Well, this is very exciting: this year sees the release of a very special book: the first of Candy Jar Books’ standalone UNIT books, The Benton Files by Tim Gambrell and John Peel.
And the series is officially licensed by the estate of Derrick Sherwin, who wrote UNIT’s very first serial, The Invasion!
The Benton Files is also extra special because it features the first meeting of the Brig and Benton, followed by Benton’s very first ever UNIT adventure.
Taking over as range editor from the hardworking and very talented Andy Frankham-Allen is the equally assiduous Tim Gambrell. Tim says:
“The Brigadier and Benton meeting for the first time seems such a momentous occasion in the Doctor Who universe. And we never saw it on screen. Of course, the Brigadier has a history of meeting much-loved characters off-screen. We never see the moment he first meets the Doctor in The Web of Fear, for example. And Benton is already a UNIT corporal when he shows up in The Invasion. But how did Benton join UNIT? The first story Into the Fire helps bridge that gap.”
Not only that, but to mark this occasion, Candy Jar recorded an audiobook version with John Levene himself! This will be released simultaneously with the paperback.
The second story has been written by popular Doctor Who author John Peel, and is quite literally a race against time around the streets of Birmingham.
Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says:
“As we approach 2022, we will soon be wrapping up the Lethbridge-Stewart range of novels. It’s been a great journey, but it’s time to move on to our planned next phase.”
These UNIT new books will move the story onwards, to after The Invasion and beyond. Tim continues:
“Launching a series of books based around UNIT, and featuring the Brigadier and Benton, is by far my biggest creative challenge yet. But what an amazing opportunity it is! When Shaun telephoned and offered me the role of range editor, I remember thinking, ‘If I turn this down I know I’ll always regret it.’ So here I am, excited, enthused, immersed and loving every minute of it.”
The full series will start in 2022, although The UNIT Files (similar to The HAVOC Files) will be released later this year.
Tim is indebted to the outgoing range editor, Andy Frankham-Allen. He continues:
“UNIT owes a debt to the work of Andy, and everything he established with the Lethbridge-Stewart books. UNIT won’t be a direct continuation of these novels, largely because the cast will change, and we don’t want new readers to feel they need to have read the Lethbridge-Stewart books first, but I hope the two ranges will complement each other. And if we get new readers jumping onboard with UNIT, it would be great if they feel they want to check out what else Candy Jar has done previously. Personally, I want to tell stories that will appeal to fans of Doctor Who, but also to readers who enjoy action-adventure stories in general. Character-driven narratives, grounded in their contemporary world, but with a modern inclusive awareness.”
The Benton Files novella and accompanying audiobook can be pre-ordered now and will be released in the next few weeks. Tim concludes:
“How wonderful it is to have The Benton Files narrated by Benton himself, the fabulous John Levene. You can hear John’s love and enthusiasm for the character of Benton as he narrates Into the Fire and Car Wars. I really hope people enjoy both versions of this release. Also, I’d like to thank Richard Young for such a gorgeous cover. He has really done us proud this time.”
And here’s the blurb:
Rifleman John Benton finds himself summoned to London, to the HQ of a brand-new organisation – UNIT – under Waterloo Station. There, he meets an old barrack room buddy, Major Bill Bishop, and UNIT’s Commanding Officer, one Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
The young rifleman is about to learn that not everything is as innocuous as it appears. Major Bishop has specially selected Benton to assist him on a mission – a mission that could change Rifleman John Benton’s life forever.
Featuring two UNIT stories…
Into the Fire by Tim Gambrell
Car Wars by John Peel
We’re very much looking forward to seeing how this series pans out, what adventures we’re taken on, and which characters we’ll love even more.
You can pre-order The Benton Files now from Candy Jar Books.