Angel's Fury and the Easter Egg Giveaway

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Angel's Fury and the Easter Egg Giveaway

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Summary: Bryony Pearce popped into Bookbag Towers and told us about a few things that we hadn't spotted in Angel's Fury. We were fascinated.
Date: 12 July 2011

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External links: Author's website



Bryony Pearce popped into Bookbag Towers and told us about a few things that we hadn't spotted in Angel's Fury. We were fascinated.

Angel's Fury and the Easter Egg Giveaway

At university I loved literary criticism and lived for that moment when I spotted something that enhanced my appreciation of a book. Each time it was like a personal message from the author to a select few (a famous example is Jane Austen's naming of one of her heroines Katherine Morland – or 'More land').

So, naturally, my own book is loaded with what I have chosen to call, for lack of a better term Easter eggs (A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature).

Easter eggs aren't crucial to the enjoyment of my book (for example when Cassie sees her father's begonias just before boarding the plane to Germany you don't need to be aware that in the language of flowers begonias are a warning, meaning 'be cautious', or 'beware' to enjoy the scene), or they're so subtle that they impact on a subconscious level (for example water is important throughout the book as a clue to Cassie's state).

I don't highlight these things because I'm trying to say 'look how clever I am', I'd just really like to share something about my book that I really enjoyed!

I'm not going to give all my Easter eggs away, partly because this article would go on forever and partly because I'm trying to avoid too many plot spoilers. Perhaps after I've highlighted a few and you have a sense of how my brain works, you can find more in the book.

First of all, I want to talk about naming, which is important in all my work. When I name a character I think about who they are and search for a name that reflects that (using an online baby name database!). Often a character's name will be a clue to the role they will play later in the book.

Seth Alexander: Seth means 'appointed' and Alexander is 'defender of men' – so Seth is the 'appointed defender of men'.

Pandra Long: The meaning of Pandra is Chief Dragon (from the name Pendragon) and the word dragon in Chinese is pronounced 'Long' (the reason for this will be clear to readers).

Lenny: A German name meaning 'brave lion' (ironic on two levels).

Cassie Farrier: Cassie's name, like Cassie's character is more complex and contains a lot of information.

Cassie's real surname is Smith and both Smith and Farrier mean blacksmith, as does another surname in the book. A smith is a metalworker and the ability to work metal is one of the gifts of Azael to man, indicating Cassie's link to the fallen angel from the very start.

The actual meaning of the name Cassiopeia is 'she whose words excel'; it is Cassie who has to persuade the other children to escape the Manor and it is her story we are reading.

Furthermore, Cassiopeia was a queen whose vanity is said in some sources to have resulted in the drowning of Ethiopia. She certainly caused the kraken to be called upon her city (again the water motif, so important to Cassie's history). She was set in heaven as a constellation and is upside down half of the year (according to Jewish lore, Azael's brother was set upside down in Orions' belt as a punishment).

Orion's belt appears again and again throughout the book. The children have a particular affinity with the constellation and it appears throughout their lives. I'm not going to give you all the references, see if you can spot them. Azael himself is said to have taught man charms, conjuring formulas, how to cut roots, the efficacy of plants, how to make weapons, how to work metals, how to make jewellery, how to use make up, how to brew beer and how to play music. Again, I use these 'talents' as motifs throughout: for example, the twin town to Cassie's (Kurt and Zillah's home) is called Hopfingen (hops are used to brew beer) and the lady in the fountain is holding an arm full of hops. When they are trying to escape from the Manor the children plan to meet in a pub (the Blacksmith's Arms).

Anyway, I hope this (perhaps disturbing) peek into the workings of my mind didn't bore you and that my pointing out these Easter eggs enhances your enjoyment of Angel's Fury, and maybe makes you go back and read it again: Easter eggs are so much fun.

(At this point everybody in Bookbag Towers was flicking through their copy of Angel's Fury and saying Look! Look... Thanks very much for letting us in on all those secrets, Bryony.