18 January 2009

An idea to kick around

Suppose the Library of Alexandria was secretly moved to Byzantium. It was "underground." Constantine discovered this and built Hagia Sophia over it. By the time the Muslims destroyed Sophia, the library had been moved secretly again, virst to Nicea and then to its current resting place where it was revealed to Gutenberg.

So this idea would put the quest in the category of treasure-hunting. It would be Indiana Jones meets The DaVinci Code, which, in fact, is how I've often positioned it. There is a huge treasure, and the artifacts could change the way we perceive things. Those make good stories.

Should I try for something that is either more world-endangering (i.e. terrorists looking for this because it has the secret to a new weapon), or more esoteric (i.e. focusing more on arcane knowledge of alchemie)? There may be elements of each that I could work into it, but still keep Peter's role in searching for the lost library. This would play well off my former concept of the rivalry with the Aldines. Two ancient classicist cults trying to claim the world's greatest library. In the arcane mode, I could use a Nostradamus prophecy that indicates Peter would eventually rise to find the treasure. That supports the ability of The Voice to plan years in advance for the bombings that would force Peter to flee to him.

This puts the whole thing further out in the urban fantasy category - somewhat like what I did with The Props Master. I think it is a little harder to make that relevant. People find it a bit harder to relate to the magical prophecy concept than to the hardcore thriller where an ordinary guy suddenly has to do an extraordinary task.

Still, there is the idea that The Collecter/Voice particularly wants a specific scroll out of the library because of what it contains and is content to leave all the others where they are. He might want, say, a scroll called "The Wisdom of Ptolemy" that would contain all the secrets of alchemie and believe that flooding the market with all the library would adversely effect the ancient documents market.

That creates a clear danger to Maddie and Peter. Once the Voice has the one document that he wants, they are a liability and could be buried with the rest of the library. So they have to work on an escape plan for after the discovery. That's a good time to get the detective in action to save them. The old "pursuing one step behind, he catches up with htem just at the crucial moment."