Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Will Shetterly's "The Gospel of the Knife"

Will Shetterly writes novels, screenplays, short stories, and comic books.

He applied the "Page 99 Test" to his latest novel, The Gospel of the Knife, and reported the following:
I love the page 99 test! Page 99 of The Gospel of the Knife is one of my favorites:

Chapter Two

The water's cool. Chlorine stings your eyes. The pool lights are
dim. You float in pale green space, infinite beside and below you, capped by a translucent ceiling where the water meets the air. You're surprised, not afraid. Falling into water hasn't scared you since you were five.

You swim easily upward. You must've misunderstood. Jonathan must
have bumped you, then said, "Forgive me." You'll apologize for being clumsy, and he'll insist it was his fault, and everyone will laugh. Will he get in trouble for bumping you? You hope not. Accidents happen.

As you rise at the side of the pool, you see a silhouette above you.
The shadow of a hand reaches out. You smile. Everyone will be surprised when you ignore the help and burst from the pool like a seal.

But as you reach the surface, the hand catches the top of your head,
holding you under.

This must be a joke. The hand will let go in a second, so you don't
struggle. Why embarrass everyone by panicking?

Your lungs throb for air. Your heart pounds, filling your ears with
the sound of drums. You've been held too long for a joke. You kick to drive yourself upward. You only churn water. You sweep both arms to sink below the reach of the hand. The fingers hold your skull too tightly.

The reason it's the start of Chapter Two is because the book is divided into four parts. This is Chapter Two of Book Two: The Academy.

I'm not sure what else I should tell you, except that Book Three is very different than the other three sections, but since it doesn't have a Page 99, you'll have to take my word.
Read an excerpt from The Gospel of the Knife and learn more about the book at the publisher's website. Visit Will Shetterly's website and his LiveJournal.

--Marshal Zeringue