I’m delighted to announce that Marcus Gipps at Gollancz has acquired world rights, including translation, in two novels provisionally entitled STRANGER OF TEMPEST and PRINCESS OF BLOOD – the first two books of a heroic fantasy series called The God Fragments.
Furthermore Gollancz will be publishing a novella after each novel as bonus additions the series, featuring characters and/or back-story from the main series. The first two novellas are (provisionally) entitled Honour Under Moonlight and The Bay of Red Lights.
It’s been exactly ten years since I first signed up with Gollancz so I’m delighted to be kicking off a new series with them. I’ve been having great fun with this collection of foul-mouthed, childish and trigger-happy mercenaries so I’m eager to get on with having them blow up as much of the Fractured Kingdom as possible.
The books will follow a mercenary named Lynx who is struggling to maintain his decency in a world turned upside-down by war. An outcast from his own people and unwelcome most other places, he reluctantly signs up with a new company, only to discover that they’re perhaps not all as well-intentioned as he would like.
Marcus said in the Gollancz announcement “I am thrilled to be signing Tom up for another amazing new series. He’s been one of the most important names on our fantasy list for the last 10 years, and this new series serves as a perfect place for readers to jump on to his writing.”
And for those of you who’re interested in a few more details…
My tentative cover copy for Stranger of Tempest is:
It’s not easy being an honest man in a lawless world.
Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Fractured Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause.
Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years.
So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.
The ongoing series centres on the wandering ex-soldier, Lynx, the mercenary company he joins, and an assassin called Toil, in a world beset by brief, violent spasms of war between city-states. But the stakes are set rise as the Militant Orders dedicated to the five shattered gods start to extend their power. For centuries the Orders have fuelled warfare across the continent by dominating production of magic-powered ammunition and perhaps now their time to rule has come.
It all started out with a short story idea I’d never worked out what it was about, while the first scene is based on a Twilight Reign short story I never got around to writing. With those images in my head and a general desire to write a fun adventure story about a mercenary called Lynx, I just started to write. I hadn’t even finished Old Man’s Ghosts by that point. I didn’t know if I was going to be writing more Empire novels or something else entirely; all I knew was that Lynx demanded to get on the page and wasn’t going to shut up until I had a few chapters down.
As that appeared, I got another image stuck in my head – that of mage-guns and the variety of magical bullets they might use. They seemed fun in a madcap and destructive sort of way so I shoved them and left it all to marinade in the back of my mind while I returned to Old Man’s Ghosts. By the time I’d finished OMG and a handful of other bits, that small idea had provided a world setting, put the theology in context, provided a series plot and answered a few other questions I had. Which turned out to be useful when we decided The God Fragments was the project to pursue next.
When Marcus asked if I’d planned later volumes, well… I hadn’t really and was just going on trust at that point. However, rather to my surprise two hours later I’d hammered out the basic shape for eight novels and eight novellas. I’m sure that will all change as Stranger takes its final shape and I decide how long a series I actually want to write, but I think it’s safe to say this is a story that wants to be told and I’m having fun doing just that.