Book Two's title is, simply, Mistigris, and Powers provides us with the encyclopedia entry. Poker with the Joker added. The joker, you all know, is a wild card, and, certainly, in Book Two, things get even crazier, spiraling further out of control. Powers never loses control. Even when the plot becomes dense with new threads that weave near each other, sometimes joining, sometimes overlapping, and sometimes dangling apart. Everything is tightly constructed, especially when it appears to be a jumbled mess.
For good ye are and bad, and like to coins,
Some true, some light, but every one of you
Stamp'd with the image of the King....
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King
While not quite knights of the round table, what we're dealing with here in book two are those who are "stamp'd with the image of the King." The current king is no Arthur, but he is still the king. It's understandable that those surrounding the throne are either ignorant, crazed, or downright evil.
Is everyone caught up through Chapter 21 by this point? Leave a comment here letting me know if you're reading faster, slower, or not at all.
Here's the current cast of misfits:
Georges Leon: the King, has a host of bodies, male and female
Vaughan Trumbill: chief servant to the king
Scott Crane: our hero?
Archimedes Mavranos: out to save himself
Oliver "Ozzie" Crane: the Wise Man
Diana Ryan: Scott's sister/bride
Scat and Oliver (Bitin Dog): Diana's children
Dondi Snayheever: Mr. Terminal Response
Al Funo: a contract killer without a contract (and quite the ladies man)
Ray-Joe Pogue: a wannabe contender
Nardie Dinh: a second moon, Pogue's sister
By the end of Chapter 21, most of these characters and their individual stories have finally come together, with some dramatic consequences, but I won't write anymore in case there are a few of you still way behind.