Master of the Revels – Book Excerpt!

This fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling near-future adventure The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. picks up where the original left off, as Tristan Lyons, Mel Stokes, and their fellow outcasts from the Department of Diachronic Operations (D.O.D.O.) fight to stop the powerful Irish witch Gráinne from using time travel to reverse the evolution of all modern technology.

Chief amongst Gráinne’s plots: to encrypt cataclysmic spells into Shakespeare’s “cursed” play, Macbeth. When her fellow rogue agents fall victim to Gráinne’s schemes, Melisande Stokes is forced to send Tristan’s untested, wayward sister Robin back in time to 1606 London, where Edmund Tilney, the king’s Master of Revels, controls all staged performances in London. And now Gráinne controls Tilney.

Historical objects disappear, cities literally rise and fall, and nothing less than the fate of humanity is at stake. As Gráinne sows chaos across time and space, the ragtag team of ex-D.O.D.O. agents must fix the past—in order to save the future.

Master of the Revels by Nicole Galland excerpt posted with permission from the publisher, William Morrow:

Handwritten in pencil on scrap paper
(Mel, please scan and destroy hard copy.)

This memo provides foundational data for new recruits, assuming we can score some.

My name is LTC Tristan Lyons, USA (Ret.), and I’m one of several ex-employees of DODO, the Department of Diachronic Operations, a black ops arm of the U.S. government that has been taken over and subverted by an enemy agent.

DODO was formed five years ago with the mission of using time travel (diachronic operations) to benefit the United States. Its staff quickly expanded from only myself (operational command), Dr. Melisande Stokes (historical linguist), Dr. Frank Oda (physicist), and Erzsébet Karpathy (witch) . . . to a sprawling, bureaucracy-sogged government agency.

Its resources have since been hijacked and misdirected by a rogue witch named Gráinne, with the aim of devolving human society to a medieval-era level of technology. Nobody at DODO realizes she’s doing this.

Time travel is a form of magic that can only be performed by witches. (If you’re curious about the physics underlying the rest of this paragraph, Frank Oda would get a kick out of talking you through it.) In the present day, magic works only when performed in a dedicated chamber called an ODEC (created by Frank). Diachronic Operatives (DOers) are sent back to a DTAP (Destination Time and Place). Their activities while on assignment create micro-adjustments intended to have a “butterfly effect” on historical events. (These activities are DEDEs—Direct Engagement for Diachronic Effect.) The butterfly effects result, in the twenty-first century, to advantage the United States geopolitically.

In 1601 London, I recruited a smart and highly gifted Irish witch—Gráinne—who was invaluable in helping DODO grow our “witch network” through time and space. However, once she realized that after her era, magic was weakened and then completely disabled by advanced technology, she came forward in time with the secret intention of perverting DODO’s resources.

Dr. Roger Blevins had since taken over operational command. Gráinne used magic to mentally enthrall Blevins to do whatever she wants. Mostly, what she wants is to send DOers back to DTAPs to carry out DEDEs that will undermine the rise of technology, so that magic is never tamped out.

She initially convinced Erzsébet to join her in this crusade; at the last moment, Erzsébet switched allegiances and warned me what was happening. After a clusterfuck shitshow beyond the scope of this memo to describe, the dust has very recently settled on this new reality: Myself; Melisande; Erzsébet; Frank Oda; his wife, Rebecca East-Oda; and Mortimer Shore (IT ace and Western martial arts expert) have been expunged from DODO and have set up a command center in Frank and Rebecca’s home. Our mission: to counter Gráinne’s efforts by following her DOers back in time ourselves (hopefully with the help of the recruits for whom I’m writing this) and neutralizing those DOers’ work.

One final part to this equation. The immensely powerful, secretive Fugger banking family has come to understand that something is destabilizing history and that Gráinne is behind it. Saving the world is not their power alley, so they’ve done a few things to empower us to do it instead. With their influence, Frank and I obtained the necessary material to build an ODEC in the basement here, and DODO has been dissuaded from doing physical harm to any of us. Otherwise we’re essentially on our own.

Welcome to our chaos.

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