With Best Served Cold already three months out (can it really be so long?), perhaps the time has come to talk a little about my next book. Like Best Served Cold it’s intended to be a semi-standalone, which can be read on its own (hopefully) but has a few characters and settings in common with the First Law.
It is called:
Both because the action centres around a ring of standing stones called the Heroes, and because it’s about heroism and that (meant semi-ironically, of course). It mostly takes place over the course of three days, and is the story of a single battle for control of the North. Think Lord of the Rings meets A Bridge Too Far, with a sprinkling of Band of Brothers and Generation Kill. It’s about war, you get me? Principally it follows the (mis)adventures of six assorted persons on both sides and different levels of command, whose paths intersect during the course of the battle in various fateful, horrible, wonderful, surprisingly violent, surprisingly unviolent, and hilarious ways. With the Northmen: a veteran losing his nerve who just wants to keep his crew alive, an ex-Prince determined to claw his way back to power by any means necessary, a young lad determined to win a place in the songs for himself. With the Union: A depressive swordsman who used to be the king’s bodyguard, a profiteering standard-bearer, and the venomously ambitious daughter of the Marshal in command. But of course a fair few familiar faces show up on both sides…
I’m just finishing up the first draft of the second part of five, so two fifths of the way through, about 85,000 words in. Which means the whole thing is looking like about 220,000 words – similar length to Best Served Cold and Last Argument of Kings. Really want to write some shorter books one of these days. REALLY want to. Provided I keep writing relatively smoothly (which is by no means a certainty given that we’ve got a massive building project starting over the next few months), the whole first draft will hopefully be done spring next year. A fair bit of editing will no doubt be required, though, meaning that an October publication is just too tight. For small fry like me November through January is pretty much the zone of death, which means February 2011 is probably the soonest you guys can expect to see it lighting up the shelves, alas.
That’ll mean 20 months between books, which is a fair bit more than I’d like in general but, hey, maybe I’ll be able to get a head start on the next thing (yeah, right). It also means no book from me in 2010, though I’ll have a short story out in an anthology. So, the headlines:
The Heroes. It’s about War. February 2011 (hopefully).