Director said:I especially like the way you introduce elements of the background by mentioning them in passing and allowing them to be defined by their context. As an alternative to large blocks of expository prose, this has the disadvantage of taking longer to write but the advantage for us that we soak up the - dare I say it? - the milieu rather than have it spoon-fed to us.
If you expect to use certain phrases on a regular basis then you could also supply readers with a lexicon at the front of the AAR (I did that in RRR with the various titles) or "cheat" and post a comment before or after the instalment that explains it."C'est incroyable!" L'Eminence Grise allowed the shock and surprise to register on his face.
"I don't believe it either," replied Louis...
Balfour still did not believe what he was hearing and spoke strongly, “Henry, we can not give this assurance. The Prime Minister will never go for it. Besides, I do not see the worth of this place in relation to the years we have spent with the Raj.”
“Gentlemen,” Henry asked the Persians, “I wonder if you could excuse us for a moment. I can assure you it will not take long. Perhaps a quick walk around the hall. I noticed many splendid renditions of the ancient Minoan culture out there.”
Ali quickly agreed with Henry and with his ministers departed the room. Henry was in a wheelchair, as he could no longer walk. His arms were slightly stronger than the rest of his body from having to maneuver the thing and he quickly turned it to face Balfour and young Franklin.
“Arthur, this is the price we have paid for the feckless policies over these past many years. Still we do nothing about the Germans and I am sorry to say, welcome as this endeavor was, it was done too late. We waited to show strength until we no longer possessed such. For this, we will pay. And not just today. For tomorrow, it will be rights for all of India. And the day after it will be the remainder of Asia, or Africa, or anywhere the Shah of Persia sets his sights.”
“Henry, I do not disagree with you, but we stand on principle here. We cannot…”
“Principle! We know nothing of this. It was nowhere to be found when Afghanistan was overcome. It was forfeit when Mesopotamia fell. It was surely not in evidence when Egypt became part of the empire. And dare I remind you that you yourself were the Prime Minister that allowed that fiasco? It is lost. We can surely continue to send fine British to die far a field, but what is the purpose now? Just to see them dead?”
Balfour looked dejected, as he knew Henry spoke the truth. Franklin, however, was having none of it. He had been reticent to speak out towards Henry but with this last bit he had heard enough,
“Sir, I will gladly lay down my life to see that these barbarians do not conquer the world.”
“The world? The world? They have done so already. We were the only country willing to stand up to them and they have put us in our place in a mere three years. With their numbers combined with the Chinese, we are no match. Perhaps when you are older young man, you will understand this. But today, you are of no consequence. You may tell your man in London all you like, but Lloyd George will hear this from me and he will listen. I have given my life to forging better relations between these people and ours. I have lost my only love for that very reason. I have spent these past years imploring anyone that would listen that we must act and act quickly. And for what? To see this day come and have nothing to show for it but death?”
No one spoke. Henry looked tired and reached for his water as he could tell his voice would not hold up without it. Balfour sat and put his head in his hands. Franklin just stared at Henry Strachen, his mouth open but with no words to refute what Henry had said.
Louis-Nicholas Davout took off his spectacles, rubbed his nose, and motioned at the map sketched in the dirt. “Not their right flank?” he asked again.
Napoleon sighed. Look like a schoolteacher he might, but Davout had possibly the best set of military skills of any man of his age after Napoleon himself. Attack, defense, siege; Davout could do anything and do it masterfully well. And mercifully he had not on ounce of political ambition in his body – and after dealing with Moreau, Napoleon was willing to forgive Davout a lot for that. He just didn’t seem to have quite grasped the point of this attack.
“If we attack their right, we push them north onto their main body and they escape. If we strike the center with everything we have, we can rupture it, drive the center into the river and cut off their right as a bonus.”
Davout nodded. “And then you throw Oudinot in on our right and we bag all of it.” Napoleon was startled; he had not dared hope things would go so well, but if Davout thought they would…
“Yes,” was all he said.
“There is a lot to attend to,” Davout said, motioning to an aide for his horse. “I’ll go forward with the infantry and we should hold Lastrup by midafternoon. But mind that you keep a demi-brigade or two of the reserve handy in case I need them.”