When we decided to move Department 19: Zero Hour back by a couple of months, to give myself and my editor time to make it as good as it could possibly be, we also started talking about whether there was anything we could do to bridge the resulting gap. After all, we’d managed to get three long books out a year apart, and readers had become accustomed to getting the next chapter in the series in April each year (in the UK, at least). It would be good, we reasoned, if we could put something out around that same time, something that people could read while they were waiting for Zero Hour.
In addition to the novels, we’d already released a trilogy of (long) short stories set in the history of Blacklight, focusing on Quincey Harker, the son of Jonathan and Mina Harker from Bram Stoker’s original novel, which we grouped together as The Department 19 Files. People seemed to like them, so when I was asked to contribute to World Book Day 2013, we put the resulting story (The Secret History Of A Teenage Vampire) out as a Department 19 File ebook as well. Only that one was free. And people definitely seemed to like that :)
“Have you got any other stories you want to tell outside the novels?” my editor asked, when we’d finally finished the second draft of Zero Hour. “Funny you should say that…” I replied.
As a result, I’m delighted to announce that on the 8th May we’re publishing The Second Birth Of Frankenstein, an all-new ebook short story (well, I say short – it’s about 11,000 words!) that is entirely FREE to anyone who wants to download it. Here’s the cover…
It’s (mostly) set in 1816, in the wilderness that is now north-eastern Canada but was then called British North America, although it also takes place in the Arctic Sea and on a dock at the port of Dover. There is snow, freezing cold, punishing hardship, blood, death, and something that moves through the endless forest, something that the First Nations have a word for, a word rarely spoken out loud.
And at the centre of it all is a man with no name. A giant of a man, with grey-green skin and a body covered in scars. A man who has tried to escape the horrors of his past, only to find new ones waiting for him in the north…
I’m hugely proud of this story (my editor thinks it might be the best thing I’ve written, which is always nice to hear!). I pitched it as ‘a locked room mystery horror written by Jack London’, which was ambitious, to be fair :) But I hope I’ve been able to at least get somewhere close to the spirit of a writer who is one of my absolute favourites.
The story is available for pre-order now – I hope you enjoy it, and that it helps tide you over until Zero Hour (which we’re also doing some exciting digital stuff with – click HERE for the details). I probably wouldn’t read this one after dark, but maybe that’s just me…
The Second Birth Of Frankenstein (I’ll update as and when more come online)
The Secret History Of A Teenage Vampire
The original trilogy of Department 19 Files (which are NOT free, just in case anyone clicks BUY without checking!):
The Devil In No Man’s Land: 1917
Undead In The Eternal City: 1918
The New Blood: 1919