Welcome to The Red Opera

The website about the work of Paul Hoffman

Japanese Translation

Dear Mizuhito Kanehara,

Thank you for your questions. I hope these answers (in italics after your question) are of help. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any further queries.

Best wishes,


About the hairstyle of Solomon Solomon , it is said in P.337 L18: “And with that Cale stood over the Solomon Solomon, pulled his head up by the hair and dispatched him with a single blow to the back of the neck.”, yet in P.151 the third line from the bottom:“He was a big man with a shaved head and bad tempered eyes.”.
Which page has the correct image?

I’m afraid you’ve caught me out in a mistake: “He was a big man with bad tempered eyes.” will be fine and will solve the problem.

About boss: It is said in P.158 L.20 “Then it became easier to ask the boss if he wanted something tidied up or put elsewhere,”. It is not clear for me which person this “boss” is.

The ‘boss’ is the young Materazzi they have been assigned to, You could try ‘his boss’.

Please lecture me about the “Materazzi”. At first, I thought it a word meaning aristocracy of Memphis, like “Von” in German. If it is so, as Vipond must be a high class member of the state, is he also called “Vipond Materazzi”? Or is it a family name for an enormous family? In case that, “Marshal Materazzi” is a full name? I have another question concerning this name. Is “Marshal” a first name or meaning any title?

The Materazzi are a kind of clan – many of them related but often the relationship is a perceived one, full of strategic adoptions and so on. However, the central power would tend to lie with those of the purest heritage. Hence Marshall is a title, an inheritable clan leader. In effect there will be a number of powerful families interrelated by blood but also by an idea of kinship. Vipond is Count Vipond Materazzi but isn’t known as such but he could be – he is closely related to the Marshall but his powerful position might have been filled by someone who is part of the aristocracy of the clan ( a bit like the five families of the mafia). Elsewhere you could become a member of the Materrazi in the same way that a mafiosi of long service could become a ‘made man’ of the mafia as long as he fulfilled other criteria that made him socially acceptable.

It is said in P.25 L.9: “About fifteen feet below them was a sight unlike anything they had ever experienced; indeed, more than they had ever dreamt of.”, and after that, said in P.27 L.1: “With his hands stretched to their furthest limit he was just able to push the hatch across so that it fell into place.”.
His height could be about seven feet with his hands up to their furthest limit. This makes the table’s height eight feet or so. I think there may be some mistaking.

An error of description from me – the idea was that ‘fifteen feet below’ refers to the floor wheras Cale climbs on the table to close the hatch. If you remove ‘About fifteen feet’ so that it begins; ‘Below them was a sight…’ this should solve it.

Can I have clear image of the “keep”?

Is it like this? I think this is a pretty good sense of what it looks like.

The Keep

The Keep

About “Memphis”: is it a whole empire Marshal rules or the capital town of it?

Think of it like London to the old British Empire.

About Arbell’s dwelling: is the “private apartment(it is also said “palazzo”)” one of the large rooms of the main part or a house detached from the main part?

A detached house.

It is said in P.365 L.1 “watchman of the city of York,” and in P.366 seventh line from the bottom, “the Governor of York”.
Does “the Governor” mean the city mayor or any other bureaucrat?

Not a mayor, a military and political Materrazi appointee. There would be a mayor as well but subservient to the governor.

I want to have more clear systematic image of “Sanctuary”. Is it an independent feudal state or ruled by some state or ruler like a Pope?

Think of it as something like Europe in the early 17th century. Southern Europe is dominated by Catholicism, Northern Europe by Protestants. For Catholicism read Redeemers, for Protestants read Antagonists. However, here the Redeemers are a military and political force in themselves led by the Pontiff in Chartres (the equivalent of the Vatican) and not a religious power that holds sway indirectly over Catholic kings and queens who are the actual political and legal power under the Pope’s guidance. The Sanctuary is a centre of religious and military power because of its control of training (a kind of Sandhurst) but it is not the most important centre (this is gone into detail in book2). By the close of book 1 you could think of Bosco as number four in the Redeemer hierarchy and rising but with powerful opponents at the centre of power in Chartres. As becomes clear in book 2 his beliefs about Cale and his plans for him are effectively heresy.


Mizuhito Kanehara