Origins of The Broken Wing

With the discussion of a title for Book Two of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES, several people have asked about the origins of THE BROKEN WING as a possible title. No, it doesn’t refer to Blade’s injuries from the hovercycle race, nor does it refer to Bo’s dislocated shoulder, although both are convenient symbols that just sort of fit.

THE BROKEN WING comes from a passage in SOVRAN’S PAWN. A character quotes from an ancient epic poem from Bo’s people titled Requiem for the Broken Wing.

“When dark clouds gather, when the wind howls through the Bluestone Valley and whispers through the trees atop the Gallis Highlands, when the light of hope is fading, on the rising thunder will come the Black Wing, screaming through the darkness like the avenging hand of the Maker. There will The Barron make his last stand.”

Her ancestors, immortalized in the epic poem known as Requiem for the Broken Wing, had faced a no-win situation and fought fiercely to the last man. Like them, she intended to give a good accounting of herself before drawing her last breath.

The idea for the poem was inspired by stories from our own human history. Stories of courage in the face of certain defeat — of men and women who held impossible battle lines knowing that they had no chance of survival — Thermopylae, the Alamo, Bastogne to name a few.

The “Broken Wing” of the poem refers to the force she commands, the much contested and feared Black Wing, and its decimation following The Barron into that ill-fated last stand so many centuries earlier. It’s no accident that the last book in this series is titled BARRON’S LAST STAND.

As you may know, The Black Wing is Mondhuoun’s precision combat wing. Bo, as The Barron, is its commander. Control of The Black Wing is at the heart of the conflict of this series, so it only makes sense that the titles for the subsequent books come from this epic poem in one fashion or another.

The story arc of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES isn’t just about Bo’s quest to clear her name, it’s about the sacrifices made by a young ruler to keep her people from becoming embroiled in a war against the Commonwealth that they can’t win. In the process, she faces betrayal at the hands of those she trusts.

So at the risk of giving away too much of what you can expect to find in Book Two, THE BROKEN WING isn’t about happy endings or learning to fly again as much as it is about facing an impossible situation with courage and determination. In that respect, I think the title fits.

***

What are some stories of courage in the face of no-win, impossible situations that have inspired you?

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