A story/scenario by Thande which he started in late 2006. Having finished Moonstruck, Thande decided to do something more directly connected with AH, and thought this would make a nice little quick project.
*sound of buzzer the size of a galaxy* WRONG!
The first incarnation of TABAE ran to over 200,000 words before Thande decided the story was going the wrong direction, and that he had been too influenced by commentary on the story, driving it away from where he wanted it to go. On the other hand, member commentary revealed some weaknesses in the original story to him as well. Based on that, he began again in summer 2007, this time making it a trilogy from the start.
First draft - Abandoned by 2007, rebooted as the second draft that same year.
TABAE started as an attempt by Thande to work against the techwank and time-ist agenda in many ISOT books by having the past infiltrate and influence the present rather than the other way around. Eventually this theme was, however, subsumed as he decided not to take it too far, and also moved the trans-time romance aspect of the plot to the fore.
The story is about Faye Martin, a young woman of 2017 London (2008 in the first draft) who accidentally falls through a time portal to the year 1817 while fleeing a rapist, who is then seen off by Harry Blount, a tough ex-soldier and nouveau riche who has begun to feel as though his life is losing meaning.
The first book covers Faye's attempts to adapt to 1817, believing there is no way back, and her adventures there, including meeting Captain Christopher Nuttall, who becomes her lover. At the end of the book, the portal is finally reopened and Faye and Chris go through, but it then explodes behind them.
The situation is thus inverse in the second book, with Chris believing he is stuck and adapting to 2017, but unbeknownst to them, Blount successfully reopens the portal once more - initially in order to get medical treatment for his critically ill father-in-law, but then begins to realise that there may be other advantages to this link…
Some, but not all of the cast, are based on AH.commers. A lot of the characters are homages (i.e. huge ripoffs) of classic Regency-era characters from British historical literature.
Harold Dionysus Blount: Commonly known as Harry. His surname is pronounced Blunt. The illegitimate son of a nobleman by a whore, Blount was born in 1781 and grew up in the tough rookeries of London as a hard street fighter by the time he was a teenager. He joined the army (specifically the 50th (West Kent) Foot) at the age of 16 as a private, fighting in Flanders. He was with Sir John Moore's army in Spain in 1807 as a sergeant, and due to his actions in retrieving a lost colour at the Battle of Corunna, he was made an officer, with the rank of Ensign. Blount earned his lieutenancy early in Wellington's command of the Peninsular War and his captaincy after leading the Forlorn Hope at Badajoz. (NB, in reality/“OTL” there was no storming of a breach at Badajoz). He met his future wife Esmerelda, along with her sisters and father Nathan, while they were unwisely attempting to evangelise Methodism to the Spanish Catholics, and saved them from the violent Partisan “El Destructor”. Towards the end of the war, he went on a mission to Algiers with Mr Strong and others. Blount was a major by Waterloo, in which he fought hard, but lost his best friend, Sergeant Niall O'Brien. After the battle, he resigned from the army and took up the life of a gentleman in London, though not without regrets. Blount was primarily inspired by the book version of Richard Sharpe, the Londoner, as opposed to the Yorkshire screen version.
Faye Linda Martin: Born 1994 in Northampton. She took English Literature at university and, by the time the story opens, is working in London doing PR for a construction firm. Has one brother, Jordan (born 2002).
Christopher George Nuttall: Born 1792 into a family of nouveau riche industrialists in Northumberland. Disobeyed his father's wishes by going into the army in 1806 and serving in a cavalry regiment, the 12th Light Dragoons, in the Peninsula. Fought at Waterloo and saved Blount from the French when he was struck insensible by the death of O'Brien. Has a mechanical background. In 1816, he was seconded to the Ottoman army as an observer of their campaign in Arabia against the Saudis. Has one sister, Catherine (“Cathy”), born 1795. Loosely based on Allan Mallinson's Matthew Hervey, and named after Chris.
Nathan Pemberton: Born 1759 into a family of minor gentry, the son of a drunkard father who gambled away the family fortune before Nathan was of age. Converted to Methodism after hearing Charles Wesley preach, and eventually became a missionary. His wife died after giving birth to the third of their daughters (Esmerelda, Caroline and Emily) and thus the eldest, Esmerelda (born 1786), grew somewhat tough from helping raise the others. She eventually married Harry Blount after he saved them in Spain. Her father is a strong-minded but jolly individual and a keen scholar, speaking several languages and making Biblical translations. He has travelled almost everywhere.
Aaron Strong: Born 1761, Aaron Strong is a senior director of the East India Company. A driven, ambitious man, he started out as a clerk in India and then served in a junior role on MacCartney's disastrous embassy to the Ch'ien-lung Emperor of China. Strong worked his way up, making contacts all the way. He served as the EIC's man in Constantinople for some years and effective spymaster of Britain in the Ottoman Empire. In 1811, Strong headed a diplomatic mission to the Dey of Algiers, in which many of the other main characters accompanied him - this is the chief reason why they are all acquainted. Strong is an expert on East Asian languages, particularly the obscure Corean (Korean). Named after, and partly based on, Sargon.
Geoffrey Wilkinson: Born 1782, Wilkinson entered the Royal Navy at a young age as a midshipman (a family tradition). After several successful Mediterranean voyages as master and commander in the 1800s, he was made post and given the frigate Aurora, which fought at Trafalgar and many other battles afterwards. In 1811 he was given the task of ferrying Aaron Strong to Algiers. His particular friend is Dr Kit Morgan. Strong recently made Wilkinson a very rich man after unearthing some Indian lands that his father had owned and selling them, but Wilkinson is uncertain what to do with the money. He married a Hanoverian, Karla Mueller, and they have twin sons, Horatio and Thomas. His butler, Joaquim, is a freed Portuguese slave who stowed away when the Aurora visited Mozambique. Wilkinson is an expert mathematician and considered to be an excellent bluffer, both in cards and other spheres of life. Inspired partly by Jack Aubrey and partly by Horatio Hornblower, and named after GBW.
Kit Morgan: Dr Kit Morgan, born in 1785, is a Welsh natural philosopher and member of the Royal Society. He joined the Aurora as a surgeon in order to use the voyages to observe natural history and phenomena around the world. Has a young assistant, Nicholas O'Mans. There are… certain rumours about him. Is a friend of Michael Faraday. Inspired chiefly by Stephen Maturin, and named after Kit.
Marianne Strickland: A Catholic maid in Blount's household, who also does undercover intelligence missions for him. Born 1798. Seeking engagement to Sergeant Theodore Baldwin, a soldier who was recruited to the cause during the War of 1812. Friend of Faye.
Elizabeth (“Bessie”) Braddock: Half-Indian maid in Blount's household. Her father was a Company man. Born 1795.
John-Paul Lafontaine: A Huguenot-descended former soldier and member of Blount's organisation. Has one eye.
Bob Jackson: A crippled veteran soldier who was recruited by Blount because of his cooking, and is now the chief cook in his kitchens.
Anthony Bicester: A corrupt lord, paid by The Linguist to vote against parliamentary reform in order to stoke a revolution by creating an environment of tyranny. Has dark sexual tastes and is a professional coward. A target for infiltration by Blount's organisation. Somewhat based on Flashman.
Daniel Flannery: Former Austrian soldier and secret agent of Irish descent, who is now saving up to go to America, as cooperating with the British army for years means that he can no longer stomach supporting either side in Ireland. Named after Imajin.
William Ball: Blount's butler, who grew up with the Pembertons. Extraordinarily emotionless and butlery. Can express more with the slight twitch of an eyebrow than most can with a twelve-page sonnet. A Catholic. Named after and mostly based on MrP.