The Lethbridge-Stewart range returns to 1970 for the next series of three novels, published by Candy Jar Books.
The last series of novels set in 1970 was in 2018, and now, after two detours into other eras of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s life, the series heads back to 1970 to pick-up where The Man From Yesterday left off.
The three-book series comprises Domination Game by Aly Leeds and Megan Fizell, Fear Frequency by George Ivanoff, and The Haunting of Gabriel Chase by Andrew Allen.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says:
“It was always our intention to return to the 1970s and finish our mission of leading the Brig to his destiny with UNIT. And so, after a couple of years of telling very different stories looking at different later times of his life, we’ve decided it’s now time to return to our original mission. Thus, the next three books are kicking off the final two and a half years of novels that will, indeed, end with the events that lead to the formation of the illustrious organisation. But before all that, there’s a few loose threads to pick up with Domination Game.”
Aly Leeds is a regular contributor to the range, having penned a few short stories and 2018’s Fear of the Web. This time around though, Aly isn’t entirely on their own…
“2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, presenting us each with a unique set of challenges. During lockdown it became clear that I was going to need some help with the manuscript, so I asked Megan Fizell, winner of the 2019 Short Story competition, if she’d step in prior to her debut novel in the LSverse. We’d chatted a lot and found we had similar ideas about what we like in a story, so we worked on blocking the book together. Like me, Megan was eager to see Sally get a fitting finale. I think we’ve done her justice.”
Long-time readers of the range will be familiar with Lance Corporal Sally Wright, one-time fiancée of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. They became engaged in the very first Lethbridge-Stewart novel, but since their engagement fell apart in 2017’s The Daughters of Earth, Sally’s life hasn’t gone so well. Hints of her ultimate fate have been dropped in several stories published since then, especially in Rise of the Dominator and Tall Tales, so most readers won’t be surprised by at least one resolution of Domination Game. But, of course, it’s how everything reaches that point, and the full magnitude of the events, that makes for a compelling story.
“Following the positive reception of Fear of the Web in 2018, Andy asked if I’d be willing to write a second book for the series. My answer was ‘Yes!’, but commitments at the time meant I couldn’t take on any of the upcoming Bloodlines titles. Knowing that several loose ends were being tied up prior to the series moving on, I asked Andy what was going to happen to Sally Wright. We last left her in Glastonbury in Piece of Mind, having recently ended her engagement to Lethbridge-Stewart, and I wanted to know where her story went from there. I was told, while a book had been planned on the subject, nothing had come of it and so, unfortunately, she would be exiting the series without fanfare. The news upset me, and I was a little angry on Sally’s behalf. Here was one of the series’ two female characters, who had developed so much from ‘the love interest’ since her debut, a character many people had become fond of, about to be dealt a Liz Shaw? Absolutely not! So, I asked Andy to give me the book and I’d write Sally a decent send off – and, happily for me, he agreed.”
“Yes, before Aly, Domination Game was assigned to two other authors but, for various reasons, nothing clicked into place. It was, in part, that which saw the end of the ongoing Lethbridge-Stewart narrative for a while. A sure sign that we all needed to do something a little different for a while. But when it came time to think about returning to that narrative, and Aly expressed an interest in wrapping up Sally’s story, I knew it was time to return. And so Aly had a look over the original outlines, expressed some very strong objections and told me what they’d like to do with it. Including turning a very important aspect on its head. An aspect they wasn’t sure I’d agree to. But I did! It’s so nasty, that I couldn’t say no.”
“This story was a chance to show Sally at her best, operating away from Lethbridge-Stewart and all the unwanted baggage their relationship brought her, choosing to go her own way. It also sees her go up against an old enemy in the form of Dominator Vaar, now a prisoner of the Crown and himself, in a pretty precarious position. Hot on Vaar’s heels is Harold Chorley, who is close to finding the answers to what happened to him at the Dominex plant in 2015’s Mutually Assured Domination. There’s a fair amount of change, too. We have Bill and Anne contemplating a future away from HAVOC, and Lethbridge-Stewart is moving on in his own way from the events of The Man from Yesterday… with someone very special. There’s a lot going on, and we’ll see where it leaves our heroes afterwards.”
Returning for his third Lethbridge-Stewart book cover, is popular artist Paul Cooke. His previous covers were for The Man from Yesterday and The Danger Men, two Nick Walters books; it’s apt that he contributes the next cover to feature Dominic Vaar, a character originally created by Walters.
“I was asked to do an illustration that echoed the feel of my last one, The Danger Men; action packed, and like a movie poster, this time including Sally, as well as Bill Bishop once again. But also Vaar. I was excited to receive a commission that included the Dominator. Firstly, I like what Candy Jar have done with the character, but am also a big fan of Adrian Salmon (the only artist to draw Vaar thus far) and how he draws the Dominators: chunky, large hands. A real solid look to them. So, I took that as my inspiration and went for it. I’m so pleased Andy went for it, too. I couldn’t find any reference for prison uniforms, even asking an ex-prison officer friend, so I used the uniform from Porridge! It’s set in the ‘70s, so I pushed the colours; I remember as a kid the ‘70s being very bright, and let that influence the palette.”
Here’s the blurb for Domination Game:
It’s time to move on.
Sally Wright has had enough of the Fifth Operational Corps to last a lifetime. She has been chased, kidnapped, and dogged by unknown horrors – and to top it all, the end of her engagement to Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart has cast a shadow over her career. In an effort to leave it all behind, she requests a transfer back to the Regular Army… But, after everything she’s seen, is it possible to return to normal life? And will the Brigadier let her go?
Harold Chorley cannot move on. While searching for answers to the missing gaps in his memory, he makes an alarming discovery; the Dominator war lord, Dominic Vaar, is no longer in prison. Hot on Vaar’s trail, Chorley discovers an experimental military project that seems sinister in its appetite for volunteers. Volunteers who are never heard from again.
William Bishop is not looking forward to life at the Madhouse without Anne Travers, but in heading up a mission to Gloucestershire with Sally and Chorley, he soon finds other things to worry about.
One thing is for sure, not everybody will survive this encounter with the Dominators!
Domination Game can be ordered from Candy Jar now, and will be followed by Fear Frequency and The Haunting of Gabriel Chase, before the series moves to 1971 in 2021.