Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Word Count: 79,000
My Main Character's Greatest Fear:
What Monsieur Eiffel fears most is that they will not arrive 1 May 1889. "What then?" he wonders. "What is to become of the Tour en Fer de Trois Cents Mètres, the end result of two years of our conspiratorial labors? Will it be for naught? After all, what other purpose could The Tower serve?"
Of course, based on the grim painting by Georges Seurat -- the one depicting a city afire and titled “2xMXI” -- he also fears what will transpire if they do arrive 1 May 1889.
No structure on Earth is more intimately tied to a city than the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Rising more than 1,000 feet above the Champ de Mars is a marriage of 18,000 pieces of iron and 7,000,000 rivets. When plans for the Tour en Fer de Trois Cents Mètres—the centerpiece of the 1889 World’s Fair—went public, it was universally derided. Why did the renowned and respected engineer Gustave Eiffel risk his reputation, not to mention his personal fortune, in the face of such overwhelming adversity?
Because of eight thunderous notes from Beethoven’s signature symphony, known to the world, but understood by a select few:
And five words:
we arrive 1 may 1889.
First 250 words:
The eight notes, known throughout the civilized world, but known only for what they purported to be rather than what they truly were, rained across the sky. A single tear of joy traced down his cheek and disappeared into his now-grey beard.
“Ils sont arrivés. They’re here. It is time,” he wheezed.
He struggled to stand, to raise himself from the chair, so that he might make his way over to the window to see, to see it with his own eyes.
“Will the docking be successful? Will they latch? I hope I understood the design specifications, interpreted them correctly,” he said aloud. “They seemed complete, robust. Clearly, their engineers possessed exemplary skills. Still, nonetheless, they drafted them relying on an uncertain level of understanding of our language, not to mention our newly adopted metric standards. I suppose we shall see if they managed to overcome these challenges.”
He collapsed back into the chair. His 91-year-old body had grown too weak, too feeble. So he would not be witness to the crowning achievement of his life’s work. But he had succeeded. He knew he had.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel smiled and closed his eyes for the final time...