New Year, New Novel

Crashing into 2020 was a brutal awakening after a lazy holiday period with my brain pretty much switched off. This is the first time I’ve got a book out in the New Year so I had to propel myself into the publicity period from a standing start. There are easier ways.

As most people know, I’ve been writing historical novels for the past few years – history being one of my particular and peculiar interests – and I chose to publish them under the pseudonym of James Wilde to avoid any confusion for readers who a) prefer my fantasy work or b) don’t like history.

On January 9, The Bear King hits bookshelves, real or digital. This is the final volume in the Dark Age trilogy which imagines how the legend of King Arthur could have arisen out of history. 

You can tell that from the strapline above: Before King Arthur. Before Camelot. Before Excalibur. Don’t say I don’t make it easy for you.

I’d like it if you bought it (and picked up the two other books, Pendragon and Dark Age). If you want to check it out first, go here.

Here’s the blurb:

Bridging the gap between ‘Game of Thrones’ and Bernard Cornwell comes the third and final chapter in James Wilde’s epic adventure of betrayal, battle and bloodshed . . .

AD 375 – The Dark Age is drawing near . . .

As Rome’s legions abandon their forts, chaos grows on the fringes of Britannia. In the far west, the shattered forces of the House of Pendragon huddle together in order to protect the royal heir – their one beacon of hope. 

For Lucanus, their great war leader, is missing, presumed dead. And the people are abandoning them. For in this time of crisis, a challenger has arisen, a False King with an army swollen by a horde of bloody-thirsty barbarians desperate for vengeance.

One slim hope remains for Lucanus’ band of warrior-allies, the Grim Wolves. Guided by the druid, Myrrdin, they go in search of a great treasure – a vessel that is supposedly a gift from the gods. With such an artefact in their possession, the people would surely return and rally to their cause? Success will mean a war unlike any other, a battle between two kings for a legacy that will echo down the centuries. And should they fail? Well, then all is lost.

In The Bear King, James Wilde’s rousing reimagining of how the myth of King Arthur, Excalibur and Camelot rose out of the fragile pages of history reaches its shattering conclusion . . .

There’s A Dark Age Coming

Copies of the paperback edition of Dark Age just arrived from my editor. Looks great. The team has done a fantastic job with all the covers for the current series.

It’s in shops shortly, or you can order it online here.

The blurb says:

Bridging the gap between ‘Game of Thrones’ and Bernard Cornwell comes the second chapter in James Wilde’s epic adventure of betrayal, battle and bloodshed . . .

It is AD 367, and Roman Britain has fallen to the vast barbarian horde which has invaded from the north. Towns burn, the land is ravaged and the few survivors flee. The army of Rome – once the most effective fighting force in the world – has been broken, its spirit lost and its remaining troops shattered.

Yet for all the darkness, there is hope. And it rests with one man. His name is Lucanus who they call the Wolf. He is a warrior, and he wears the ancient crown of the great war leader, Pendragon, and he wields a sword bestowed upon him by the druids. With a small band of trusted followers, Lucanus ventures south to Londinium where he hopes to bring together an army and make a defiant stand against the invader.

But within the walls of that great city there are others waiting on his arrival – hidden enemies who want more than anything to possess the great secret that has been entrusted to his care. To seize it would give them power beyond imagining. To protect it will require bravery and sacrifice beyond measure. And to lose it would mean the end of everything worth fighting for. 

Before Camelot. Before Excalibur. Before all you know of King Arthur. Here is the beginning of that legend . . .

Buy Pendragon Super-Cheap

…but you have to be quick. Pendragon is available now as Kindle Monthly Deal, for just 99p. It’s a great chance to sample this series from my pseudonym James Wilde, which Amazon describes as ‘bridging the gap between Game of Thrones and Bernard Cornwell.” You can find it here.

The second book Dark Age is already out. And the third, The Bear King, will be published this summer.

Here’s the blurb…

Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.

But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world – a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde – in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.

A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon. 

A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself – each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend…the rise of the House of Pendragon.

Dark Age – Now On Sale

Dark Age, the new book from my pseudonym, James Wilde, is in shops now.  This is the sequel to Pendragon, which gained a lot of attention and a major award nomination.  Roman Britain, myth-making, legends, swords, conspiracies and battle.

“Not since Bernard Cornwell took on the Arthur myth has a writer provided such a new and innovative view of the Arthurian story…fast-paced, action-packed…a wonderful tale.”

Or from The Times:

“Has all the hallmarks of a traditional historical adventure story – there are battles, swords and the bantering of violent men – and these are all done with style. However, there is also intellectual heft in the story, with its themes of myth-making and the nature of power.”

It’s from Penguin Random House. Order it from your local bookshop, or check it out here.  You can find out more about Pendragon here.

Here’s what the publisher says:

Bridging the gap between ‘Game of Thrones’ and Bernard Cornwell comes the second chapter in James Wilde’s epic adventure of betrayal, battle and bloodshed . . .

It is AD 367, and Roman Britain has fallen to the vast barbarian horde which has invaded from the north. Towns burn, the land is ravaged and the few survivors flee. The army of Rome – once the most effective fighting force in the world – has been broken, its spirit lost and its remaining troops shattered.

Yet for all the darkness, there is hope. And it rests with one man. His name is Lucanus who they call the Wolf. He is a warrior, and he wears the ancient crown of the great war leader, Pendragon, and he wields a sword bestowed upon him by the druids. With a small band of trusted followers, Lucanus ventures south to Londinium where he hopes to bring together an army and make a defiant stand against the invader.

But within the walls of that great city there are others waiting on his arrival – hidden enemies who want more than anything to possess the great secret that has been entrusted to his care. To seize it would give them power beyond imagining. To protect it will require bravery and sacrifice beyond measure. And to lose it would mean the end of everything worth fighting for.

Before Camelot. Before Excalibur. Before all you know of King Arthur. Here is the beginning of that legend . . .

Pendragon Award Nomination

Been away from here for a few weeks, doing what I’m supposed to be doing – putting food on the table via scribbling away. (“Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr Gibbon?” ~ Prince William Henry, Duke Of Gloucester to Edward Gibbon on receiving a copy of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.)  So I thought I’d do a quick catch-up on my return.

What have I been doing?  Three TV series now in various stages of development – meaning somewhere between outline and script.  New novel delivered to the editor, and now wending its way into the trenches of the editing process.

And just to record here for posterity, Pendragon – which came out under my pseudonym James Wilde – has been shortlisted for the annual Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for Best Published Novel.  It’s a relatively new award – this is the third year – and it’s an honour to be nominated. Details here.

I have a couple of public appearances lined up for September, one of them at the University of Oxford. More on that tomorrow.

Get Pendragon At A Knock-down Price

If you’ve ever considered trying the work of my pseudonym, James Wilde, now’s a good time.  Until the end of January, Amazon is offering Pendragon for just 99p as part of the Kindle Monthly Deals.  That’s a whopping £14 saving.  Will appeal to anyone who likes Game of Thrones, Arthurian myth, Age of Misrule, and historical fiction.  Here’s the link.

The blurb:

Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.
But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world – a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde – in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.

A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon.

A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself – each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend…the rise of the House of Pendragon.

2018 – The Year When Everything Changes

For a while there, I was thinking of changing the name of this blog to The View From The Bunker.  On a personal and professional level, 2017 was all-round great, if not one of the best for a while.  But…you know…out there in the world…

Now, stuffed full of turkey and mince pies and brimming with martini and champagne, I feel a bit more optimistic.  Still, whichever way you look at it, this year is going to be another one where Big Things Happen.  No point trying to ignore it.

Everything is connected.  Outside/inside.

On that theme, I plan to be writing a lot more here.  For a while, I’ve wanted to pass on what I’ve learned about the writing world.  How to go about making a living from novels and TV and film and journalism, say.  Because when momentous events are occurring out there, it’s also a good time to shake up your own life.  If you’ve ever wanted to walk away from the mundane world of 9-to-5, to carve out the existence you’ve always dreamed for yourself, now’s the time.

One thing the current Age of Upheaval has taught us is that time is running fast, life is short, and there’s no point counting on the status quo to see you through.  The people who win big are those who take calculated risks.  There won’t be a better time to reimagine who you are and what you do.

I’ll be talking about all that here.  Maybe you’ll pick up something that might help you.

My own work-front is looking pretty crammed.  I have three TV series in various stages of development with major broadcasters, and a movie script underway.  Can’t say any more about any of those right now.

There’s a new book out from my pseudonym, James Wilde, in July:

The paperback edition of Pendragon is out in March:

And various foreign editions all hit the shelves across the globe.  For a while, I’ve kept the “Mark Chadbourn” name just for screenwriting, but this year I’ll be publishing something under that moniker which will appeal to Age of Misrule fans.

And in the summer, I’m being inflicted on the poor students and conference visitors at the University of Oxford, talking about fantasy, Tolkien, writing and more.

Hold on tight. 2018 is going to be epic in all the right ways, if you decide to make it so.