THE ANNE-MARIE CHRONICLES
BOOK THREE - THE HOUSE OF THE WORLDS
The sixth book in the saga, this continues on from the "The Maltese Affair".
Four months on from their last adventure, and Anne-Marie’s friend Claire Churchill returns to Malta to see old friends and lovers, and prepare for Anne-Marie and Damian Munday, Damian’s son Darryl Franchot, and Claire’s mother Doreen to take their first real vacation in the ‘New Way’ world. One of her first tasks is to find permanent accommodation in Valletta, and this she soon achieves, the mysterious La Casa dei Mundi - the House of the Worlds. Soon, however, and even before the arrival of her friends and mother, her own relationships grow more complicated and intense, and especially her love affair with ‘village idiot’ Ticho Sodoma’s married female cousin, Gessica Jacometti. But, as always, there is danger and former adversaries never far away, and it is also sometimes difficult to separate friend from enemy, while the house and its peculiar turret-cum-star-gazing observatory seems to hold an ancient, dark, and potentially dangerous secret.
MALTA, THE INDEPENDENT MOTHERLAND OF - Ever since the 16th century the Knights of St. John of Malta, also known as the Hospitallers, had ruled Malta in 'perpetual fief'; first to Spain, then to the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies. However, by the beginning of the 19th century they were bankrupt, morally corrupt, militarily impotent and fast losing the will to govern. From 1825 onward Naples installed a governor-general, in effect imposing direct rule. But by the second half of the 19th century the Neapolitan Kingdom too was in dire straits, increasingly reliant on British finance and military support against predatory nations like France or Spain, or even Russia. One hundred years on, and the Maltese resented both the arrogance of the British presence (including their criminal gangs) and the combined indifference, corruption and incompetence of Neapolitan rule. Throughout the 20th century the 'Italian Question' had resulted in virtual stalemate in the proxy war between Britain, France, and latterly Greater Hungary, each of whom controlled or exerted influence over different parts of the peninsula. Hungary controlled the former Venetians lands, France propped up the Papal States, and periodically threatened the Kingdom of Piedmont. This situation started to change when, by the 1980s, the New Way began making inroads into southern Italy - politically with various coalitions and 'umbrella' parties such as Women First and New Dawn, and in alliance with the Revolutionary Communalist Party. The New Way political system worked from the bottom up, establishing clinic, women's hospitals, schools, community centres, Gnostic temples or meeting places, thereby building what was in effect a state-within-a-state. The Neapolitan Kingdom's response was both authoritarian - powers for the Inquisition and their militant arm, the Companions of the Holy Faith (the Compagnia Cristiano della Santa Fede) - while also often indecisive and timid, fearful of antagonizing a long-suffering populace and provoking unrest. In Malta the crisis came in 1993, with new elections to the local assembly in which the New Way and Communalists won a clear majority. When the governor-general tried to suspend the assembly disturbances quickly escalated into widespread anger and outright rebellion. Violent intervention by Neapolitan and British troops gave the New Way new martyrs and within weeks the old order was toppled, swept aside, and governing Committee of Sixteen took control, followed soon after by the Independent Motherland of Malta being declared and integrated almost immediately into the League of Small Sovereign States. The political and religious centre of gravity had shifted from the Rome and Paris of continental Europe, instead to Egypt, Cyrenaica, Mesopotamia and Persia.
This book is still in the process of being written.
by G. G. Anderson