Zymurgy is the science of fermentation.  I confess I went through the dictionary to find something interesting I could finish on, and this is a new word to me.  It’s rather nice though isn’t it?  Very useful for Scrabble. Of course, real guinea pigs don’t drink alcohol, or processed drinks, but my Princelings do in […]

X-Ray Hearing and other unusual talents

One of the characters first introduced in Princelings and the Lost City has preternatural hearing.  I’ve called it x-ray hearing as I needed an X!  He can hear ordinary conversations nearby, but he can also hear things at a distance, through different levels in a castle.  It is not clear whether he can tune this […]

Vampires and other minorities

I hate to jump on the paranormal bandwagon but yes, there are vampires and werewolves in this world.  The folklore of the realms is as full of the supernatural as the country I really live in.  But like my real country, some parts are more prone to strange occurrences than others.  Consequently, in Hugo’s ‘book […]

Underground, tunnels and maps

Guinea pigs like tunnels.  That was why my first theme in my stories was to have places connected by them.  Eventually I decided they didn’t all have to be connected, and the journeys became rather like the London Underground, with tunnels emerging into the daylight once they got far enough away from the centre.  Further […]

Security service

If I tell you this you’re going to have to sign the Official Secrets Act. It also might contain some spoilers especially for the fourth and fifth books. Sundance is a character (based on a friend’s guinea pig) who we first meet in Princelings and the Pirates.  I think the best thing is to give […]


“One group had started a game of Shove H’penny and there was rather a lot of Shoving going on”.  It is the only recreation we hear of (in the first description of the Inn of the Seventh Happiness) until we get to book 4. There we find Mariusz (Hugo) reading the newspapers and exploring this […]

Princelings – an explanation

So what is a princeling anyway?  They are generally considered to be minor royalty, in the line of succession but not so close that they might inherit.  Not without a great many princes disappearing through voluntary or involuntary exile (or death) anyway.  Princelings are entitled to live in a castle, and are taught the secret […]


Most of the occupations we meet in the Princelings trilogy are service or agricultural ones.  Farming, food production, bartending, catering, coach driver (and presumably animal tending, since the coaches are drawn by horse-like animals) are some that are specified in the early books.  Since George has to have patents, drawings and a marketing plan for […]

Natural Philosophy

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries what we would call scientists were called natural philosophers.  Their focus was thinking and theorising and observing the natural world.  Most used what we would now call scientific method: observe, analyse, theorise, test, review.  I won’t go into the difference between theory and hypothesis here. 


Who makes the objects that the people in the Princelings world use?  Where do they get their raw materials from?  Although the world-travelled Lord Mariusz has souvenirs brought from many lands, the Princelings world (the realms) seems largely cut off from the rest of civilisation.  This must mean either they have inherited objects from some […]

Knowledge – how do they get it?

Knowledge.  Fred and George seem remarkably knowledgeable for princelings that have not discovered newspapers and have very little experience of the world outside Castle Marsh.  The secret is in their education, which ensures that all young persons within the castle can read, write, count, tally and do basic tasks to make the castle function properly. 


H is for History.  How did this world get to be populated by guinea pigs and have so many parallels to our own?  Hugo makes a reference at some stage to certain trade routes with the ‘old world’ being illegal since ‘that nasty business with the tea’.  I assume he’s referring to the Boston Tea […]