Tuesday, November 22, 2011

At the Pemberley Ball by Jonathan Pinnock

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by Jonathan Pinnock
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I have to say that I hadn’t been looking forward to the Pemberley Ball. Dancing isn’t really my thing, you see, and I am terrible at the witty small talk that all those other Regency folk seem to be so good at. However, I certainly hadn’t expected to be chased down a corridor by a madwoman waving a machete.

The other thing I hadn’t banked on was the corridor terminating in a locked door.

“Got you!” she screamed, waving the evil-looking weapon in my face.

“Um… excuse me?” I began, unsure as to what the best way to open the conversation might be. (As I have said already, small talk is not my forte. Indeed, it is very much my pianissimo.)

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you now!”

I looked desperately over her shoulder. “Because we are at a Ball?” I essayed. “The place is teeming with revellers.”

“All busy revelling, I fear,” she said. She was right. There was not a soul to be seen, and the noise from the ballroom was deafening. The band had just started a medley of hits from the 80s – mostly Mozart, of course – and there was no chance that my screams would be heard above the din.

I racked my brains as to who this strange person might be. Perhaps it was something to do with Georgiana’s present. For some reason I’d left it at home and she’d made some sarcastic comment about it being no surprise, seeing as I’d left her out of my book as well. I tried to make light of it, remarking that no good would probably have come of such an appearance, but she remained unimpressed and more than a little sullen. So I resolved to leave her out of the sequel as well. Either that or have her subjected to death by a thousand tentacles.

Then the penny dropped.

“Oh my God, “ I said. “I think I’ve just worked out who you are.”

“Took your time, Mr P, didn’t you?” She prodded me in the ribs with the tip of the machete.

“Miss Austen, I can explain.”

“Well, go on then. I must say I’m looking forward to this.”

“Perhaps you could put the machete down first?”


“Right,” I said. “Right.” I paused. Where to begin? Where on earth to begin? “I didn’t mean any harm, you know,” I began. “It’s not as if I’m the first or last person to write a sequel to one of your books. I mean PD James – ”

“Baroness James is a distinguished author,” replied Miss Austen, “And in any case, as I understand it, there are no tentacled aliens in her book. Or ghosts. Or indeed any dubious reinvention of Mr Wickham – “ she spat out the name “ – as some kind of hero.”

“It seemed a potentially interesting narrative direction – ”

“Interesting? Admit it, sir, you were merely trying to court controversy!”

“Well, maybe a bit – ”

“And as for poor Charlotte!”

“Ah, now surely her fate came as no surprise to you? Especially when she fell in with Lord Byron.”

“Oh yes, Lord Byron.” The faintest twinkle of a smile came into Miss Austen’s eyes at the mention of his name. Then she seemed to come to her senses. “Disgraceful man. All those revolting double entendres.”

“All in the eye of the reader, ma’am,” I began, before immediately regretting it. The machete tip returned to my midriff with a vengeance.

“How dare you, sir! How dare you insinuate that I understood any of it?” There was a brief pause whilst we both considered the implications of this. “Anyway,” she continued, “you appear to have forgotten that Lord Byron is not the only writer that you have unnecessarily introduced into my work.”

“Ah. I was wondering if you were going to mention that.”

“How could I not? Although I scarcely recognise the woman who turns up in Chapter Fourteen claiming to be Jane Austen.”

“I … I know not what to say, Miss Austen. It was merely a jest – ”

“Ha. The classic response of the bully throughout the ages: ‘Can’t you take a joke?’ Well, on this occasion, I fear the answer is no, Mr P.” She withdrew the machete and for a moment I thought she was going to set me free. Instead she repositioned it next to my jugular vein. “So then, do you have anything else to say before I dispatch you?”

I thought about this for a second or two. “How about: watch out for that tentacle around your leg?”

Miss Austen shook her head. “Dear me. Is that the best you can do? Prepare to die!” She brought back the machete in order to deliver the fatal blow, then gasped and looked down at her ankle. I looked down too. There was indeed a tentacle wrapping itself around her. With a scream, she dropped the machete and fell to the floor, flailing her hands at me before being dragged off to God knows where.

Miss Austen had, alas, forgotten the golden rule of literature: however much power the characters think they have, the writer is always in control. The only problem now was that I had unleashed an alien in Pemberley. But that could be dealt with later. Now it was time to dance, and for once I actually felt like it.


Guest post created for Pemberley Ball event by Jonathan Pinnock, author of Mrs Darcy versus the Alien
© 2011. All rights reserved.

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by Jonathan Pinnock
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READ more about this DARCY world…

--~ Book Giveaway courtesy of author ~--

Mrs Darcy Versus the Alien
by Jonathan Pinnock

preparations to be made for the Pemberly summer ball, and her youngest sister Lydia has been abducted by aliens. As Regency England sleepwalks towards tentacled oblivion, will she be able to reunite with her old foe Wickham and put a stop to their evil plans?

Meanwhile, in the East End of London, the repulsive Mr Collins is running a Mission for fallen women whilst his poor wife Charlotte has fallen under the malign spell of Lord Byron and is now a laudanum addict. But is everything at the Mission all that it seems?

What is Mr Darcy doing there? And why are there strange lights in the sky over Lady Catherine de Bourgh's seat at Rosings?

This is probably the most unconventional sequel to a Jane Austen novel ever written. It is certainly the funniest.

WIN a copy of this book!

Open to all.

Offer ends: December 15, 2011

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2. Leave a comment or question for the author.


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