Series 3 of Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart books continues with the 9th novel in the range, Blood of Atlantis – and it’s written by a familiar name to Doctor Who fans.
Simon A Forward, born in Penzance in 1967, has written two Doctor Who novels for BBC Books (Drift; Emotional Chemistry), a novella for Telos Publishing (Shell Shock), and audios for Big Finish. Range Editor, Andy Frankham-Allen says:
“I was fielding around for new authors to bring to the range; authors familiar with Doctor Who but who haven’t written in that universe for a while. A couple of people, including Gary Russell, suggested Simon as someone who would ‘get’ the series and is very reliable. So, never one to ignore advice of those I (sometimes) admire, I contacted Simon.”
Simon goes on:
“As Al Pacino says in The Godfather Part III, ‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.’ When I was asked to write for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, I was a little hesitant. I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to writing anything Doctor Who-related. I’d moved on in my writing and – much as this may horrify some – I’d grown a little tired of Doctor Who. It was originally quite a different proposition to the finished book that has since emerged, but that process of development and working with Andy was part of the appeal that drew me in and cemented my commitment to the project. Add to that the fact that my (still ongoing) rewatch of Doctor Who took me through The Web Of Fear and The Invasion while I was right in the heart of writing this early Brigadier adventure, and the whole thing seemed like providence. And here I was, with the opportunity to write Anne Travers too. Bonus!”
The book’s roster includes regulars to the range, but also a character Simon created in 2003. Simon continues:
“Captain Bugayev is already part of the Doctor Who book universe and it was a fascinating process to explore and contrast the two different approaches and attitudes of the leading military officers, especially two I knew so well. One (Lethbridge-Stewart) courtesy of having grown up with him as such a presence in my Saturday teatime viewing, one through having created him for my Doctor Who novel, Emotional Chemistry… The story was initially going to be something else and developed over time and discussions with the editor. One of the things I wanted to do was to take the Fifth Operational Corps somewhere international, as a precursor to UNIT (even though UNIT operated in the UK on our TV screens, they ranged much further in my young imagination) and place them on a wider stage. The Atlantean connection suggested itself from a combination of that aim and from an old story idea of mine that fit the bill well. There was also a sense of, if I was going to write something Who-related, then Atlantis has been as recurring a feature of the show as some returning guest actors. Readers will be sure to spot a liberal sprinkling of homage within the novel and that’s born of the same desire.”
Doctor Who viewers will recall several versions of Atlantis mentioned in The Magician’s Apprentice, of course referring to The Underwater Menace, The Time Monster, and The Daemons.
“When Simon first suggested Atlantis, I wasn’t entirely convinced, knowing that its fate had been mentioned three times in Doctor Who (which fans often view as contradictory, but aren’t really), and in the latter Lethbridge-Stewart was present – if not at the event, then he certainly heard about it. But Simon set my fears at ease and presented a unique idea about how his Atlantis would fit perfectly, without contradiction or any need to have seen the television stories.”
Here’s the blurb for Blood of Atlantis:
Could Atlantis really have arisen in the Aegean Sea?
Lethbridge-Stewart’s nephew, Owain Vine, and a group of eco-protestor friends, are attempting to oppose an operation undertaken by Rolph Vorster, a ruthless South African mining magnate with his own private army, who is out to harvest as much Atlantean riches as he can.
Lethbridge-Stewart, along with Anne Travers, is called in to investigate a missing Russian submarine that appears to be connected to Atlantis, recruiting the colourful eccentric archaeologist, Sonia Montilla, along the way. All the while, Captain Bugayev and an undercover Spetsnaz team are investigating the fate of their government’s missing submarine. A complication that could light a major fuse on the Cold War.
Out there somewhere, Atlantis is growing, and its reach is utterly inimical to human life.
The cover art’s by Richard Young, who took his inspiration from a classic Target book. He says:
“Blood Of Atlantis – the difficult second album! I’d had a lot of positive feedback on my first cover, The Showstoppers, but the more I looked at it the less I liked it, and the more I looked at the covers produced by my stable mates, I knew I had to up my game. I was chatting with Simon via Facebook one evening about his ideas for the cover, and he kept coming back to The Sea Devils novelisation cover by Chris Achilleos. I was getting quite excited by the prospect of doing something along those lines.”
Lethbridge-Stewart: Blood of Atlantis can be pre-ordered individually, or as part of the Series 3 Bundle (both UK and overseas), which includes the novels, Times Squared by Rick Cross (available now), and Mind of Stone by Iain McLaughlin (coming December), or the subscription deal for those wishing to get six books for the price of five (UK only, covering the Series 3 titles, plus the Series 4 titles released early 2017)!
Lethbridge-Stewart: Blood of Atlantis will be released at the end of this month, priced £8.99.