The Trojans Are Coming

Trojans is now thoroughly available to buy from Snowbooks – and to prove it, I have a copy physically in my hands:

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It has all the text in it and everything:

…including the last few pages, where I go a bit George RR Martin:

It looks fantastic and I love it – and, if you enjoyed The Pendragon Protocol and The Locksley Exploit and want to find out what happens after the world-shaking ending of the latter, it’s available from Snowbooks now.

(Amazon should follow shortly, but they don’t seem to have their copies yet – in the meantime, buying straight from the publisher is better anyway.)

Trojans

The wonderful Emma Barnes at Snowbooks has sent through the cover of Trojans, book 3 of the Devices trilogy, which is due out in October of this year.

With the first cover of the trilogy being red and gold, and the second predominantly green, blue seemed the way to go this time:

Trojans

It’s a nicely pared-down design, emphasising the thriller element while keeping an emblem of fantasy central and maintaining continuity with the previous two. Needless to say, I love it.

The blurb for Trojans is already available at this site. Further details — the full cover, updated character excerpts, more shields and stuff, maybe a trailer — will follow over the next six months.

And in October, the trilogy — and Jory Taylor’s story — will be complete.

“Mummers and Poppers”

With The Locksley Exploit out today, I’m the featured author at the Snowbooks website. This mostly means that there’s a link to my books direct from the front page, but also that you can read “Mummers and Poppers”, a short story set between The Pendragon Protocol and The Locksley Exploit.

(The seasonal theme — although it fits with the chronology — reveals that this story started life as one of a series I send out regularly with Christmas cards, now repurposed for publicity ends. If you enjoy it, you can find all my previous Christmas stories on my other, more antiquated website.)

A very merry Christmas to you all this June.

Locksley Is Coming!

It’s only a few days now before the paperback of The Locksley Exploit is available for general purchasing and consumption: publication date is this Monday, 1 June.

Here are some TLE coverexciting things:

  1. The full front and back cover of The Locksley Exploit, as designed by the brilliant Emma Barnes at Snowbooks.
  2. A recording of me at a BristolCon Fringe event in April, reading the trailer for The Locksley Exploit. (The long-promised recording of me reading the Pendragon Protocol trailer at a Fringe event last August still hasn’t made it to the web, unfortunately.)
  3. Both The Locksley Exploit and The Pendragon Protocol for sale — along with an impressive number of other Snowbooks titles — at the UK’s specialist online SF and fantasy retailer, Spacewitch.

You can also order The Locksley Exploit direct from the publishers, Snowbooks. When its published, this will be its Amazon page.

Monday will also see the exclusive publication on the Snowbooks website of a short story set between the two books — look for a link to that here.

World Book Night

World Book Day in the UK is, confusingly, held on a completely different day from World Book Day in the rest of the world. As well as making a mockery of the whole concept, this caused me unnecessary panic at the beginning of March as I flapped about trying to source a vaguely plausible Robin Hood costume for my five-year-old at very little notice. (Fortunately, green tracksuit bottoms and hoodie with a wooden bow and arrow via Amazon Prime pretty much did the trick.)

Apparently, though, we’re allowed to celebrate World Book Night on the date it’s meant to be: 23 April, the anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare, Cervantes and Nabokov among others. Which means that at 7:30pm on Thursday 23 April this year, I’ll be at Bristol Central Library, discussing routes into publishing with fellow Bristol authors Fergus McNeill and Lucienne Boyce. The panel event’s called ‘Into Print for World Book Night’, and I just discovered today that there are posters up for it in Bristol Libraries. So, if you’re around in Bristol and free that night, do come along.

Locksley Released

The Locksley Exploit has been appearing to buy at various locations during the week.  I’ll continue to update these as they come in.

The book already has its first review on Goodreads, and it’s very pleasing. Go on, buy it, you’ll enjoy it too.

New Trailer

I mentioned a while ago that 2 March is the release date for the ebook format of The Devices Book 2, The Locksley Exploit. That being the day after tomorrow, now, I’ve put together a text trailer along the lines of the one I previously created for The Pendragon Protocol:

The Locksley Exploit: Trailer

Paul Parsons shakes his head angrily.  ‘What could Robin Hood’s Merry Men possibly want with the Holy Grail?’ 

It’s 2015, and Camelot and Sherwood are at war.

Stephen Mukherjee feels no qualms as the Chapel men and women round the corner.  He and Blythe have right on their side, after all: right, polymer-coated steel blades, and the devices of two puissant and noble knights. 

‘You there, stop!’ Stephen shouts, raising his sword in challenge with all the authority the Circle vests in him.  ‘Put down your weapons and surrender!’ 

The Chapel’s lead man has his green hood pulled over his face by now, revealing only a firm mouth and stubbly chin.  Even so, as he raises his longbow, nocks an arrow and gives it flight, jamming it firmly into the shoulder of Blythe’s armour, Stephen knows him. 

The Circle, the UK paramilitary agency whose Knights carry the devices of the members of King Arthur’s Round Table…

The stuttered bellow of the guns is deafening – as is the shrieking of the building alarm – but the Knights’ shields and armour hold firm as they march like inexorable sci-fi robots across the open-plan office space.  Through the choking cordite smoke Jory can see Paul’s emblem of three red bars, Stephen’s black-and-white checks, Transom’s elaborate sailing-ship, juddering with the multiple impacts.  The burgundy upholstery’s taking a shredding from the swords, not to mention the gunfire, and there’s a computer exploding every few seconds. 

…is hunting the Green Chapel, eco-activists allied to Robin Hood’s Merry Men.

Merry’s about to sing.  She’s standing, her russet hair hanging about her shoulders like a copper-beech’s crown.  She squeezes Jory’s hand and he slips away quietly somewhere, but everyone’s eyes are on Merry herself.  Her poise admits no nervousness, no embarrassment at bursting into a song in a packed pub where many of the drinkers are complete strangers, as she begins:

‘The outlaws’ flag is Lincoln green, 
the emerald of a forest scene.
Beneath it rests a martyr true,
enfolded in its fir-tree hue.’

For the Knights, this quest is personal as well as political: the Chapel’s leader, Jory Taylor, is himself an errant Knight – and he has stolen the Holy Grail from the British Museum.

‘Stop!’ Merry cries, jumping up onto a trestle table.  Nobody pays any attention, obviously, so she reaches into her denim holdall, untangles the Grail from her spare bra and holds it up, yelling ‘Stop!’ again. 

She leaps down and marches forward bearing the Grail aloft.  ‘Knights of the Circle, peasants of the Green Chapel!’ she cries, raising her voice above the quietening melee as the combatants begin to spot what she’s holding.  ‘You British Beasts and you, the Adam Bell gang,’ she continues, as the realisation spreads.  ‘All of you, stop fighting!  This is sacred ground!’ 

But this war is fought with modern weapons…

There’s a longish pause.  Then Jory says, ‘Just consider it, Rev.  They know about the Trip – they’ve been surveilling you with drones.  They know exactly where your HQ is, and they’re coming just as soon as they’ve broken the back of your resistance.’ 

‘I never expected anything less,’ Cantrell says.  He knows about the quadcopter camera drones – indeed, he knows that it’s reluctance to provoke international reprisals that’s kept the Circle from using larger combat UAVs on British citizens, rather than mere surveillance models.  That reluctance is unlikely to last the duration.  ‘Are we done now?’ 

There’s a long pause.  Then Jory says, ‘Good luck, Rev,’ and hangs up. 

…and nowhere – from the Circle’s Thameside fortress to a Bristol squat, from the oldest pub in England to a music festival in Cheshire – will remain untouched.

The unit reasserts its formation in the approach to the festival village, delicious smells eddying dizzyingly past the Knights as they crash along a parade of food vendors selling Arabic-style pizza, churros with hot chocolate, and authentic Tibetan momos.  A site-vibing sculpture of a dancing couple is trampled in pieces under the outliers’ hooves; one horse bursts without hesitating through a canvas graffiti wall.  Stephen himself draws his sword and, with a whoop, hacks down a jolly-rogered flagpole as he passes.  This is the most fun he’s had since that time he got to lob some practice balls at Sachin Tendulkar. 

And now the horses are in the open again, in a field fringed with booths and marquees, at one end of which a sign announces ‘The Village Tavern’.  Joyfully, Stephen directs his steed in a wide arc, keeping formation with his brother Knights, and turns her head towards the whitest, widest of the giant tents – where even now a motley assemblage of men and women in hoodies of various colours, but with green predominating, are gaping in alarm, and scrambling clumsily to their feet to face the charge. 

Before long, the enmity between its greatest heroes will tear Britain apart.

‘So raise the verdant banner high,
forever green against the sky!
Through winter’s chill and summer’s cheer,
we’ll keep the green flag flying here!’

The Devices Trilogy Book Two: The Locksley Exploit. Available Monday 2 March.

I’m hoping I may get the chance to read this in public at some point, as I did the previous one (the audio recording of which has yet to surface, but does, I’m assured, exist).

As you can tell, this will involve singing again.

The Locksley Exploit: News

1. Look! Look! It’s Emma Barnes’ awesome cover for Book Two of The Devices, The Locksley Exploit.

TLE cover

Isn’t it lovely? I love the way it echoes the design of The Pendragon Protocol‘s cover. Also the way it uses the strapline. And how green it is. Mmm.

Here’s that draft blurb in full:

It’s 2015, and Camelot and Sherwood are at war.

The Circle, the UK paramilitary agency whose Knights carry the devices of the members of King Arthur’s Round Table, is hunting the Green Chapel, eco-activists allied to Robin Hood’s Merry Men. For the Knights, this quest is personal as well as political: the Chapel’s leader, Jory Taylor, is himself an errant Knight – and he has stolen the Holy Grail from the British Museum.

But this war is fought with modern weapons, and nowhere – from the Circle’s Thameside fortress to a Bristol squat, from the oldest pub in England to a music festival in Cheshire – will remain untouched.

Before long, the enmity between its greatest heroes will tear Britain apart.

2. The equally exciting news is that The Locksley Exploit is getting an early ebook release: it should be available on Monday 2 March 2015, with the paperback edition to follow on Monday 1 June.  I’ll be posting links when they’re available.

3. In honour of all this, this website has been thoroughly updated, with a revised page for The Locksley Exploit itself, a whole stack more Character pages (including extracts from the text of the book) and an updated Heraldry page featuring more shields. With luck a trailer for the book will follow shortly, to match the one for The Pendragon Protocol.

Smart, contemporary political thrillers. A new kind of urban fantasy,