Sequel & prequel to his ‘MOSAIC’, Clive Ashman’s second starts with high-speed 1950s action, before we revert to modern Europe. To a complex society on the brink & those two Newcastle lawyers caught in its chaos – financial, social & political. Two old friends escaping home, work & family on their trip to Italy for today’s modern-day version of the famed ‘Mille Miglia‘ – a recreated road-race run from Brescia to Roma & back. Nostalgically evoking that 1957 version where a notorious fatal accident once got the whole thing banned…
Competing in car no. ‘286‘ today are Geordie barrister, Bill Cariss, with his colleague Michael Tryton. Though why Bill kept disappearing during the race (or Michael fixates on his wife) won’t meet explanation until they’re finally home. Battling back from Italy to northern England through a world whose computers are down, its infrastructure failing. Driving back to Rotterdam in Bill’s old 1950s Lancia – ‘Xenobia‘ – to fight for a place on the final Hull ferry. An awful sea journey thats only the start of it – when both a Home Secretary’s minder or even the Carabinieri seem to harbour old grudges, want to dig up the past…
To another time, another era – one soon strangely familiar. To AD 286, where a junior military tribune his admiral nicknames’Triton‘ finds himself drawn into a whole continent of social unrest. An insecure era riven by monetary collapse & political crises, hyper-inflation or taxation. An empire criss-crossed by the flight of refugees & raiders from the sea, by the forced march of armies. Or an isolated Britannia which that mentor he so admires, Mauseus Carausius (the Belgic river-pilot who defies an empire, commands whole fleets and legions) is determined to transform into safe refuge of sorts. Walling-up his rebel island for protection against this rising sea of dangers, but barred from Europa for his defiance of Rome.
Asymmetric and awful: so here’s how it reads, if brutal and crude. With ‘286‘ as the number which all of them share. That number which binds them – across two separate eras. Be it future or past, whether leave or remain, it seems the sum’s just the same:
Two men against Europe, one woman between them. If Diana’s the Huntress – the ‘Sea-Wolves‘ their quarry – what calculations save them?
Men leave no mark on the sea and nor would I
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“TWO-EIGHT-SIX” (Clive Ashman)
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