The Counter Measure team, characters who debuted in 1988’s Remembrance of the Daleks, are returning in two new novels from Candy Jar Books!
Birds of Passage is the first book in a two-novel even, featuring characters Group Captain Gilmore, Professor Rachel Jensen and Dr Allison Williams. Created by Ben Aaronovitch, the characters were expanded on in Aaronovitch’s novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks, and made the odd appearance in Doctor Who prose fiction throughout the 1990s. The team enjoyed a long life in audio dramas from Big Finish Productions since 2012, and Gilmore made a cameo in one of Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart short stories. They even appeared in a recent Cutaway Comics tale, written by 1980s script editor, Andrew Cartmel.
Working alongside Andrew Cartmel, a deal was secured between Ben Aaronovitch and Candy Jar Books to bring the team to prose in a story set in the mid-1970s at the height of the Cold War. Cartmel and range editor Andy Frankham-Allen worked on ideas together, to come up with a story that would explore the characters in new ways.
Originally intended for release in 2020, the first book was unfortunately delayed by the global pandemic, resulting in a new author being brought aboard to make Cartmel’s and Frankham-Allen’s ideas a reality. Andy explains:
“It’s been a joy working with Andrew, coming up with new ideas and new directions for the characters, taking them in different ways from those explored by Big Finish. As a fan of the audio series (and indeed having written one myself) I didn’t want to tamper with what they have achieved, and so Andrew and I decided to do something different. Explore a path not taken, as it were. We’d made some good headway with our assigned author, but unfortunately the global pandemic struck and, as with so many things, we had to adapt and find a new way when the author had to step down. Enter Robert Mammone!”
Robert Mammone has previously written for Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart range and the opening book in the Travers & Wells series.
“It’s always a challenge to find the right author for the right project. Whenever we do something new, I need to think about which author is best suited. And Robert has proven himself good with the political-thriller type of story I was looking for. Robert jumped at the chance once I explained it to him, and after batting around ideas, him taking on board mine and Andrew’s and coming up with some of his own, off he went to write it.”
Robert Mammone says:
“When I, Alastair was published by Candy Jar to a lot of positive commentary, I was happy to lie back, avoid Covid-19, and bask in the afterglow of a job well done. Andy soon put paid to that when he approached me with an offer to help resurrect the Intrusion Counter Measures Group. Of course, after picking myself up off the floor and agreeing, I was suddenly faced with the realisation that I’d agreed to write a novel inspired by one of the most highly regarded stories of the 1980s! Remembrance of the Daleks is really when the McCoy era proper begins, and packed as it is with great visuals, compelling characters, and a moral tone that makes you sit up and take notice, I knew I had to work my damndest to come close to Ben Aaronovitch’s vision.”
Birds of Passage underwent some changes in the careful hands of Robert, with quite a different story emerging from the one first suggested in the original promotion.
“While first and foremost it’s an action thriller, I’ve also tapped into some of the concerns of today to inform my social commentary of the 1970s. It’s true when they say some things never change. It was a great deal of fun to revisit the wonderful television serial and the equally wonderful novelisation, to help bring to life in prose Ian Gilmore and Professor Rachel Jensen. They’re a little older and greyer, but their dedication to each other and their country is closer than ever. It’s now 1975, the world has moved on, but the need for Counter Measures has never been greater. I hope I’ve done Ben’s creations proud, and I hope the readers enjoys my take on them.”
Here’s the blurb:
The Cold War is in full swing as the British Government, in partnership with Woden Armaments, launches the Cerberus satellites into orbit, transforming worldwide communications.
But all is not as it seems. Retired Air Vice Marshal Ian Gilmore is reluctantly drawn into helping an embattled government. Despatched to a divided Germany, he soon finds himself on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall as he helps a Soviet engineer with a terrible secret defect to the West.
Back home, Professor Rachel Jensen discovers her work at Cambridge has been perverted by Woden Armaments. When the Cerberus launch team, including Allison Williams and Anne Travers, goes missing, Rachel begins an investigation that unearths a terrible conspiracy at the heart of the British Establishment – a conspiracy that threatens the entire world!
The second book in the two-novel event, Birds of Prey, will be released in 2022. You can order both from Candy Jar Books.