This story had its roots in three others:

His Dark Materials – naturally.

And The Walls Crumble, by Morpherkidvb – the mention of the Knife's intentions in the story summary got me thinking.

Lyra Goes On Holiday, by Daisy – the last chapter, where Will contemplates taking metalwork lessons at school so he can re-forge the Subtle Knife.

I hope I've not trodden on anyone's toes with this story, and that if I have you'll forgive me.

What do I wish I'd done differently?  Oh – the story is much too short, of course.  It would have been nice to have told it more slowly.  I wish I'd taken the time to find out more about Henry and Lizzie, who are barely sketched in as characters.  I wondered about including a relationship between Greaves and the efficient Miss Morley, but the sort of thing I had in mind would have taken the story into NC-17 territory…  And what about Will's three lost weeks spent homeless in London? 

Mary Malone had little to do apart from be moved around by the plot, which is a shame.  Was it the Latrom influence that resulted in her not being able to get a decent job in Oxford?  Will she carry on working at Sainsbury's?

Did Remiel intend that Henry Latrom should die?  He certainly wasn't in any hurry to open the window at Stonehenge.

Elaine Parry got a rotten deal, as usual.  Philip Pullman's no better; that's my excuse.  One day someone's going to write her story, and do it properly.

Why doesn't Will follow Lizzie through the window to Lyra's world?  Well, for all the reasons he gives.  Plus, Giancarlo has better things to do than be a transdimensional chauffeur for Will.  But mostly, because he's English.  That's the sort of thing English people do.  Trust me.

What happens next?  Will all the Exiles be saved?  Will Miss Morley do a good job of running The Grove, and the other parts of the Latrom empire?  What will Lizzie make of her life, and will she and Lyra be friends?  Free of the influence of the Knife, will Will start to think seriously about the uses of Imagination?  What does the future hold for Remiel and the Bellinis?  Lastly, I don't suppose I'm the first person in the world to notice how much Will Parry and Frodo Baggins have in common ;)

Ceres Wunderkind, March 2002