Limerick editions of Pericles Commission & Ionia Sanction

A very clever reader named Rebecca Gebhardt Brizi has written limerick editions of both The Pericles Commission and The Ionia Sanction. I discovered these by accident and wanted to share them. 

So here they are, on Rebecca's blog:

The Pericles Commission: a synopsis in limerick!

The Ionia Sanction: a synopsis in limerick!

I'm supposed to write a synopsis for each of my books, when I submit them to the publisher.  I might hire Rebecca to do my next one.


So now I'm listed in a book of quotations

Here’s an odd thing.  I am now listed in a book of quotations.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Tweet: Five Hundred 1st Lines in 140 Characters or Less is a compilation of opening lines of various novels.  

The opening line of The Pericles Commission is included. She’s also used it as one of three samples in her book description.  (along with John Scalzi and John Miller; I am in good company).

What's the line?  Well, if you read this blog, then you've already seen it once or twice.  The first line of my first book was

"A dead man fell from the sky, landing at my feet with a thud."

When I created the blog, I was stuck for a title.  I used the opening phrase, intending to change it later.  I did change it later.  But people said that they preferred the dead man, so I put him back.  And that's why this blog has such a funny name.

Erasure Poem, by Kitty

This idea is too cool.  Over at a certain sharkly agent's web site, a reader named Kitty posted in comments a poem based on The Pericles Commission.

I was astounded (and flattered).  Here, with her permission, is The Pericles Commission, the Erasure Poem version, by Kitty:

A dead man at my feet 
lay facedown in the dirt 
shot through the heart. 
The body was warm to my touch 
his wound, slippery and wet 
I heard the footsteps of someone coming 
perhaps the killer 
I stepped backward to take cover

How did she create this?  Here's the first page of The Pericles Commission, with a few erasures:

Working titles

I guess this might interest a few of the writer-types among us.  When you sell a book, the title on the front of your ms isn't necessarily the title that will appear when it pops out as a real printed book.  That's why they call them working titles.

The original working title for The Pericles Commission was The Ephialtes Affair.  At the time, you see, I was thinking in terms of an Agatha Christie title scheme.  The Mysterious Affair At Styles... The Ephialtes Affair.

Then I sold the book.  Or rather, my brilliant agent sold the book.

After the editors had finished recoiling in horror, it was clear the title would have to change.  To start with, Ephialtes is an incredibly awkward name for a title.  Secondly, affair has another meaning.  Was this book about a love affair with a Greek shipping magnate?

This is the point where an author needs to be more in love with the idea of a successful book, than in love with his own words.  Luckily for me, I'm entirely devoid of sentimentality.  The only problem was to come up with a new naming scheme.

It was me who came up with The Pericles Commission, but it could have been any one of the five of us who were thinking about a new title.  Consensus came when we realized this wasn't a Christie-like series; it was more like Robert Ludlum.   So I moved from an Agatha Christie naming scheme to a Robert Ludlum naming scheme.

Having learned the lesson with book 1, you'd think I'd get the title for book 2 right, wouldn't you?  I did, sort of.  The working title was The Magnesia Sanction.

All was well until the editor pointed out that in America, the only use of the word magnesia was in milk of magnesia, which is used to treat bowel complaints.  Perhaps that was an association we would wish to avoid.  

The Magnesia Sanction became The Ionia Sanction.   The city of Magnesia was in the province of Ionia, so it was an easy fix.  If anything it sounds better.

Which brings us to Sacred Games.  It's the first time my working title has survived!

Reading Order

I had an email from a wonderful reader named Sandra, who very sensibly asked what's the right order to read the books of the series?

That was when I realized that silly Gary has never written it down, so here for the record is the book sequence:

The Pericles Commission

The Ionia Sanction

Sacred Games

The next book in line has working title The Marathon Conspiracy.  Working titles don't always stick, so stay tuned on that.

Each book is written to stand on its own, so technically it doesn't really matter in what order you pick them up.  I know for sure some readers have come to the series starting with book 2 or 3, and then gone to Pericles Commission.

Of course if a character appears in a later book, then you know they survived any earlier books!  Beyond that unavoidable information, I'm careful to omit spoilers on who did it from earlier adventures.