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A Series of Novellas

The Diamond Grenade

Let’s see, so: it’s the story of a family, right? A whole family line, from Old Gur the Boatman down through his daughter Guri the Boatman (because there is no word for a boat woman).


Guri has her son Gur from Tuc, who promptly splits. Gur marries Honoria, and they have triplets: Donus, Florian, and Beatus.


Honoria took to traveling… and eventually ran off with a soldier. Gur… hardly missed her. He missed the three wives, was who he missed. When Donus, Florian, and Beatus returned to the city, Gur implored them to remarry. “Impossible,” was their unanimous reply. That’s the first spoken line in The Diamond Greande: “Impossible.”


Is it hard to keep up with who’s who? Don’t worry, you’ll get it as you go. Let's start with Lev.


Lev is the grandson of Gur’s second wife. Inevitably, Guri found Gur a mate. She was a mere ticket-taker, Guri told him, and twice the age of the rest. Gur bridled at this description until he conversed with the woman long enough to perceive some of her more remarkable features.


Not only did she have a good head on her shoulders, a way with people, and good hair, she was also the niece of the ringmaster and owner of the circus – the largest single operation in the whole sprawling traveling affair.


And her name is Colia. Yeah, Colia is Lev’s grandmother. Because she has Anrea, who becomes the state’s first female magistrate, and finds Lev in a basket by a library at age one. Lev the Foundling.


Lev is the narrator/author of the first four novellas of The Diamond Grenade. He is the one who builds the… um… the sparkly munition.


But it is the narrator of the fifth and final novella who finally pulls the pin. His name is Whit, and he is the son of either Donus, Florian, or Beatus.


The triplets are minstrels, popular throughout the land for their ability to insult people in an incomprehensible language of their own.


Lev goes to a performance of his three minstrel uncles: At the show, I occupy a big clean house for the first time.


Despite impeccable grooming, I feel as though I am leaving smudges of inferiority everywhere. The staff of the house see right through me. But then my uncles are there and all proceeds swimmingly as they entertain. Most of the privileged youth dance. I dance. Florian lays his head back on his own shoulder and lets out a loud drone while thumping his neck with his index finger. Most everybody laughs. I laugh. Beatus laughs. Everybody Beatus-laughs. The Beatus-laugh. It sounds like two birds having at each other. Everybody loves to impersonate it.


Lev dies at the end of the fourth novella. Whit is left to do Book V, which he entitles An Afterword by the Editor. There’s a lot more to Lev. He fathers a nation born of bloody revolution, basically.


But Lev’s dead. Actually, by the end of the books, the new nation is no longer a nation. It's a reservation. Then the self-proclaiming messiah comes. And goes.