Shadowbox: Launch Party!

Shadowbox, a novel: Every man has an enemy within him...As this series of posts draws to an end, I’m happy to announce that SHADOWBOX is available in ebook and paperback. The Shadowbox page has links to all the major ebook retailers.

SHADOWBOX is now available online as an ebook from Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords.

In due course you’ll be able to find it on Nook, iPhone and other online retailers in countries around the world. SHADOWBOX is also available as a paperback through Amazon and direct from CreateSpace.

To celebrate what is, in effect, a virtual launch, I treated myself to a virtual launch party. As the novel is set in both Paris and London, I thought it only fitting that I celebrate with a tasty bit of both:

Meantime London Porter and French macaroons to celebrate the launch of my latest novel, SHADOWBOX!

Meantime London Porter and French macaroons to celebrate the launch of my latest novel, SHADOWBOX!

Before I go back to my writing den, however, there are a few things I’d like to say.

First off, thank you for coming with me on this journey. It’s been exhilarating. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of 1832 as much as I enjoyed discovering the many fascinating sites I used for source material, links and artwork.

Second, here’s a couple of bonus items for you:

1. Over on Smashwords, there’s a free offer on the ebook of SHADOWBOX for the entire month of July 2014. Use the voucher number: QQ52K when prompted. Reviews would be appreciated, but not expected.

2. I’m running a GoodReads Giveaway of SHADOWBOX in paperback. This giveaway ends on 31 July 2014 with the books sent out ASAP after that date. Again, reviews would be gratefully received if you’re one of the lucky ones. There are five sets to be won.

3. If you’d like a paperback for a 50% discount off the usual price of USD17.99, go to CreateSpace and use the code ZFEHUZVG when prompted. (I don’t know how this will affect the price for those of us outside the USA – sorry!) You may have to set up an account to access this offer. The discount code will expire on 31 July 2014.

Now, I’ll go back to my normal posting schedule of once a week, on a Wednesday, while I concentrate on writing the next novel. This one’s going to be fun.


This is the last post in the SHADOWBOX series. A full index of the posts can be found on the SHADOWBOX page.

Those of you who want to find out at least some of what Louis did next are recommended to pick up ALL ROADS LEAD TO THE RIVER and THE LAST RHINEMAIDEN. In due course I’ll combine these as an omnibus edition and you’ll be able to read the whole life of Louis Beauregard from start to finish.

P.S. There is no doubt that Louis Beauregard returns to England: he’s there as an old man in 1888, in THE LAST RHINEMAIDEN. But the adventures he may have after SHADOWBOX are yet to be told…

Published in: on June 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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Tell me what I should read

I’ve asked on GoodReads, so if it’s easier to respond over there please do so. I’m looking for book recommendations.

Specifically, my GoodReads requests states it has to be a Huge Gothic Heart Attack of a novel, and it has to be set in Scotland. Walter Scott is nowhere near, but Robert Louis Stevenson is close. More modern would be good.

All genres welcome. Cogs and tentacles optional.

Steampunk bagpipes, anyone? Please?

Steampunk bagpipes, anyone? Please?

Any suggestions?


How I met Lord Brandoch Daha

I picked up The Worm Ouroboros in a second-hand bookshop more than ten years ago. The title intrigued me, with its hints of esoteric mysticism and its old-fashioned use of the word Worm. The Worm, or wyrm, is an Old English word for dragon, but the ouroboros is Greek, alchemical, and is signified by a serpent biting its own tail – it’s the equivalent of a Möbius strip, the never-ending and ever-repeating flow of energy that is harnessed by Enochian magic.

Fascinating, indeed.How I met Lord Brandoch Daha, and Goldry Bluszco, and Queen Sophonisba

When I turned over the cover I was even more intrigued by the book. The art on my copy was the 1960s paperback, a childish style that mimics the woodblock style that Tolkien favoured for his own art and also references Lowry and Bruegel. The artist is unlisted, and according to the ISFDB there is no record elsewhere, which is disappointing.

My childhood, in the 1970s, was littered with books under these type of covers, and the jumble sales I frequented in the 1980s also steamed with this sort of artwork on book covers, mainly for children. There’s a touch of Noggin The Nog about it.

Anyhow, the appearance of The Worm Ouroboros in my local Oxfam bookshop coincided with my reading of the Histories of The Lord Of The Rings. The cover copy emphasised that Eddison  had been the writer used as comparison when Tolkien first appeared. I’d read the C S Lewis Cosmic Trilogy by then, and the full five volumes of T H White’s Once And Future King (which I adore – more on that elsewhere).

I was eager for more of the same.

So far, without even opening the book, I was intrigued. I had to be careful, though – it was a paperback which had obviously been well-loved, and was wrapped in sticky-backed plastic, and the glue along the spine that kept the pages in place was growing brittle with age. With gentle care I parted the covers to see if the words inside were what I was looking for.

It was.

Eddison’s language, when I flipped through the pages, was a challenge.

He challenged me to read him.

His prose is old skool even for those of us who love old skool. He’s been compared to Elizabethan English, to Shakespeare, and his use of language in The Worm Ouroboros certainly has that cadence and complexity of form.

He challenged me.

I rose.

I’ve read books where the story is sometimes tangled up in the writer showing off their mastery of something more than writing. Umberto Eco’s Name Of The Rose is one example – I came to the book after falling in love with the film, watching it more than a dozen times, and also with the words of my English-teacher father ringing in my ears that “Eco shows off” in his writing.

When I got round to reading the book of Name Of The Rose, I found myself skipping parts of the page when he got too tied up in monkish politics or descriptions of church procedures. Nice, but a bit like the raisins in a rum’n’raisin ice-cream – adds texture, doesn’t change the flavour. (At least I didn’t do what I did with Moby Dick [short of hurling it at the wall] and skip whole pages.)

Anyhow.

Eddison isn’t one of those writers. His prose is elaborate where needed, and adds juice to his fruit. The characters are mega-characters, straight out of the heroic epics, as if the Norse Gods had grown up in Ancient Greece or Turkey, and they act with such mature grace it makes us all feel like awkward adolescents.

The textures he evokes, the journey, is purposeful, and makes you want to follow wherever he goes.

The Worm Ouroboros itself is a trope, a meme, a theme throughout the book that lends an edge to the story but isn’t part of it. There’s no dragon hunt, no actual worm, no rescue of maidens.

There are enormous characters who live their lives with the strength of mythic beasts.

I wish Eddison was more accessible, because he deserves it. The Lord Brandoch Daha and Queen Sophonisba deserve it, the epic journeys they undertake across the landscape of his world. Game Of Thrones has nothing on this.

But I also like Eddison’s obscurity. It’s like a secret handshake. A key to a hidden land, perhaps, and only on Goodreads have I found fellow travellers.

If you’re up for a challenging read, an epic of heroes and villains and opulence and mythic elegance, for characters that glow with life and landscapes that maim the mind’s eye with their beauty, come join us.

Again, and again, and again.