Chapter 9, “Rides in the Rain” is out now. Father Abraham takes a ride in the rain to visit a sick man.

The bit about burning down forests to make quick grazing land comes from Andrew F. Crosse’s Round About the Carpathians:

[The Wallack] hates forests, and will ruthlessly burn down the finest trees to make a clearing for sheep-pastures. It is impossible to travel twenty miles in the Southern Carpathians without encountering the terrible ravages committed by these people in the beautiful woods that adorn the sides of the mountains.

The Wallacks find it too much trouble to fell the trees. […] At present there is wood and enough, but the time will come when the country at large must suffer from this reckless waste.

This sort of sentiment is common in most of the travelogues you read from Western Europeans about the region. They don’t care for the people they perceive to be dirty and less civilized and don’t make any effort to hide it. Were Romanians really burning down their forests out of short-sighted expediency? Maybe. It’s possible the law really should have put a stop to it. I’m sure I could do a bit more research to learn more, but for my purposes what I find so clear is the judgement these authors put upon the people living there. They see a beautiful land and just assume the inhabitants are too stupid to know how to take care of it. So, in my story they’re at least going to debate it first.

For this week’s poll, I’m asking readers to decide whether Radu is going to accept a tip he receives about Cornel’s murderer.

Recording the phrase “soft sheep’s cheese” for the audiobook nearly killed me. I think I had to do six takes and almost just rewrote it. Among the foods Daniella Carmen serves Abraham is mamaliga, a cornmeal dish that Jonathan Harker also mentions eating in the first chapter of Dracula.

The next chapter might be a long one. We’ll follow Margareta and Marley into the forest. I had initially thought it would be two chapters but I think I want to tell the whole story at once.