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A Bad Crossing

by Mark Bondurant

A Bad Crossing - Mark Bondurant - Autobiography of Calista Antoine
Part of the The Autobiography of Calista Antoine series:
ISBN: 1940995078

It was the fall of 1892 and we were two days out of Las Palmas in the Canaries. All the passengers we ferried out of the Congo were gone, off to the aerodrome or looking for other passage to Europe, and we were just Red again, and there was no reason I should have felt that way. We escaped from the Congo, we got away. Better than got away. We had our cargo and money. We won, even though they lost. They all lost everything, even their lives. I could feel the water moving past the hull, the surge of the waves, and the blessed creaking of the mast in her step, and I knew that I was home, and my Ma and Pa were there. And Knockers. She's meowed. I could see the whole crew and even Mme. Verbeeck’s ghost standing on the ladder. She looked worried.


Camille naturally wanted Vitali's Chaconne again. I was ready for him, but it was the last thing I wanted to play.

“Can we do something else? You play it so darkly.”

“Is there any other way?” He looked smug.

Really, it’s easy. Raise the pitch and tempo on the parts you don’t like, then add flourish as needed. Maybe cut some parts out. I put my violin under my chin, waiting for Camille to approve, but he just stared. So I launched into it anyway. As I played his stare turned to surprise, then shock.

“No! No! Stop,” he sputtered. “That is a travesty!” He said each word. “You will certainly not play my works that way. I forbid it!”

He leaned his elbows on the piano music stand and rubbed his temples.

“No. You will not rewrite other’s works. You will learn to do it right. Start again.”

“Really Saint-Saëns,” Lucien said, standing there with his queue.

“It’s not done!”


“Cali?” Lucien asked.

“Let him,” I replied wearily.

I don’t like the way it’s written. It’s the disingenuousness of the piece. It’s so hollow. Like the funeral of some terrible man. Worst of all, to me it was the Congo. The docks in Leopoldville. Aleta’s fever. The walk in the night.

But begin he did, without another word, and I followed, drawing notes down out of air for him. They fell like dead sparrows. Slower and darker than before, pulling the Congo slowly out of its shell.

Reviews:Jen Selinsky wrote:

Calista Antione has just started to get her life back together. After the traumatic events of her recent past (from volume 1), she wants nothing more than to go back to school and lead a "normal" life. Calista sets out on a journey to Europe to complete her education. Though our heroine boards the zeppelin with great hopes of studying music, things take a turn for the worse when sabotage claims the life of some of the passengers and the crew. Calista, with the help of some of her friends, acts as medic and help some of those lives remaining survive. Things go from bad to worse when infamy tarnishes Calista's name, and she finds that she has to face many untrue accusations. Though this steampunk fantasy is woven around an alternate historical timeline, that does not detract the reader from enjoying the adventure. Read A Bad Crossing to explore the courageous spirit of a truly remarkable young woman!

I've created a world that I like to hang out in the greatest time for adventure in human history. In this book Calista is off to Europe to start her music career, but it's derailed. He she meets her first true enemy and gets to come to terms with her future husband (book 4), and inklings of her true destiny. As always, I've tried to create true adventure and innocent romance in a unique and difficult to define place. It's certainly hard to classify. Spend time there with me if you want to. Maybe we'll run into each other. I might even buy you a drink.

About the Author

Mark Bondurant is an alternate history author.