These two paragraphs, brief excerpts from the party scene in Chapter 70, feature cameo appearances by characters from The Book of the War. These are the Faction Paradox cryptozoologist, Father Stendec, and two of the “Cwejen”, human agents of the Great Houses duplicated from an original named Chris Cwej.

However, the cameos are more or less the only interesting thing about these extracts (even the bicephalic posthuman is dangerously Beeblebroxesque), and I think Lawrence was correct to suggest we lose both paragraphs. Originally, Chapter 70 was the kind of all-inclusive self-indulgent kitchen-sink-fest that's crying out for some strict editing – which, fortunately, it got. (That said, both passages were restored to the text as part of the 2013 ebook edition.)

The “I” in this chapter is the omnipresent consciousness of the City itself.


     Now I arrive as Father Stendec of the Parliament, a rubbery flesh-mask stretched across his habitual bone-visage, trailing a 10-foot ground sloth on a leash. ‘Im sorry about the mapinguary,’ he tells anyone wholl listen. ‘She's pregnant, I couldn't leave her. She's very affectionate, though.’ The creature nuzzles him in confirmation, knocking him off his feet. Earnestly Stendec finds and buttonholes the Yeti Councillor, Pema-Gyalpo, whom he begins to question on the mating habits of her constituents.


     As Omicron Cwej of Cwejen Security, I experience the attentions of one Yola Kakad, a bicephalic posthuman whose left head, bored and wishing she was home playing the XP, has been drinking too fast. Yola's right head is tipsy, therefore, but determinedly flirtatious: she licks her lips seductively below her half-mask and makes a comment tinged with delicate suggestiveness, then winces as her left head belches noisily and scratches her buttocks. Politely Cwej excuses himself and, sensing movement, grabs an invisible pickpocket out of thin air as she passes. He divests the young girl of the camo-cloak provided by her contractor, and marches her over into the custody of a heavily-armoured colleague. Along the way he inquires tactfully about her home life and her parents, only to find out that shes a 300-year-old child-resurrectee. Damn, Cwej thinks as he passes her on into the custody of Sherman “the Tank” Cwej, that one gets me every time. He filches a vol-au-vent from the buffet and, carefully avoiding Yola, resumes observation duty.

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Father Stendec created by the authors of The Book of the War. Cwejen created by Andy Lane.
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