Author: James

Conan – Cult of the Obsidian Moon

I am over the moon (pun sort of intended) to be able to announce that I’m writing a Conan novel for Titan Books and Heroic Signatures.

This is a childhood dream come true. When I was eleven or twelve, my grandmother gave me a book token which I promptly blew on the first six Sphere paperbacks of Conan’s adventures (you know, with the Frank Frazetta cover paintings). I was hooked, and I’ve been a happy Conan fan, and more broadly Robert E Howard fan, ever since. When offered the chance to write some of the Cimmerian’s adventures myself, I jumped at it.

This book, which I’m currently working on, forms part of the remarkable Black Stone event that super-scribe Jim Zub and his artistic allies are unfurling in the Conan the Barbarian series of comics from Titan. Knowledge of that storyline will give readers of this novel some nice Easter eggs but is not essential. I can promise you there is plenty of swordplay, sorcerous doings, and bloodletting, along with loathsome winged monsters.

I believe I’m the first British author to write new prose tales set in the Hyborian Age, and I’m very much hoping that this is just the start of more to come.

Preorders already available here.

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Fourth Cthulhu Casebook Rears Its Menacing Head

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Victorian/Edwardian era…

The original Cthulhu Casebooks trilogy is complete in and of itself. The three volumes (Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows, Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities and Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-devils) together tell a single terrifying story.

I thought I was done with that particular world, but then a new idea emerged from the swirling murk of my subconscious, and lo and behold, Sherlock Holmes and the Highgate Horrors came slouching into life.

This one’s a standalone adventure whose action ranges across the length of Holmes’s professional career and beyond, right up until the aftermath of the First World War. The story dovetails around that of the trilogy, but the novel can be read independently.

It’s also a bit of a beast in terms of size, nearly twice as long as each of the other books in the series. I didn’t plan this, but as I was putting the plot together, I got more and more excited and just kept adding bits. There was too much good stuff to leave any of it out. The synopsis alone, in fact, weighed in at around 17,000 words, or 34 single-spaced A4 pages, pretty much the length of a novella.

There’s alien horror here. There are reanimated corpses. There’s a sinister shapeshifter. There’s a gruelling voyage aboard a whaler to the frozen north. There’s a journey to the edge of our solar system. There are appearances by a number of secondary characters from the canon, several of them in strange, unusual guises. There’s a secret society, a disturbing conspiracy, and a whole lot else besides. Not forgetting plenty of Holmesian deduction and derring-do.

I put a lot of work into this book and I’m very proud of it. And if, as is very possible, it’s my last ever Holmes story, then I’m happy to go out with a bang, having produced a sprawling, epic tale that spans three decades and encompasses everything that I love about Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft. Ending on a high(gate) note, you might say.

 

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Cover Reveal: Sherlock Holmes and the Three Winter Terrors

Sherlock Holmes and the Three Winter Terrors (out October 2021) is a novel told in three parts. Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

1889. The First Terror.
At a boys’ prep school in the Kent marshes, a pupil is found drowned in a pond. Could this be the fulfilment of a witch’s curse from four hundred years earlier?

1890. The Second Terror.
A wealthy man dies of a heart attack at his London townhouse. Was he really frightened to death by ghosts?

1894. The Third Terror.
A body is discovered at a Surrey country manor, hideously ravaged. Is the culprit a cannibal, as the evidence suggests?

These three linked crimes test Sherlock Holmes’s deductive powers, and his scepticism about the supernatural, to the limit.

And here’s that cover image:

 

It’s another bang-up job from designer Julia Lloyd, which manages to incorporate elements from each of the sections into a seamless whole.

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