The fourth book of the Candy Jar’s anniversary series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels will see the return of an old enemy – Director Vaar of the Dominators.
Following on from The Laughing Gnome: The Danger Men,
The Laughing Gnome: Rise of the Dominator sees the team get back together when they all arrive in 1973 and face off against Vaar!
The book is written by popular Lethbridge-Stewart author, Robert Mammone, who previously wrote two short stories for the range, and the first of the Travers & Wells novella range. He says:
“When Lethbridge-Stewart range editor Andy Frankham-Allan reached out to me and asked if I was interested in being a part of the latest run of Lethbridge-Stewart books, I was, of course, surprised, ecstatic and to be honest, a little daunted. Writing my Travers & Wells novella had been a relatively smooth affair, but a 40,000 word novella is a different beast to a full novel. There were a few times during the writing process where I wondered whether I had bitten off more than I could chew but, thankfully, Andy talked me off the ledge and here we are!”
Director Vaar is the Dominator behind the nuclear machinations in the 2015 novel, Mutually Assured Domination (a special edition of which is due publication to tie-in with Rise of the Dominator).
Andy explains why it took so long for the Dominator to return:
“The Dominators, in particular Vaar, was originally planned to return in 2017 but sadly that novel fell through, and then it was planned for 2018 with a different author, but the cessation of the ongoing narrative put it on hold once again. The Dominators are, of course, the main antagonists behind the Travers & Wells range, as seen in the short story, Time and Again. But the idea of bringing Vaar back as a gangster in 1970s London has been on the backburner for a couple of years, and when it was decided that The Laughing Gnome would be set in the various decades of Lethbridge-Stewart’s association with Doctor Who, it seemed the time was right to finally do a Gangster Dominator story.”
Robert talks more about the development of his gangster story:
“I’d long had a story idea lurking around in the back of my head for a while about alien knowledge that looks like black magic, with Nazis thrown into the mix, which I readily adapted to this new storyline. The setting was the key for me, and early ‘70s Britain, with its Satanic rituals in cemeteries, and the tabloid coverage of it, seemed the place to be. There’s something about the grit and grime of the 1970s that is inherently appealing, against the rather slick and superficial modern day we’re forced to endure. 1970s London is set, is a case in point. I’ve strived for verisimilitude for the most part – sideburns, flares, corduroy, The Sweeney, end of empire ennui, three-day weeks, uncollected rubbish, criminal gangs, Soho are all there, but so are an alien warlord on the make and a lurking Nazi.”
As well as alien warlords and Nazis, Rise of the Dominator finally reunites the Brigadier, Bill, and Anne Travers, who have been separated since the end of book one, Scary Monsters.
This was Robert’s first time writing for the Brigadier. He enthuses:
“I really enjoyed writing for Anne Travers and Bill Bishop in my short story for Candy Jar, Eve of the Fomorians, so it was a pleasure to return to them in far different circumstances. And the chance to have Lethbridge-Stewart front and centre in the novel was something I could barely have thought possible. He was a lot of fun to write, in what is effectively a dual role. I hope that in my hands, the stoic, upright soldier with a twinkle in his eye still shines strongly through.”
The 1970s setting carries with it something special for fans of Doctor Who. Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell explains:
“As this range is a journey through the Brigadier’s association with Doctor Who (each book is set in a decade that featured him on the television series), setting a book during the UNIT era was a forgone conclusion. Of course, UNIT and the Doctor do not appear, but there are plenty of fan-pleasing nods to that era.”
The cover is by regular Lethbridge-Stewart artist Adrian Salmon, perhaps best-known for his work on the recent Doctor Who DVD animations, including the forthcoming The Macra Terror. Adrian says:
“Illustrating Dominator Var as a cross between Al Capone and Reggie Kray was probably the best thing I’ve ever been asked to do by Candy Jar Books; I mean how can you go wrong? Once I’d settled on the central image, which included a menacing Golem from the story, I worked out the car chase. This being the ‘action scene’ of the cover, it needed to be dramatic and exciting, breaking out of the design template. Finally, I created a suitably seedy London street at night (think Soho), resplendent with neon lights and noir shadows. Eagle-eyed viewers might even spot that a certain film, which was doing the rounds at the time the book is set, is showing at the private cinema club.”
Here’s the blurb:
London 1973 – A man in police custody burns to death with no known cause of ignition. Anne Travers and Bill Bishop find themselves catapulted into the middle of a police investigation into the rise to power of the newest criminal godfather – the Big Man, aka, the Dominator, Dominic Vaar!
A Spanish safe cracker lands on the English coast and is whisked away to a secret meeting with none other than Vaar. His mission? To liberate a priceless sword forged when Sumer was young, a sword whose unshakeable thirst for life threatens the existence of all life.
And lurking in the background, plots a fugitive Nazi, using Vaar’s rise to power and his own knowledge of the occult as cover for his plans to build a new Reich on British soil.
Lost in time and brought together by destiny, can Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, Dame Anne Travers and Brigadier Bill Bishop stop Britain being pitched into a new age of darkness?
The Laughing Gnome will continue in April and May with books five and six – Lucy Wilson and the Bledoe Cadets by Tim Gambrell, with On His Majesty’s National Service by David A McIntee.
The Laughing Gnome: Rise of the Dominator is available for pre-order now for £8.99 (+ p&p). The book is due for release at the end of March 2019.