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Adler HQ SITREP - June 2018



Sometimes I write updates just to remind *me* of what I’m doing, let alone anybody else. And, occasionally, I even put them on a blog. I’ve got two books bubbling away (you’ll see the tabs / teasers for them on the website) – Dark as Angels and Timberwolf. The first is a dystopian thriller, the second a fantasy-espionage mash-up set in a not-quite-Germany in a not-quite-1940s.


Here’s the blurb for Dark as Angels (blurb-creation deserves a blog of its own, it’s a pain in the arse to write to be honest) –


The Taskforces fought, and won, the Hate War. A war started by the Archangels, a ruthless transhuman elite. Rufus Hooker, an ex-Taskforcer and convicted war criminal, survives as a bounty-hunter. He combs London’s flooded No-Zone for fugitives and the missing, banished from the safety of the city’s security walls.


Hired to find a politician’s kidnapped daughter, Hooker follows a trail from London’s Green-Zone to the Commune Internationale, a fortress on the Thames held by heavily-armed anarchists. Riots erupt in the No-Zone’s foetid slums, and civil war looms. When Hooker discovers the secrets of the Hate Wars, he's pursued by both the secret police and neofascist militias…


The idea is to entice but not over-explain. If you asked me to pitch it as a movie, I’d say ‘Children of Men’ meets ‘Die Hard’ with a little splash of ‘Mad Max 2’. With Communists and transhuman Übermensch. Obviously.


As for Timberwolf? I read Peter Higgins’ Wolfhound Century trilogy, which is set in a Russia-that-isn’t (my review is here). It’s quite brilliant, and although I could never write like Peter (who has a poet’s ear – his prose is beautiful), I found myself excited and inspired by the setting. Most successful mainstream fantasy writing is set in an analogue of Dark-Ages to High Medieval Europe (covering over six hundred years or so, in many cases bundled into one generic setting). This is the default world of Tolkien and Gemmell, Robert E Howard and JRR Martin, right? (for example, Martin’s Game of Thrones cycle is heavily influenced by the War of the Roses).


What Higgins does is turn this upside down. If we can have fantasy with kings and princesses and dukes and castles, why not a speculative world of Tsars and Kremlins and despots strangely like Stalin? The Vlast, his not-Russia, seems to cover the years 1930-1950(ish). No swords, but there are pistols and rifles and angel-flesh powered robots (ha!). Inspired, I reverted to Research Mode. I take the dog for a walk, then over a pint scribble in my notebook. What would my not-Medieval Europe setting look like? What period of history is my favourite? What makes this world tick?


The result is Timberwolf, which *was* a full-on vanilla fantasy world several thousand years ago. Now? It’s a strangely 1940’s Europe-ish place called Geskander. There’s a one-party state, hubristic gods, a semi-divine despot (not unlike Eva Peron) and a wannabe gigolo called Axel, son of a humble knife-thrower. Oh, and panzers, magic railways, electricity-guns, resistance fighters (who are witches) and spies. Not to mention vampires, liches and loads of other stuff. It's sardonic, snarky and very violent. While writing, I was listening to stuff like this. I hope you'll enjoy the story half as much as I did creating it.


I hope to get it out by the end of 2018, I'll keep you posted.


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