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31 January 2003

Patrick writes from France to point out that it should be no surprise if Outremer comes in blue covers, given that 'outremer' means ultramarine (well, obviously it does, and I can't believe I didn't see it sooner; Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?). And my dictionary tells me that the reason that particular shade of blue is called ultramarine not because of any connection with the blue of the Mediterranean, as I had always assumed, but because it was originally made from lapis lazuli, which had to be brought in from beyond the sea, ultra marinus, outre mer. 'Outremer' is also the French word for lapis lazuli, as well as being the general term for overseas and the specific term for the Crusader states. And now of course it is the series title for three or six volumes of fantasy, depending which side of which sea you prefer. Honestly, blue is such a greedy colour...

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© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.