, China is the most post-apocalyptic and the most sinister.
OK, Russia is plenty sinister, but it’s a different sort of sinister.
Russia is a totalitarian police state with a population that is slowly drifting towards an eloi/morlocks split; China is a theocracy, a police state with ESP policemen.
Interestingly enough both these empires are snowbound and torn by internal dissent.
And because I wanted to do something different, this story is told from the point of view of the ESP policeman.
The Eyes of the Emperor are sort of the Hope & Glory version of Judge Dredd’s Judge Anderson (with a nod and a wink to Judge Dee), and they come with the added bonus of The Hand of the Emperor, that is a sexy, lethal version of Wolverine, but better. Much better.
And I owe a lot to Angelo Montanini’s sketch for the characters, that really helped me see and define these characters.
Also, I wanted to talk about warlords and life outside of imperial palaces, and so the story takes place in an out-of-hand province, far from what passes for civilization.
All the novelettes in the Hope & Glory series are stand-alone, and can be enjoyed in any order, but they all are linked to each other, often by very subtle lines.
In this sense, Sketches of China builds on the events of Part of the Machine, and takes place a few months after that story.
But as I said, they can be enjoyed together, ore separately.
And I hope you will.