Today I signed a major three-book deal with UK publisher Transworld for an epic Elizabethan fantasy. â€˜The Swords of Albionâ€™ will be published annually from 2010, in the UK and Commonwealth. The sequence has also been acquired by a US publisher, and I’ll be talking more about that later.
It’s an epic story filled with intrigue, mystery, adventure and romance, set against the rich backdrop of the Elizabethan era. I hope it’ll appeal to readers of both fantasy and historical fiction. Iâ€™m very excited to be working with Transworld for the first time on the launch of this new series.
You want to know what it’s about? Here’s the pitch:
â€˜Spies are men of doubtful credit, who make a show of one thing and speak another.â€™ ~ Mary, Queen of Scots
A devilish plot to assassinate the Queen, a Cold War enemy hell-bent on destroying the nation, incredible gadgets, a race against time around the world to stop the ultimate doomsday deviceâ€¦and Elizabethan Englandâ€™s greatest spy!
Meet Will Swyfte â€“ adventurer, swordsman, rake, swashbuckler, wit, scholar and the greatest of Walsinghamâ€™s new band of spies. His exploits against the forces of Philip of Spain have made him a national hero, lauded from Carlisle to Kent. Yet his associates can barely disguise their incredulity â€“ what is the point of a spy whose face and name is known across Europe?
But Swyfteâ€™s public image is a carefully-crafted faÃ§ade to give the people of England something to believe in, and to allow them to sleep peacefully at night. It deflects attention from his real work â€“ and the true reason why Walsinghamâ€™s spy network was established.
A Cold War seethes, and England remains under a state of threat. The forces of Faerie have been preying on humanity for millennia. Responsible for our myths and legends, of gods and fairies, dragons, griffins, devils, imps and every other supernatural menace that has haunted our dreams, this power in the darkness has seen humans as playthings to be tormented, hunted or eradicated.
But now England is fighting back!
Magical defences have been put in place by the Queenâ€™s sorcerer Dr John Dee, who is also a senior member of Walsinghamâ€™s secret service and provides many of the bizarre gadgets utilised by the spies. Finally there is a balance of power. But the Cold War is threatening to turn hot at any momentâ€¦
Will now plays a constant game of deceit and death, holding back the Enemyâ€™s repeated incursions, dealing in a shadowy world of plots and counter-plots, deceptions, secrets, murder, where no oneâ€¦ and no thingâ€¦is quite what it seems.
The entire world is the battleground â€“ from Russia, across Europe, to the Caribbean and the New World. And while great events play out in the public eye, the true struggle takes place behind the scenes: the Spanish Armada, the Throckmorton Plot, the colonisation of the Americas, the Court intrigues, the battles in Ireland and against Spain, the death of Marlowe, the plagues, the art, the music, the piracy, the great discoveriesâ€¦all are simply window-dressing as the great sweep of recorded history is peeled back to show the truth behind.