Julian Gore de Vere is a man’s man. An Anglo-Irish descendant of English aristocrats, he has to deal with the crippling burden of his heritage in the form of his wayward friends and the backward-wayfaring relationship he has with his tempestuous girlfriend Lucinda, aka the Jaeger Bomb Queen.
As his mates implicate him in scams of their own devising, and Lucinda, in a more honest attempt to seal a breach in her moral behaviour, which has even more devastating consequences for all involved, he struggles to keep his head above water. Digging deep into his ancestry for solutions to the predicaments his friends and girlfriend have got him into, he looks for inspiration to Colonel Tiger de Vere’s hunting prowess in India and to Lord General Gore de Vere, who famously marched a thousand men across the Gobi Desert. The fact that the good Lord General was marching away from battle at the time, in the opposite direction of the war, or that the wildlife in India was largely safe from the Colonel’s gun ‘when the sound of a lone cub keening for the arrival of its mother miles away was enough to send him sprinting back toward his base tent,’ are details Julian is forced to overlook.
The true de Vere talent, he learns, is one of survival, and for this he must develop many skills across more than one career as he struggles to adapt to a democracy that, as the famous French Revolution-era aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville puts it, ‘will retreat before tradesmen and capitalists.’
THE SHAKESPEARE DIARIES
Julian's partner Lucinda, the venomous Jaeger Bomb Queen, has at last met her match. Experiencing disturbing dreams about a witch who is about to take over her life, she consults an ancient Chinese sage who specializes in finding people's 'soul mates.' Dismissing the Chinaman's traditional service (anyone destined to enjoy a special affinity with the Queen must of necessity suffer nightmares of their own), she asks him to find her nemesis instead so she can 'reason' with her. The old man tells her the witch represents justice for her past actions. She will have to discover her whereabouts quickly. But there is no need as Penelope Bolton has already found Julian's address and is coming to pay them both a visit....
Months later, and under Penelope's direct influence, Lucinda has been transformed from County Kildare's premier rancorous, husband-stealing vamp (and a virulent warning to lonely bachelors in lockdown everywhere) into a submissive shadow of her former self. Retired mostly to the kitchen and the odd televised Bake Off, she now cooks Mary Berry cherry cakes and, when they visit, serves tea and bikkies to a confounded Julian and his 'sweetie-pie' mates. Faced with the resulting derision of his friends, Jules isn't sure if he doesn't prefer the old Lucinda.
Meanwhile, Julian and Co. battle through problems of their own. Now the owner of the Dublin Tattler, the city's most popular scandal rag, Julian must confront the subject of one of his magazine's articles, a powerful and dangerous individual whose loathsome business practices put the sub-criminal antics of the former Jaeger Bomb Queen firmly in the shade. With the help of Luca, Derek, and XJ, he could perhaps take him on, but he has Lucinda to worry about as she is beginning to slide from submissiveness into permanent senility...