Monday, 1 August 2016

Plunder And Burn Policy

"'First plunder, then burn!' Everard recalled."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 35.

"First plunder, then burn."
-SM Stirling, Island In The Sea Of Time (New York, 1998), p. 385.

Has that "joke" got a wide circulation or is one author quoting the other - or both? The punctuation is identical except for the exclamation mark. The entire phrase is italicized except for the single word "then" which means that that word is emphasized.

The difference is that Everard merely anticipates the plunder of a city by invaders whereas Stirling's character, William Walker, a time traveler from the twentieth century, uses future weaponry to lead plundering and burning. Walker is a serious villain and antagonist, far more so than the crazed pastor who had instigated attempted arson in Nantucket. Will Walker be defeated in Island... or will he become the continuing villain of the trilogy? Only further reading will tell. Spoilers are not solicited.

1 comment:

David Birr said...

Wide circulation, I'd say. I've seen a more elaborate variant in a *The Far Side* cartoon, and in the webcomic *Schlock Mercenary* a version using "Pillage" instead of "plunder" is the first maxim in a "self-improvement" book for the ruthless and unscrupulous.