Can you discuss a particular plot challenge and its solution?
DD: An obvious point is that to have an equivalence to Virginia’s economy (and Washington’s place in it), I had to have slaves.
The trick is that slavery wasn’t a big issue (even in Britain) in 1750, but it’s a huge issue now. Using human slavery would have made it impossible for a modern reader to view the situation through the eyes of Washington and his contemporaries. (If I’d been using a Civil War model, that wouldn’t have been a problem. Slavery was an issue to the parties then.) I therefore created trainable animals (I used the example of weaver birds in the outline) which would be just as inefficient as the human slaves in Virginia but without the modern moral aspects.
– David Drake in an interview for Bull Spec Magazine, 2011.