In a previous post, ‘Dark doings in Kent’, I discussed some of the sites in Kent, real and imaginary, which featured in Joan Aiken’s alternative history novel Cold Shoulder Road, one of her Wolves Chronicles. In this post, therefore, I want to mention the remaining locations, primarily down on the Kent coast but also near Calais, visited by our young protagonists Is and Arun Twite.
What exactly is the purpose of this kind of discussion and others like it? I suppose there are actually three purposes.
- Because I can. I worry away at details in each chronicle because it’s fun, and it helps me, if no one else, to inhabit the series as much as is possible.
- Because nobody else much will. Apart from a few correspondents (and thank goodness for them and their engagement!) most readers and reviewers are happy to ride the crest of the narrative, and occasionally puzzle about something obscure, before moving on.
- Because Joan Aiken’s worldbuilding deserves acknowledging. Though she’s often inconsistent there’s a glorious mix of imaginative terraforming and flexible timelining into which she places her colourful characters.
Without further ado I shall now plunge into the remaining, rather peculiar, geography of the novel.