A big welcome to D. B. Jackson who is here with an interview with Mister Ethan Kaille and celebrating the release of A PLUNDER OF SOULS, Thieftaker Chronicles #3 (published on July 8, 2014 by Tor). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.
Interview with Mister Ethan Kaille
D. B. Jackson
We at the Boston Gazette are delighted to be joined today by Mister Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker of some renown here in our fair city. His past exploits have been described by the author D.B. Jackson in his “Thieftaker Chronicles,” and Mister Jackson has a new volume, A Plunder of Souls, which will be available to all in another few days.
Mister Kaille has been a sailor in His Majesty’s navy, serving aboard the Stirling Castle at the Battle of Toulon during the War of the Austrian Succession. And he has had . . . other interesting experiences as well, before most recently engaging in his friendly rivalry in Boston’s streets with the Empress of the South End herself, Miss Sephira Pryce.
EK: [Laughs] ‘Friendly rivalry?’ Is that what you’d call it?
Gazette: Would you call it something else?
EK: Aye. Would you like me to show you the scar I bear from her blade, or those given to me by her toughs during the many beatings I’ve endured at their hands over the years. This is no idle sport we engage in, she and I. It is an ongoing battle, in earnest.
Gazette: And why is that? Have you given offense? Has she?
EK: As far as Sephira is concerned, my very existence is an offense. She brooks no rivals; if she had her way, she would be the lone thieftaker in all of Boston.
Gazette: Am I to take it then that you don’t care for Miss Pryce?
EK: We don’t care for each other. But that’s a trifle. As long as she allows me to ply my trade, I am happy to live with her enmity. For my part, I am more than willing to admit that she is a formidable woman: intelligent, canny, skilled with blade and fists, and beautiful as well. But that doesn’t mean that I will be sending a Christmas gift to her home come December.
Gazette: Very well. Perhaps we should move on. Since your return to Boston in 1760, you have been dogged by rumors. Some say that you are a witch, skilled in the ways of dark magick. Others claim that you are merely a charlatan who pretends to possess powers that remain well beyond your reach. How do you respond?
EK: I don’t.
Gazette: [Pauses] That’s all? Surely you don’t wish for this gossip to go unanswered.
EK: Idle gossip bandied about by the small-minded does not concern me. I can explain until I’m blue in the face that I am neither a witch nor a charlatan, but rather a conjurer, wielding powers that were passed to me by my mother, and to her by her mother. I have done tremendous good with the spells I have cast, and I have done some things which to this day I regard with deep regret. The conjurings themselves have no inherent evil, or virtue, for that matter. They reflect my own good intentions and human imperfections. But many simply assume that because they do not understand my powers, the powers themselves must be inherently dark, and I must be some sort of villain. And to that I say, so be it. I’ll not waste my breath defending myself when my protests repeatedly go unheeded.
Gazette: And what of those who would see you hanged as a witch?
EK: To them I would say that my execution, or that of any of Boston’s other conjurers, would be a grave miscarriage of justice. And then I would wish them luck finding a rope that would hold me.
Gazette: Again, I think it best that we move on. You have had dealings, we know, with no less a personage than Samuel Adams, a leading voice among those who agitate against the depredations of Parliament and for the cause of liberty here in the North American colonies. What can you tell us about him?
EK: He’s a good man.
Gazette: Once more, Mister Kaille, I find your reticence curious. Do you think poorly of Mister Adams?
EK: Not at all. A few years ago Mister Adams saved my life. But in the past, at least, he and I have disagreed on matters of politics.
Gazette: You’re a loyalist, then.
EK: I was. This occupation of Boston by His Majesty’s army has changed my thinking somewhat. I cannot abide armed British soldiers being garrisoned in our city, and I fear that before long the presence of these men will lead to bloodshed and death. But while Mister Adams and I agree on that much, we do not always see eye-to-eye on the proper tactics for making that case. [Pauses] I’m sorry if I have given offense; I know that the Gazette is Boston’s leading Whig newspaper.
Gazette: Yes. Mayhap it would be best if again we pursued a different subject. What can you tell us about a newcomer to our city: a merchant captain named Nathaniel Ramsey?
EK: His father was Nathaniel; he goes by Nate.
Gazette: So, you do know him.
Gazette: Rumor has it that he is a conjurer, like you.
EK: He is, but the similarities end there. He’s a dangerous man, someone to be avoided at all costs.
Gazette: Can we assume then that you think of him much the way you do Sephira Pryce?
EK: No. He is worse by far than Sephira. For all her cruelty and capriciousness, she is at least somewhat predictable. She acts always out of self-interest. She is rational, albeit in a manner that is colored always by avarice and a hunger for power. Ramsey is . . . there is no other way to say it: He is unbalanced. He has been consumed with grief and bent on vengeance for so long, that I fear his sanity has suffered. There is no predicting what he might do, or who he might harm in pursuit of his twisted aims. I am not above admitting that I fear our next encounter.
Gazette: Your past dealings with him did not go well.
EK: No, they did not. I was hired to protect two merchants who had hounded his father until the elder Ramsey took his own life. I failed to protect them, and after committing murder, Ramsey escaped Boston. I had hoped at the time that we would see no more of him. But now, it seems, he is back, no doubt with some nefarious purpose in mind.
Gazette: I would assume that you have heard as well that small pox has broken out in Boston. I am wondering . . . there is no delicate way to ask this. Do conjurers such as yourself fear the distemper as do the rest of us?
EK: Aye, we do. There is no magic — at least none of which I am aware — that can make a conjurer immune to the disease. I may be wrong about this, and I will inquire about it with a friend of mine who knows far more about conjuring than I do. [Raises a hand and shakes his head.] Do not ask; I will not share with you this person’s name. But I will add that even if we did not fear for ourselves, we would fear for the well-being of those we know and love. Small pox is more merciless even than Ramsey. It spares no one.
Indeed, now that you have brought these matters to my attention, I feel that I must cut short our interview and see to more pressing concerns. Ramsey is abroad in the streets, and small pox threatens all of us. This is not the time for casual conversation. I have much to do. Farewell!
Gazette: But wait! Mister Kaille, please! There are readers here who wish a quick word with you. Will you not remain, at least briefly, and answer some questions from them?
EK: [Sighs] Yes, very well. A few questions. But then I really must go.
Gazette: Of course. Thank you, Mister Kaille. You have heard him, gentle reader. Other matters clamor for his attention, but our thieftaker and conjurer will entertain questions before he leaves. Won’t you remain as well and engage our guest in brief conversation?
D. B. Jackson
1 signed copy of A PLUNDER OF SOULS
A PLUNDER OF SOULS by D. B. Jackson
Available on July 8, 2014 by Tor
Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villans and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious.
A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille’s minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related…but how?
When Ethan discovers the source of this trouble, he realizes that his conjure powers and those of his friends will not be enough to stop a madman from becoming all-powerful. But somehow, using his wits, his powers, and every other resource he can muster, Ethan must thwart the monster’s terrible plan and restore the restless souls of the dead to the peace of the grave. Let the battle for souls begin in A Plunder of Souls, the third, stand-alone novel in Jackson’s acclaimed Thieftaker series
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