The worlds of Candy Jar Books’ Lethbridge-Stewart and The Lucy Wilson Mysteries ranges are about to collide, in the upcoming two-book special, Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets and The Brigadier & The Bledoe Cadets!
Following The Laughing Gnome: Rise of the Dominator, book five sees the Brigadier team-up with his granddaughter, Lucy Wilson, in an adventure through time…
The pair must solve a mystery that has been 2 years in the making, since 2017 and the novels Night of the Intelligence and Avatars of the Intelligence (the very first Lucy Wilson Mystery). How did Lucy and Hobo end up in 1937 to have a picture taken with young Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and his brother James?
Range Editor, Andy Frankham-Allen explains:
“Ever since The Lucy Wilson Mysteries was devised, Shaun (Russell, head of publishing) and I had in a mind an adventure that would see Lucy team up with the Bledoe Cadets. We knew there was much fun to be had in having a mixed-race teenage girl interacting with children from 1937. We sowed the seeds in the very first novel in The Lucy Wilson Mysteries range by having her see a photograph of herself and her grandfather as a child, this was built upon in my own novel, Night of the Intelligence, in which it is revealed that James has memories of Lucy and Hobo. So, it’s been a lot of fun exploring those plot points and finally revealing the truth behind them.”
It comes from the pen of first-time novelist, Tim Gambrell, whose association with the Lethbridge-Stewart series began when he won a competition to have a character named after him; this was followed by him writing a short story for The HAVOC Files 3. This story, The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen, is what led him to being considered for Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets.
“From the moment I first read that short story, I knew Tim would get it right. He has a great handle on the Bledoe Cadets, who I created for my novel, The Forgotten Son, and I’m rather protective of them. But Tim ‘got’ them. Of course, the only risk was trusting a first-time novelist with this story. I’m happy to say, it’s a risk that paid off!”
Tim goes on:
“After my short story was published, I pitched another story idea which Andy asked me to develop into a novel proposal. I very much felt, from that point on, that Andy was keeping me on his reserve bench, waiting for the right position to ‘play’ me in. The creative process has been pretty fluid ever since the first writers’ meeting in Cardiff, with a strong sense of collaboration and mutual support between Andy and all of the writers. That’s certainly been appreciated by me, with this being my first published novel. Each of our slots came with a character to focus on, but otherwise we were pretty free to tell the sort of story we wanted to tell. However, my slot came with a shopping list.
“I was given the title, Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets, so I knew from the start it would be a cross-franchise book. Some of the book needed to take place in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Lethbridge-Stewart. Added to that, the story would have to feature time travel so that Lucy, Hobo and the Bledoe Cadets could meet. And it couldn’t contradict anything already established regarding the Bledoe Cadets and alien encounters. Finally, it had to be set before the events of 1938 in The Forgotten Son, so that Sir Alistair could spend time with his brother James. That might sound like a whole lot of limitations, but I found it really liberating. It focuses the mind, being given restrictions like that.”
Another unique aspect of the story was that it could be told twice! Shaun Russell explains:
“Once the story was decided, Andy and I bounced back and forth the idea of having the story told from both the Brigadier’s point of view, and Lucy’s. Telling the adventure for the more mature readers in the Lethbridge-Stewart range, and then retelling it for a younger reader as part of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries. We had hoped to release both books simultaneously, but the logistics didn’t make that feasible, especially as, for Tim, it would essentially mean writing two novels at the same time! So, it was decided that Tim would write the Lethbridge-Stewart version first, and then we would sit down to discuss how to approach The Lucy Wilson Mysteries version. Lucy’s own perspective brings with it some unique things, not least a different opening before the Brigadier turns up. Although it’s essentially the same story, both books can be read independently, however reading both version will provide a more fuller take on the story.”
Both books feature artwork by The Beano artist Steve Beckett, who is responsible for all The Lucy Wilson Mysteries covers (including the logo!).
Here’s the blurb:
Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is still lost in time, cast through his own time stream by the mysterious Gnome.
Answers are presented to him when he meets the architect of his travels, and is told he has one adventure ahead of him. A chance to make sure his legacy is secure. He will be sent to 2018, and a meeting with his granddaughter, the protector of Ogmore-by-Sea, Lucy Wilson.
In 1937, young Ali Lethbridge-Stewart and his brother James find themselves face to face with smugglers, while in 2018 Lucy and Hobo are preparing for a trip to Cornwall.
What connects 1937 and 2018? The Brigadier and Lucy Wilson are about to find out, when they are cast back in time and join the Bledoe Cadets in solving the mystery at Redgate Smithy. The price will be high for at least one of the Cadets. But for the Brigadier and Lucy, it is a chance to understand what truly binds them together, what it is to be a Lethbridge-Stewart!
The Laughing Gnome series will conclude in May with On His Majesty’s National Service by David A McIntee.
The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets is available for pre-order for £8.99 (+p&p) and will be released late April. The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Brigadier & The Bledoe Cadets is available for pre-order for £7.99 (+ p&p), and will be released during the summer. If you’ve a subscription, The Laughing Gnome series is covered by this already.