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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Symphony of Terror V
Symphony of Terror

Written by Somtow Sucharitkul

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published May 1988)

Matt Jones and his new family flee California to escape the Visitor tyranny and become caught up in stopping a Visitor plot to invade the free states.

Story Summary

Part 1 - Diana the Huntress

After escaping their adventure in Japan in The Alien Swordmaster, Matt, Tomoko, and CB spend a year back in southern California. Now, since the riots throughout the Southland brought about by the death of Nathan Bates (See Notes from the V chronology below), they have decided to head to the northeast of the nation, where the red dust keeps the Visitors at bay. As they are just about to leave, Julie Parrish races up in her green Mazda to ask them to take something to the eastern resistance scientists: a sample of a new, artificially created metal called papinium that the Visitors hope to use as a coating on their vehicles to impede the penetration of the red dust bacteria. She also tells them that Professor Schwabauer may still be alive and at their destination of Washington, D.C.

Passing through a Visitor freeway checkpoint, they are allowed through, but later recognized as the wanted Jones family. The city commander of Phoenix, Medea, is notified to capture them along the route. However, she fails, and they capture a skyfighter from her forces in the bargain, angering her superior officer, Diana, who has already demoted her for her leadership fiasco in The Florida Project. The family takes the ship across the desert.

Part 2 - Flight Through No-Man's Land

In Virginia, Willie is attempting to make his way back to L.A. after the events of The New England Resistance. He is being helped by a local named Ray when they witness a skyfighter plummet and crash into a mountain. But three passengers have managed to parachute out. The two investigate and find the Jones family. Willie explains to them all that he has realized that there are some secret Visitor installations in the area that must be investigated, but he must leave quickly before his red dust antitoxin runs out and leaves him vulnerable. He shows his friends one of the installations. They are detected by the aliens there and, during the fight, they are suddenly aided by Fieh Chan (last seen in "The Swordmaster"), now wearing an armor of papinium, but he disappears after helping them. After the battle, Ray heads off in his pick-up with Willie to take him to the nearest city where he can catch a bus back to L.A.

The Jones' begin to investigate the papinium-coated underground tunnels the Visitors and their converted slaves have built into the area surrounding Washington D.C. They come across some Visitor hover disks to help speed through the long tunnels. But they are soon captured by Medea, who has traveled there to participate in the soon-to-come invasion of the nation's capital. They are caged, but then freed again with the help of Fieh Chan.

They climb up into the Virginia city of Alexandria, where they find that Medea has launched an early attack of the Visitors' papinium-coated hover-tanks in order to retrieve her prisoners. The Jones' and Fieh Chan manage to avoid capture and Medea recalls the tanks at the urging of the undercover Visitor infiltrator, Dingwall, a conductor of the McLean Youth Orchestra. The Jones' are taken into the mansion of Romanian Ambassador Andrescu who is also harboring the resistance fugitives Fieh Chan, Setsuko, and Dr. Schwabauer. There, CB meets the daughter of Andrescu's servant, Tedescu, a girl named Nadia.

Part 3 - Symphony of Terror

But, it turns out that Nadia is a member of the McLean Youth Orchestra and she, along with the other children of the orchestra, have already been converted by Dingwall. She leads CB to Dingwall, who captures him, intending to make a meal of him and many other delicious children. CB is able to make Nadia resist her conversion to some degree by forcing her to think about her mother. The two escape, but Dingwall shoots and kills Nadia and recaptures CB. Soon after this he is freed by Fieh Chan.

Meanwhile, Setsuko has managed to create a culture of a new type of red dust bacteria that will destroy the bonds of papinium thanks to the use of equipment that was salvaged from the wreckage of the Visitors' Florida Project. The assembled resistance heroes head to the night's performance of the McLean Youth Orchestra, which Dingwall is using as a cover for the beginning of the invasion of papinium-coated hover tanks into the D.C. area.

As the symphony begins, so does the hover-tank invasion, but the resistance is able to quickly thwart it, largely by throwing Petri dishes of Setsuko's modified bacteria at the tanks, dissolving the papinium coating and bringing death via bacteria to the Visitors within. Dingwall and Matt are killed in the melee, but Medea escapes in a hidden skyfighter, already plotting revenge. In the aftermath, Tomoko wants to be with Fieh Chan, whom she still loves, and train in the martial arts to fight against the Visitors, but she has a duty to care for CB. But Andrescu volunteers to watch after the boy so she can go.

Epilogue - The Return of the Swordmaster

Months later, on Christmas Day, Tomoko and Fieh Chan are living in the forests of Virginia near Ray, living off the land. Fieh Chan trains Tomoko in the martial arts and use of the sword. Suddenly, CB shows up. With Andrescu's permission he has come to train with Fieh Chan as well, wanting to contribute to the fight against the invaders. They accept him but warn he may be needed as a babysitter; Tomoko may be pregnant. 



Notes from the V chronology

Pages 84-85 reveal that Nathan Bates has only just recently died and riots have started in L.A. Willie, still in North Carolina on the way back to L.A. from his mission in New England, seems unaware of Bates' death in the interim, saying there must have been a news blackout. But Willie appears in the episode "The Betrayal" in which Bates dies! And he also appears in the following episode "The Rescue" in which we see the riots and Visitor takeover of L.A! In this case of conflicting continuity, the TV episodes have to take precedence. Plus, the fact that page 101 suggests that this story takes place in autumn, while Bates' death occurs after Christmas, it seems the best way to reconcile this novel in the chronology is to ignore the references to Bates' death and the riots in L.A. and accept it as taking place in autumn immediately after The New England Resistance. Of course, this negates the main reason for the Jones family leaving southern California; still it's not too hard to imagine that the Visitors, with Bates' cooperation, have made things difficult in the cities surrounding L.A. by allowing checkpoints, curfews, searches and seizures, etc. such that the Jones' would still want to escape to the free states while they could.

Didja Know?

This novel is a sequel to Sucharitkul's earlier novel The Alien Swordmaster.

The prologue of Symphony of Terror, "The Swordmaster" (pages 1-18) was presented earlier on PopApostle since it takes place 1 year before the rest of this novel.

This novel reintroduces Medea, the former Fleet Commander while Diana was in Earth custody in the novel The Florida Project. Here, she has been demoted to a mere city commander in Phoenix.

Didja Notice? 

Page 21 mentions Nathan Bates' death (as witnessed in "The Betrayal") and seems to suggest that this story opens just a short time afterward, as riots are still occurring throughout the greater Los Angeles area. (See Notes from the V chronology above for my explanation of why this story must actually take place before Nathan Bates' death.)

Page 22 reveals that the skyfighter in which Matt, Tomoko and CB escaped from Japan in The Alien Swordmaster a year ago is no longer functional due to malfunctioning parts that resistance technicians have not been able to return to operation. This may also help to explain why the resistance does not seem to regularly use all of the skyfighters they've captured over time; it is too difficult to find replacement parts and keep them in good repair. The fuel used by the Visitors in their vehicles may also be hard to come by.

On page 25, Julie mentions that, since Bates' death, the Visitors have been out in force "...raping, killing, devouring..." At first the concept of the reptilian Visitors being interested in raping humans seems unlikely, but then there have been many examples presented in the TV episodes and novels of the Visitors' interest in sex in general and extending even to human coupling in particular.

On pages 25-26, Julie reveals that the resistance has discovered that the Visitors are working on a new, artificially created super-heavy metal called papinium which, when used as a coating over a small vehicle, might allow the aliens to safely travel into red dust active areas. But the Visitor vehicles in the novel, The Oregon Invasion, seem not to have too much difficulty penetrating red dust areas even without the papinium coating. It would seem that the vehicles would simply need to have finely tuned air filtration systems to keep the dust out. Perhaps papinium has a property (perhaps ionic) which causes the red dust to be attracted to the metallic surface and bonded to it, preventing it from entering the vessel in the first place.

On page 28, Julie is driving a green Mazda with a dented front fender. I guess something happened to her white VW Rabbit convertible seen in the earliest episodes of V and up through the novel, Death Tide.

Page 29 reveals that the Visitors are using converted humans at some roadside checkpoints.

On page 29, Matt uses one of the resistance's voice alteration devices around his neck to pass as a Visitor. The novel The Oregon Invasion gets around the voice limitation between Visitor and human by commenting that it took a while for the aliens to master the control of their voices to eliminate the reverberating sound and more closely mimic the human voice. It could be argued that some Visitors have not mastered the technique and so there are still many who speak with the reverb.

On page 29, Matt, disguised as a Visitor, scares the converted human into doing as he asks by saying, "Let us through at once--unless you want to join me for dinner tonight," a menacing reference to the Visitors' desire to make food of human beings.

Page 34 reveals that Phoenix does not have its own mothership. Instead the Visitors have taken over the Phoenix Hilton hotel as their headquarters.

On page 35, Medea is munching on a plate of human hands and drinking cold blood from a chilled goblet!

On page 36, Medea thanks the "supreme saurian" that something exciting was finally happening. Is this a reference to the Visitors' concept of God? Or just another way to refer to the Leader?

Page 38 reveals that Medea and Fieh Chan were classmates at the military academy on the homeworld.

On page 43, we learn that science-fiction is among Tomoko's reading habits. Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy and Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun are each a real series of SF novels.

On page 44, Matt quotes John Wayne as saying, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." But Wayne never actually said that exact phrase in any of his movies; he says similar lines in Stagecoach and Hondo, but not this same way. Watch 'em anyway, both are great westerns!

Page 45 reveals that the Visitors have a blue probe beam on their skyfighters that help them detect objects of interest on the ground.

On page 46 Medea is drinking a blood cocktail.

When Medea sees young CB driving the fleeing truck on page 48, she imagines that humans train their very babies to fight.

Page 49 mentions Medea's hefty bulk, revealing that her constant eating since the invasion has caused her beautiful form to become obese.

Page 61 reveals that Diana chose her name from Earth mythology: Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.

Also on page 61, Diana vows that, when the war is over, she will destroy the Grand Canyon and build a processing facility on top of it.

On page 67, Matt laments on how the Visitors just keep on coming and coming, pummeling humanity into the ground and thinking, Now I know how the Indians felt when the cavalry started coming down the hill. This is similar to what some experts say would be likely to happen if extraterrestrials actually were to come to Earth; it would be like when the Europeans came to the Americas and subjugated the Native American culture and land to their own desires.

On page 72, Medea partakes of hamster canapés, with the little rodents cocooned alive inside the baked pastry!

Page 73 indicates that Medea removes her human skin every night for sleep and puts it back on in the morning. Is this the norm for the Visitors?

Page 75 mentions the McLean Youth Orchestra, a real world orchestra of serious music students based in McLean, Virginia.

On page 76, Dingwall mentions a great Visitor musician whom he calls (voicing his name in English syllables) Loukas Stourmwitch. Stourmwitch is said to have a new piece called "Galactic Symphony."

On page 77, Dingwall quotes an Earth playwright as saying "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast." The actual quote is "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast" from the 1697 play The Mourning Bride by William Congreve.

Regarding humanity, on page 78, Dingwall tells Medea, " don't understand the beauty of it. This planet has food that can sing and dance; you can even have sex with it! The human being is the perfect biological product: it entertains, it serves as slave labor, and it's one of the most nutritious creatures in the galaxy."

As Willie tries to tell Ray, on page 81, that he's a vegetarian, he stumbles over the word several times, saying "veterinarian, vegetable, vegetinarian" before Ray tells him the word. A year plus of living on Earth, you'd think Willie would at least know that word by now.

Several references in the book suggest that Willie's appearance here is immediately after the events in the novel The New England Resistance.

Page 81 mentions that Willie accidentally got on a bus for Hollywood, Florida instead of Hollywood, California. He didn't realize his mistake until he had reached Raleigh (presumably the city in North Carolina). But at the end of The New England Resistance, Willie gets on a resistance-captured skyfighter to head home, not a bus. However, it could be interpreted the skyfighter only took him as far as New York and he had to catch a bus from there.

Page 88 mentions a Visitor stringed musical instrument called a stranjoops. And by having his violin players loosen their bows and coating the strings with Vaseline, Dingwall manages to recreate the timbre of a gallindor, another instrument. The gallindor is said to make a sound not unlike the mating yowl of a cat.

On page 88, the word "Vaseline" is not capitalized but it should be, being a trademarked name for a brand of petroleum jelly.

Page 89 mentions that humans' bloody history on Earth rivaled the Visitors' own.

Page 89 tells us that Stourmwitch wrote the "Galactic Symphony" to depict the chaos of creation, the searing brilliance of the quasars, the desolation of black holes, and the vastness of space itself.

Page 90 mentions the Alden Theater, an actual music venue in the McLean Community Center in McLean, Virginia.

Page 90 mentions Alexandria, Virginia. This is a real city located just 6 miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.

On page 93, Dingwall uses a Visitor hover disk, first introduced in the novel The Florida Project and mentioned in some of the other novels since then.

On page 94, Matt muses on the idyllic setting of the Virginia mountains he and his family find themselves in, reminding him of The Waltons. The Waltons was a 1972-1981 TV series about a family living in a small Virginia community during the Great Depression and WWII.

Page 97 suggests that Willie (and perhaps all Visitors) have a certain psychic aptitude that allows them to share feelings/thoughts with others during a communal meditation.

Page 97 also suggests that the Visitor culture has been constrained into a force of consummate evil for centuries (presumably by military rule similar to what we see them with throughout the V saga).

Page 100 features what may be the only use of the F-word in the entire V series!

Page 102 mentions Alice Through the Looking Glass. This is a reference to the Lewis Carroll 1871 children's book Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, the sequel to 1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

On page 102, Ray hums an unnamed tune by Alabama. Alabama is a popular country-western band.

On page 104, Matt and CB call themselves Batman and Robin. These are, of course, popular comic-book characters in publications by DC Comics (which also published the V comic).

Page 106 features the use of shuriken or throwing stars. These are a traditional Japanese weapon with sharpened points or blades which could be concealed in the hand and thrown.

On page 107 Ray mentions the Lone Ranger. He is a western character who wears a mask to conceal his identity while fighting evil-doers in the American west.

Also on page 107, CB mentions a ronin. A ronin was a Japanese samurai warrior with no lord or master.

On page 111, Dr. Schwabauer remarks, "I'm a scientist, not a politician." This may be a subtle reference to Star Trek's Dr. McCoy, who would frequently exclaim, "I'm a doctor, not a (fill in the blank)."

Page 111 mentions that some of the new styles of Earth formal wear were actually inspired by Visitor costumes.

Page 111 also mentions that Setsuko is wearing an obi of brilliant blues and fiery oranges. An obi is a sash worn over a kimono.

Page 112 reveals that the Visitors control what is known as the Italo-Greek sector of Europe. The country of Romania has recently become a satellite of this Visitor-controlled territory.

Page 112 also reveals that many diplomats around the world became stranded away from their home countries when the Visitors returned to Earth and conquered much of the planet. Without support and money from their governments, many have been forced to take regular jobs like hamburger cook in the countries in which they've found themselves stranded.

On page 113, Dr. Schwabauer and Setsuko discuss the possibility that the Visitors may be planning to use the sewer system under Alexandria to invade Washington D.C. Dr. Schwabauer asks, "Do you really believe that there may be...reptiles in the sewers of this city?" This is reminiscent of the urban legend that escaped, unwanted, or flushed pet alligators in large cities may have continued to live and hunt in the underground sewers. On page 135, CB even mentions the urban legend in comparison to the Visitors' plan.

Page 114 reveals that Romania has a Visitor viceroy.

On page 115, Romanian Ambassador Andrescu ruminates on his country's foolhardy decision to ally with the Visitors in order to drive the Russians out of their country. At the time of V, Romania was still part of the Soviet Union's communist block behind the iron curtain of eastern Europe.

Also on page 115, Andrescu compares the Visitors to nosferatu. "Nosferatu" is the allegedly Romanian word for vampire, though there is considerable doubt as to the true origins of the word.

On page 116, Andrescu says, "Slava Domnului." This is Romanian for "Thank God."

Page 116 mentions that the First Secretary at the Polish Embassy in Washington D.C. has been forced to work at a Lord and Taylor selling lingerie. Lord and Taylor is a chain of upscale, luxury department stores in the U.S.

On page 117, Andrescu asks Tedescu if Dingwall would be able to breathe some life into his battered old Steinway. He is referring to a Steinway piano, made by the Steinway and Sons company.

On page 117, Tedescu mentions that Dingwall's upcoming concert is to support the opening of the new Spring Oaks Mall. This is a fictional business and does not appear to have existed in the Washington D.C. area.

On page 121, CB mentions Bugs Bunny. Bugs is, of course, a world famous character from Warner Brothers' well-known Looney Tunes cartoons.

   As Matt tries to figure out how to get the Visitor hover discs to work on page 123, he tries to use some magic words to start one up, saying, "SHAZAM! MXYZPTLK! ABRACADABRA! XYZZY!"
   "SHAZAM" comes from the Captain Marvel comic books published by Fawcett Comics from 1939-1953 and later by DC Comics and was the magic word spoken by young Billy Batson to transform into the powerful Captain. (SHAZAM is an acronym for the mythological gods whose powers he receives when he transforms into Captain Marvel: the wisdom of Solomon; the strength of Hercules; the stamina of Atlas; the power of Zeus; the courage of Achilles; and the speed of Mercury).
   "MXYZPTLK" comes from the character of Mr. Mxyzptlk, an impish, magical foe of Superman in comics published by DC Comics; in older Superman stories featuring the annoying and prankish imp, Superman had to trick Mxyzptlk into saying his name backward (kltpzyxm) to get him to leave Earth alone, at least for a while.
   "ABRACADABRA" is an alleged word of magic power used by magicians and healers dating at least as far back the 2nd Century AD.
   "XYZZY" is a magic word from the popular 1970s computer game Colossal Cave Adventure; the word has been written into many subsequent games and programs in a tribute to the original game.

As a squad of Visitor troops are having a barbecue of human flesh on page 129, CB exclaims from hiding that they're making People Nuggets out there. This is probably a reference to the McDonald's fast food chain's popular Chicken McNuggets food item.

Page 139 mentions King Street. This is a real and major road in Alexandria.

Dr. Isaac Asimov, writer and science authority, makes his first of several brief appearances in this novel on page 141. He also appeared in an interview in the novel East Coast Crisis and a pseudo-Asimov character appears in issue #4 of the V comic book (see "Alien Conflict") as Dr. Myron Grasimov. Here, it is mentioned that he is writing a book on the impact of the saurian invasion on the free states.

Page 142 mentions Dr. Charles Sheffield, the head of a corporation that controls the placement of the few satellites Earthlings have left. Sheffield was a real person (1935-2002) and was the chief scientist of the Earth Satellite Corporation (since then acquired by MDA Federal Inc.) at the time this book was written.

Page 142 also mentions Sir John Augustine, British Ambassador to the U.S. Augustine appears to be a fictional creation for the book.

On page 143, the Jones' taxi takes the George Washington Parkway onto Kirby Road. These are both real thoroughfares in McLean.

Page 144 mentions the Visitors using hover tanks. On page 148 it is revealed that these tanks have robotic arms which can emerge from a small portal in the vehicle to grab an individual combatant from outside! This is the first time this type of tank has been seen in the V annals, although a Visitor ground-rover tank with treads is depicted in the novelization of the two V mini-series and in East Coast Crisis.

On page 145, Andrescu says, "Dumnezeu", Romanian for "God".

On page 146, Tedescu says, "Nu vii nemeni...le e greu sa vina la noi." Roughly translated from Romanian it means, "No one's hard to get to us."

On page 148, Dr. Schwabauer says, "Mein lieber gott, ich habe euch vermiβt." This is German for "My dear God, I saw you (untranslatable)."

Page 148 mentions a Louis Quinze sofa in Ambassador Andrescu's home. Louis Quinze is a decorative art style of French Rococo, dating back to the reign of King Louis XV of France (1723–1774).

On page 150 it is revealed that Dingwall has a small blood sac of human blood installed in the dermoplast of his mask which can bleed out through the surface to give the illusion of being a beaten human being. Perhaps all undercover Visitor operatives on Earth have this sac implanted in various parts of their human disguise?

On page 151, Tedescu exclaims of Dingwall, "Este erou!" This is Romanian for "The hero!"

Page 151 mentions that Ambassador Andrescu resembles Bela Lugosi and sounds like him too! This makes some sense as Lugosi was from Romania (at the time of Lugosi's birth, known as Austria-Hungary). In addition, note that Lugosi's real full name was Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó and Ambassador Andrescu's first name is revealed on this same page as Ferenc. Lugosi was an actor best known for his portrayal of Dracula in the 1927 play based on Bram Stoker's novel and the subsequent classic 1930 film version. Andrescu is obviously Sucharitkul's homage to Lugosi, as the character continuously compares the lizards to nosferatu (vampires) and, later in the book, even slays a Visitor with a mallet and wooden stake!

The Looney Tunes cartoon described on pages 153-154 is probably "Haredevil Hare".

As he explores the Andrescu mansion on page 155, CB is reminded of the BBC show Upstairs, Downstairs. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired the series about a rich family who lived in the downstairs of a London townhouse and their servants who lived upstairs from 1971-1975.

On page 164, Andrescu mentions Dr. Freud. Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was a world-renowned Austrian psychoanalyst in the early decades of the 20th century.

On page 165, Setsuko asks, "And what is it your American boy scouts say? 'Be prepared'?" This is correct, the motto of the Boy Scouts of America is "Be Prepared".

Also on page 165, Setsuko refers to Tomoko and CB as Tomoko-san and CB-chan. "San" is a Japanese honorific used to show respect (like Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.). "Chan" is an honorific more endearing than respectful, usually used with children or teenage girls.

On page 169, CB mentions the Friday the Thirteenth and Godzilla series of films. Friday the Thirteenth is an American horror film series started in 1980 about brutal slayings of teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake. The well-known Godzilla series of Japanese films began in 1954. CB also mentions here that the film industry in L.A. is essentially dead except for making Visitor propaganda movies.

On page 174, Dingwall tells Matt the phone at the theater does not work and the nearest working one is at the 7-11 store down the road. 7-11 is an international chain of convenience stores.

On page 175, Tedescu says domnul, Romanian for "mister".

After he is captured by Dingwall and locked in the basement with the other children, CB says he feels like he's in the middle of Hansel and Gretel, a reference to the Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a young brother and sister menaced by a child-eating witch in a candy-and-cake house in the forests of Germany.

Recalling bits and pieces of her conversion on page 180, Nadia describes the image of a monster opening it's jaws with blood dripping. This is somewhat similar to an image seen in Julie Parrish's conversion in "The Masterpiece". Perhaps the monster is a common theme used in the Visitors' conversion process.

On page 181, Nadia says, "Doamne ajuta! ce sa fac?" Translated from Romanian it means, "God help! What to do?"

Page 182 reveals that Dingwall has set the chains that hold the children in his basement to open by the spoken command of "Open Sesame". Dingwall, being into the myths of primitive cultures, has borrowed the phrase from the English translation of the classic Arabic tale, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

On page 188, Dingwall admits he's behaving in the manner of a bad movie villain by revealing his scheme to CB.

On page 189, Dingwall mentions the small suburb of Spring Oaks where the new Spring Oaks Mall has been built. This appears to be a fictional community.

Page 190 mentions the Visitors' secret rendezvous point of Lorton, Virginia in an area where a prison was once located. This is a real city in Fairfax County, Virginia and is the site of a former prison.

On page 194, Setsuko says, "Anata ga watashi o nakasemashita shite amasu no de..." I have not been able to translate these phrases.

Also on page 194, Fieh Chan calls Setsuko "Setchan" as a nickname. It combines "Set" from Setsuko and "chan", the Japanese honorific of endearment.

On page 195 we learn that Setsuko has managed to create a culture of a new type of red dust bacteria that will destroy the bonds of papinium thanks to the use of equipment that was salvaged from the wreckage of the Visitors' Florida Project. This salvage by exobiologists was depicted at the end of the novel The Florida Project.

On page 197, Tedescu drives on Washington Street through Old Town. Washington Street is part of State Route 400 through Alexandria, VA and does actually pass through the area of the city known as Old Town.

On page 199, Sir John says their upcoming battle against the Visitors will be like the siege of Bhaktipore all over again. I am unable to find any real world references to this event or to a region or community with the name of Bhaktipore. It may be a misspelling of a real region or community or it may be intended as a fictional battle that took place within the V universe. (Bhaktipore is mentioned again in the chronologically later novel To Conquer the Throne).

On page 199, Andrescu says, "De unde esti dumneata?" Translated from Romanian, it is, "Where are you?"

On page 203, Andrescu recalls how a Hollywood producer had made him a gift of a wooden mallet and stake, props from a vampire movie, because of his resemblance to the most famous movie vampire of all time, Bela Lugosi. Andrescu reminisces that he had told the producer that he was not a direct descendant of Vlad Dracul, "The Impaler". Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, is believed to have based his vampire character in part on the historical figure of Vlad Dracula (1431-1476), a ruler of Wallachia (later to become Romania).

Page 204 mentions Old Dominion Drive. This is a real road in McLean, VA.

On page 208, Sir John points out a former U.S. President attending the concert. This former President is not named. At the time this novel is supposed to take place, autumn of 1984, it could be Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, or Jimmy Carter. The current President of the time would be either Ronald Reagan (in the real world and, it is suggested, in the novel The Texas Run) or the fictional William Morrow in the V universe (according to the V mini-series novelization and East Coast Crisis).

Page 214 mentions several music terms as Tomoko leafs through the concert program. "Retrograde inversion" and "sonic palindrome" are legitimate musical terms (too detailed to go into here). I can find no specific instances of "chrono-reversal" or "semi-aleatory pseudo-textural polyphony" in the musical literature available online; they may still be legitimate terms used by musicians (author Suchartikul is also a composer of music, now known as S.P. Somtow).

On page 234, Medea flies over the Blue Ridge Mountains. These are a part of the Appalachian Mountain Range and the Blue Ridge portion runs from Georgia northeast to Pennsylvania, passing through Virginia where the bulk of our story takes place.

The epilogue of the book describes Tomoko and Fieh Chan living in the mountain forests of Virginia and living off the land. This is very similar to the scenario of Ruth and Hadad in the novel The Oregon Invasion!

As Tomoko begins her sword training with Fieh Chan on page 240, she feels "the power flow through her body...the sword was a part of herself, an extension of her innermost beings." It seems odd that Suchartikul writes "beings" instead of "being" as we'd normally expect. It could be a typo or misprint or, possibly, it was an intentional way of stating that Tomoko feels there are multiple sides of herself all coming together through the Zen of the sword.

On page 242, CB delivers a Russian Orthodox crucifix from Andrescu to Tomoko. The Russian Orthodox cross (also known as the Eastern Orthodox cross) has an extra, smaller crossbar placed above the main one and a slanted crossbar at the bottom. There are various explanations as to what the extra crossbars represent. This form of the crucifix is known to be used in Andrescu's homeland of Romania. (Image by RickP from Wikimedia Commons).

On the last page of the novel it is revealed that Tomoko may be pregnant with Fieh Chan's baby. But past V stories have stated or implied that previous Visitor/human fertilizations could only take place between certain genetically responsive individuals and with modifications by scientists. Tomoko and Fieh Chan have not been through this process (at least not to the reader's knowledge). Although, among his many other skills, Fieh Chan is something of a scientist and inventor as well, so it is possible he has made the necessary modifications to his own and Tomoko's DNA to make a pregnancy between them vaguely possible. (With all of his skills, Fieh Chan is practically the Buckaroo Banzai of V!)

For some reason, the publisher chose to use a photo of Donovan and Tony Leonetti from a scene of their incident interacting with guerillas in El Salvador from "Arrival" as the cover of this novel. Donovan does not appear in the novel and Tony has been dead for well over a year!

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