The Northern Spy: of reading and routing
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The Northern Spy: of reading and routing

By Rick Sutcliffe

At long last, the Spy's series The Throne is starting to see the light of day. The first book, Culmanic Parts was published in June. Now, the second, Rea's Blood or Navy Girl is available from publisher Writers Exchange. See the URLs below. The third book Tara's Mother is in publishers's editing as we write, and the fourth The Paladin is undergoing second proofing before being made available to the Spy's volunteer reader/correctors.

These books are background to the Alternate History series The Interregnum, which currently has six volumes published. The Throne was intended to be the final book in that series, but has grown into a four-book series of its own. The first three books of The Throne can be read as a standalone trilogy, and The Paladin will offer conclusions to both series.

The original intent was to offer a brief history of alternate earth Hibernia--how Ireland came to be the world's superpower, and something of the history of how we got to the situation described in The Interregnum, which covers 1941-2001. Chapters set about a century apart starting in the eleventh century interspersed with those on the restoration of royal rule in 2001 were to form the concluding book. However, this got out of hand in the fourteenth century, which ended up becoming over 700K words and most of three books.

Culmanic Parts has a brief chapter on the events of 1014 when Brian Boru survived the battle and established an enduring throne, one proof against English/Norman incursions, indeed that came to dominate the Irish Isles and become the United Kingdom of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England. Section two is a longer story involving a restoration of the kingdom after a civil war in the fourteenth century, and relates how the leaders of that time began the Culmanic (scientific) and industrial revolution, named after King Cullen and his associate Rufus Maynard, and given impetus by its chief practitioner Katie the horse girl.

The larger remainder of the first volume tells of super spy Carlan Rea's adopted daughter Amy, a.k.a. "slum girl" the inheritor of the Culmanic mantle in the early fifteenth century, who wins a scholarship to the elite Royal Academy, absorbs nine rich kids into her orbit, and takes academia by storm. Since all the best academies are military, the Diechara ("ten friends") graduate with Royal Army commissions into a hot war with Spain--Amy defying conventional wisdom by joining a lesser service, the Royal Army Naval Corps. But why has the Assassins' Guild three contracts on her life?

The second volume, Rae's Blood or Navy Girl, details Amy Rea's career in RANC through the rapid growth and deployment of Ireland's naval force, her engagements in three fleets operating in the Mediterranean, at the southern cape, the Orient, back to the battle of the Nile, and then Trafalgar. Along the way she forms a band of brothers and sisters from many nations who are willing to follow her to hell and return with its gates in their ship's hold.

The third volume, Tara's Mother, which may see the light of day as early as December, follows up with the survivors of Trafalgar, who must still fight the decisive land battle against the forces of the French emperor at Mt. Sainte Jean and deal with the ruthless and cruel Spanish dictator Carlos. But the biggest problem monarch of all is Ireland's corpulent and corrupt King Frederick. We follow Amethyst Meathe and associates through foreign land and sea battles to the streets of the despairing Irish capital of Tara, where she tries to ignite a new beginning. What is her great secret, the secret of the ages?

Volume four, The Paladin, follows the subsequent history of the Irish throne after the day of Amy and Amethyst, beginning in 1492, when a woman rolls from a dumpster into the Dublin city garbage dump. She has no past, no memories, and has apparently been killed, her body burned. But she has remarkable recuperative powers, and it soon becomes evident that she is another like the two versions of Cain from the first nexus--after a death, what's left of her body resets, though with memory issues--and intended to assist Samadeya-Qayin in his millennia-old battles with Pelik-Qayin, the enemy of all that is God or good, as the two vie for The Throne of Ireland. But she suffers from identity angst and isn't always a willing participant, so God disciplines her harshly. Who is she, really?

In interleaved story-cycle fashion, this volume also tells the story of Karina Tansey, a character introduced in The Interregnum, and through her eyes we learn more about the real events of the first battle of Glenmorgan, and baby Mara Meathe, who is one of the main characters of The Interregnum. Finally, and also in interspersed chapters, it tells of events in 2001 that lead up to and takes us through the Second Battle of Glenmorgan, fought by the Royal forces under General of the Armies Mara Meathe and her associates against the racist, xenophobic and virulently anti-Christian former bishop of Tara, the MacCarthy Mor, Philip Desmond. Side stories tell of Lucas Caine, son by rape of Pelik, and his coming of age and maturity, as he become Mara's Vice-Commander, but then… Well, suffice it to say that all wraps up, sans a number of characters. Hope you enjoy the books. They've been a long time in production.

When you invest in a skookum NAS like the 8-bay Synology 1815+, you want to be able to access it reliably from the outside, for configuration purposes, to set up a cloud, or to set up mail or web sites. However, home IP numbers are dynamic, and your provider may change them more or less frequently. Thus the need for DDNS (dynamic DNS), which is simply a name for the technique of allowing a home computer, modem, or NAS to periodically check its own IP number and reset the number on a registered domain so that it passes traffic to the correct numerical address from a fixed domain name.

What follows below is a Python script to do just that. It presupposes that the domain in question is registered at Enom, that a domain password has been set, and that Python is running on the machine where the script is located. The Spy created a directory called "code" in his user folder on his Mac, and put the script there, activated Python, and ran it. It works! For best results, set up a cron job to run it, say once every half hour. On the ASUS3200 modem, select "Administration" under the "Advanced Settings" and the "System" tab, then click "Yes" under "Enable Web Access from Wan" and leave the port at 8080. Warning: don't select "Allow only specified IP address" unless you ensure that you do indeed add several local and remote addresses, or the modem will be inaccessible.

If you want to access your NAS, then select "WAN" and its "Port Forwarding" tab, enable Port Forwarding, then fill in the list with, say, for the Synology, http, Port 5000, the local IP of the NAS (selected from the drop down) the local port as 5000, and TCP protocol. Be sure to clock both the add button and "Apply". It is now possible to access both the modem and the NAS with a web browser from outside the home network.

The Script


# by: Rick Sutcliffe
# ------------------------
# A python script to update the DNS IP for a domain registered at Enom.
# Assumes:
# domain is registered with Enom
# nameservers are set to Enom's
# domain password set
# python installed
# Recommended : run this with a cron periodically

# imports
import urllib2, os

# Declarations
ip_check_url = '' # What is my IP? many such services can return the IP as text
last_set_ip_path = './last_set_ip.txt' # Text file to store last IP set by this program
domain = '' # domain to be edited
password = '******' # password on domain at registrar
enom_url = ''

# get current IP for the site
current_ip = urllib2.urlopen(ip_check_url).read()

# rest of declarations
settings = {'enom_url': enom_url, 'domain': domain, 'password': password, 'current_ip': current_ip} # for the update
enom_update_url = '%(enom_url)s&zone=%(domain)s&domainpassword=%(password)s&address=%(current_ip)s' % settings

# do the update at Enom
def update_enom():
# Check that the last_set_ip_path already exists & create if not
if not os.path.exists(last_set_ip_path):
open(last_set_ip_path, 'w').close()

# Compare last saved IP to the fetched IP
old_ip = open(last_set_ip_path, 'r').read()
if old_ip == current_ip:
return # the IP address is unchanged so nothing to do

# Else it has changed, so update Enom
enom_response = urllib2.urlopen(enom_update_url).read()
#print enom_response #debug
# Now save the newly set ip
open(last_set_ip_path, 'w').write(current_ip)
# end all declarations

# body

Until we meet again that's all for this month. The Spy needs to get back to constructing final exams, finishing his proofing of The Paladin, and adding a dozen or more pages to his web site to plug the newly released novel.

--The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author's own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a. k. a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada's Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several community and organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and nine alternate history SF novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to ArjayBB. com. Participate and you could win free web hosting from the WebNameHost. net subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe's fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Amazon's Booksurge.

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Arjay Enterprises:
The Northern Spy Home Page: http://www. TheNorthernSpy. com
opundo : http: //opundo. com
Sheaves Christian Resources : http: //sheaves. org
WebNameHost : http://www. WebNameHost. net
WebNameSource : http://www. WebNameSource. net
nameman : http: //nameman. net

General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Books:
Author Site: http://www. arjay. ca
Publisher's Site: http://www. writers-exchange. com/Richard-Sutcliffe. html
The Fourth Civilization--Ethics, Society, and Technology (4th 2003 ed. ): http://www. arjay. bc. ca/EthTech/Text/index. html
Sites for Modula-2 resources
Modula-2 FAQ and ISO-based introductory text:
R10 Repository and source code:

URLs for resources mentioned in this column
Culmanic Parts:
Rae's Blood:


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