Word of HonourWord of Honour – Michael Pryor

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Cover blurb
Magical genius Aubrey Fitzwilliam, along with his loyal friend George and the redoubtable Caroline, is trying to immerse himself in his new life at university. But for Aubrey life is never straightforward.

When Aubrey’s father, the Prime Minister, invites him and George to take a ride on a top-secret submersible, Aubrey can’t resist. The magical attack that threatens to send them to the bottom of the ocean begins, a whirlwind series of events — a plot to rob Albion’s largest bank, strange underground disturbances and an opera singer who bears an uncanny resemblance to Aubrey’s nemesis, Dr Tremaine… How can Aubrey concentrate on his studies when there are mysteries to unravel?

Sinister plots, schemes within schemes, magical upheavals and a world to save from war. Aubrey goes looking for trouble – and finds it, as always.

Michael Pryor says
Word of Honour continues the adventures of Aubrey Fitzwilliam and his friends. Aubrey has left school and is heading to university – a new world with new challenges and new opportunities. I like the idea of Aubrey moving on, not stuck in any single place, because I am intrigued by life transitions and how people cope with them. For someone with a restless nature, an inquiring mind, such a thing should be full of excitement, but it’s also a time of reflection and self-examination.

Underground tunnels? Underwater vessels? I had fun researching this, and became entranced with photographs and journal records from the period. Astonishingly fascinating!

Word of Honour begins

Aubrey Fitzwilliam was buttering toast When his father strode into the dining room. ‘Ah, Aubrey. Good. I need you to help me elude the Special Services.’

Aubrey’s knife hovered over the butter dish. He glanced at George, who was enjoying a large serve of bacon and eggs. His friend managed to shrug while folding half a rasher into his mouth.

‘Your bodyguards?’

‘What’s the point of being Prime Minister if I can’t nip off whenever I feel like it?’ Sir Darius took a slice of Aubrey’s toast. ‘So I need your skills, quick smart.’

George snorted. ‘These would be the skills of leaving Maidstone undetected, would they?’

‘Exactly, George. Skills Aubrey has honed over the years, despite the best efforts of his parents.’

‘He’s got you there, old man,’ George said.

Aubrey chose his words carefully. ‘Without admitting that I have these alleged skills, why do you need to leave so abruptly?’

‘Something has come up. I’ve found it tends to, when one is in charge of the country.’ This time it was Sir Darius’s turn to choose his words carefully. ‘I need to visit Clear Haven, post-haste.’

Aubrey’s curiosity – already doing a series of warm-up exercises – threw itself into an advanced callisthenic routine to make sure he paid attention to it.

He’d always wanted to visit Albion’s northern naval base. While the fleet spent most of its time at Imworth in the south, Clear Haven was where much of the heavy development work was done. The best military magicians – along with eminent civilian consultants – worked at Clear Haven to produce the most effective magical weapons. The work done at Clear Haven was one of the reasons that Albion still ruled the waves, despite Holmland’s efforts.

‘I may be able to get you out of here unnoticed,’ Aubrey said, ‘but you’d have to take George and me with you.’

‘Capital. I was going to ask you anyway.’ Sir Darius finished the slice of toast and took another. ‘Now, what do we do?’