Emily Molson: The Book Club enjoyed The Shushan Citadel so much they want more of the same for March.
Gloria Pearson-Vasey: So you’re going to read The Dúns next?
Dora Smith: We are. Is it as exciting as The Shushan Citadel?
GP: I’d like to think so. It has all the espionage and futuristic elements of the earlier book, plus it adds military war planning.
DS: Am I pronouncing the title correctly – the doons?
EM: What is the significance of the title?
GP: The Dúns is the collective name for the territories protected by Abbey Trádún and DúndirkaNoka, two of the three subterranean cities that survived the Desolation. You see, dún means fort, and both of these cities have dún in their names because they are, in fact, covert forts.
EM: You say covert because General Haz doesn’t know that they are as heavily fortified as his citadel.
GP: Yes, and of course, his wife, Lady Esther, has an essential role in the intrigue.
DS: Speaking of Lady Esther, what’s happening at the Citadel in this book?
GP: The Shushan Citadel remains a beehive of activity. As the third subterranean city in the Great Lakes region, it too has acquired territory. But unlike the leaders in the other communities, General Haz enslaves everyone. He’s also plotting to subjugate the Abbey and First Nations populations as well as take over the surrounding Wastelands.
EM: But I’m sure the Abbey and First Nations people won’t surrender without resistance.
GP: They have more than mere resistance in mind.
DS: Cool. I guess this is where the spy stuff and military action comes in.
GP: You’ll find out in the pages of the book.
EM: Now, is General Haz still following the script of the Book of Esther?
GP: He is, and with the thirteenth day of Adar fast approaching, Lady Esther is desperate to keep her husband from destroying her people.
DS: The month of March is Child Life Month. Moreover, International Women’s Day is also celebrated in March. Can we find situations relating to these themes in The Dúns?
GP: Abundantly. For one thing, contrary to the values of the Abbey and DúndirkaNoka, the harem still exists at the Citadel, and it contributes in unusual ways to the General’s ‘expansion philosophy’. Another example is the correspondence between Lady Esther and Abbess Brigid regarding relationships, heartache, responsibility and the attainment of serenity.
EM: Oh, my! The book club members are going to have a blast discussing the issues that arise in this book.
GP: Thanks, Em. I hope they will.