'One of the most interesting and exciting new writers to emerge north of the border since Iain Banks' - Gary Gibson
* * * * * 'Intricate, challenging, and thrilling.' Whispering Stories.
'Superlative.' 'Reminded me of Iain Banks at his fiery best.' Gary Gibson, author of Angel Stations and Stealing Light.
'Will engage readers and provoke fear in equal measure. For as Britain as a whole and Scotland in particular stand today at the cusp of a momentous and unclear future, October Song has tapped into this uncertainty and offers a future vision in thriller form.' Oban Times
'An absolute piledriver of a dark future thriller that instantly hooks you and doesn't let go till the end. Horribly believable and utterly compelling.' Neil Williamson, author of The Moon King and Thirty Years of Rain.
'A grim and gripping near-future thriller with sharp political edges and scarily plausible projections, rooted in intimate knowledge of real places.' Ken MacLeod, award-winning author of The Star Fraction and The Night Sessions.
COIRA KEIR is a long-serving police officer. Abrasive, but respected by her peers, she has an enviable track record. When a bomb explodes outside the North British Council Building at Holyrood, Edinburgh, dozens of bystanders are left dead. Among the critically wounded is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, whose safety was Keir's responsibility.
Now Keir is missing.
Army veteran Sebastian Blakeslee is an operational advisor for MI5, the domestic security agency of the United Kingdom. Lorna Ainsworth is the agency’s territorial chief. Together, they find themselves leading a joint police and MI5 taskforce. Its mission: track Keir down before more bombs go off.
What follows is a cat-and-mouse chase towards the front of an intensifying war - along a wild coast where thousands of desperate boat-borne refugees are hiding. Meanwhile, as the taskforce will discover to its cost, someone seems to be going to extraordinary lengths to stop Keir being found.
With elements of police procedural, spy novel and political action thriller, October Song is both a darkly gripping roller-coaster ride and a blistering reflection on a world on the edge of collapse.
Readers are saying:
* * * * * 'I have just read this for the second time, and it is even better than I remembered.' L Morpurgo, Amazon, September 2019
* * * * * 'Like Iain Banks. But better in places.' T McManmon, Amazon October 2019'
* * * * * 'I've not spent seven straight hours reading a novel for a very long time, I was engrossed from the first chapter.' P Quigley, Amazon, October 2018
* * * * * 'Best thriller I've read in years. You'll be hooked, and surprised, right to the end.' Maggie Irvine, Kobo, October 2018
* * * * * 'A fabulous read, and one which keeps you "turning" the pages! Very much in the mould of Iain Banks, Peter May and Paul Henke, October Song's tale blends an intimate understanding of a wonderful part of Scotland with a storyline which is both compelling and concerning ... I rather think we may well be hearing more of Ru Pringle.' Mike B, Amazon, October 2018
* * * * * 'I devoured this novel on holiday. It is action packed and fast paced, keeping you hooked and on the edge of your seat. It has the effect that a really good novel should achieve - it gets you compulsively turning the pages to find out what happens but at the same time you don't want to reach the end because then the experience will be over.' Angela Barron, Amazon, October 2018
Available from Amazon as an eBook (includes Kindle Unlimited) and as a paperback. Click HERE or on the cover image for link. An audiobook version will be available soon. If you're a publisher or promoter and would like more info., please contact my agent John Jarrold. Published by:
A Time of Ashes
'The worlds-building (not a typo, hopefully not a spoiler either) in this novel was incredible' - M. Fitzgerald, Adjective+Noun.
BEFORE THE CORRUPTION CAME, Murrin Kentle lived in a world where the largest island could be walked across in a day, and humans traded and fished in bladeships made from the bones of the gigantic and bizarre sea monsters patrolling its stormy, bottomless oceans. As a truthkeep of the Brotherhood of the First Mind, it’s been his duty to fight the decay of knowledge with religious fervour. A fervour he’s increasingly struggled to maintain.
Before the Corruption came, Sheehan hahe Seeheeli was a carefree countess of the Shi’iin. Amphibious and matriarchal, her people have maintained an uneasy coexistence with the human scholars dominating the islands. Then an emissary of the gods brings news of an impending catastrophe. Now, she and Murrin must embark on a desperate voyage in the hope of salvation, though both the subject of their search and the path they must take remain stubbornly obscure.
Before the Corruption came, a wild young man named Coll grew up in a desert town, consumed by rage over what was done to his mother. His thirst for retribution will set in motion a train of events not even the gods could fully have foretold.
NOW THE CORRUPTION IS HERE, and nothing in Murrin's world, nor any of the worlds of the Sundered Realm, will ever be the same.
By turns touching, thrilling and horrific, A Time of Ashes is the first part Fate and the Wheel: a beautifully written epic tale of discovery, friendship, loss, and survival against crushing odds.
'The rumble of the approaching fire was like something physical. It made his bones vibrate, more insistent by the second until he thought his ears would rupture. Those left on deck not preoccupied with trying to keep the rigging from flying apart watched their nemesis with pop-eyed incantations or yells of terror.'
'Chet knew this rootless, prickling sensation in the pit of his gut. How could he forget? It had consumed him that day on the dais. His first meeting with Murrin – his first real view of the man, his cognast friend Gald’s old-man scrawniness making Murrin seem even more absurdly, enduringly massive. He had seemed like something built to last forever.'
Readers are saying:
* * * * * 'A marvellously clever and inventive read. Can't wait to read the next one. A total original.' Maggie Irvine, Kobo, August 2018.
* * * * * 'Wow, what a book!' Mary Dunsford, Amazon, Februry 2019
* * * * * 'Kept me wanting to pick it up again and again. A thoroughly enveloping environment and many fully rounded characters to care about.' Jon, Kindle, March 2019
* * * * * 'I loved this. It's extremely well written in a very visual style – almost cinematographic – and the characterisation is fantastic. The individuals may be flawed but they're all very relatable. I quickly got very invested in their story ... It seems like a classic quest story but although it's a page-turner there's a depth to it which hints than there's a lot more to the story than meets the eye.' Suzi Baker, GoodReads July 2018.
* * * * * 'The author’s ability to paint clear descriptions introduce the reader to a interesting new world. The characters run the gamut and their variety further hold the reader in the pages.' Texas, Amazon US
THE KINGDOM OF TYS IS BESIEGED. As war rages, its neighbouring lands burn. Amidst the chaos, thrust into the role of a warrior, a wounded scholar seeks allies for a mission borne of little more than blind hope. The Corruption, however, has other plans, and its agents may be closer than anyone realizes.
In a mysterious ocean far away, the hard-pressed crew of the bladeship Fat Chance find that they have traded death by fire for more insidious perils. As they struggle to postpone the inevitable, it becomes clear that they and their increasingly battered ship are at the mercy of forces on an unimaginable scale.
Held in the seemingly impregnable Castle of the Four Winds, ocean-dwelling sisters Sheehan and Seeli begin to appreciate that a dungeon offers a fate kinder than some of the alternatives. Yet even in the depths of despair Sheehan will find herself called upon to make decisions affecting the fates of worlds.
Part Two of the epic Fate and the Wheel series, Hunting Gods is part action thriller, part journey of existential discovery: a science fiction- and steampunk-tinged fantastic tale of loss, revenge, redemption, companionship, and endurance in the face of horrific adversity - a worthy sequel to the thrills and emotional charge of A Time of Ashes.
* * * * * 'Speechless. A fast moving incredible tale, this authors imagination and talent is awesome. [ ] Can't wait for the sequel.' Lorraine S Frances, Amazon, July 2020
* * * * * 'Even better than the first book.' Maggie Irvine, Kobo, August 2018
* * * * * 'This was the perfect follow on to the first book, picking up where it left off and sweeping you along! Some twists that totally shocked, it really keeps you wanting more. Book 3 now please!!!' Mary Dunsford, Amazon April 2019
* * * * * 'Reading the first book is a must but follows seamlessly with the same pace and vigor introducing more enthralling and unpredictable twists and turns!' Jon, Amazon March 2019
* * * * * 'I’ve read three books by this author and liked all three.' Texas, Amazon US May 2019
Fate and the Wheel is a series of a planned six books. Available as an eBook from Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited. Available as a paperback from late 2018, and as an audiobook in 2019. Click HERE or on the cover image for link. Paperback and audiobook versions will be available soon. Published by:
City of Dreams and Dust
Volume One of THE SEED: a two-part science-fiction series.
There's a stranger in the one-city desert world of Renascido. Absurdly rich, yet hidden amongst the city’s teeming billions, he's planning something big. Jin Liú, a tech whizz on the run from his ruthless employers, doesn't know what that something is. Only that the offer he’s made because of it is one he can’t refuse. There’s just one problem: the offer comes at a cost, and if Liú had known what that would be, he might have chosen death instead.
Joint State Security Service officer Aral Nikumi is given a dream undercover assignment: captain of one of the most powerful warships of the Interplanetary Economic Confederation. His orders, however, are puzzling and contradictory. What should have been a routine mission deep in the territory of the loathed Lancers leads to a discovery destined to change not just his own life, but everything his society thinks it knows about itself.
For there’s a dark secret festering at the core of Renascido and the Interplanetary Economic Confederation. A secret which may threaten the existence of humanity itself.
Meanwhile, far away, a young whistle-blower finds himself trapped in a lethal solar system. Enslaved under the most dangerous conditions imaginable, he finds an unexpected ally in his fight for survival.
Only one being in the universe is aware that these seemingly disparate players are set on a collision course that will shape the future of everything.
* * * * * 'Brilliant. Great read and the second book is better! Loved every second.' N. T. Barrett, Amazon, August 2020
* * * * * 'If you’re a fan of contemporary UK SF writers (Reynolds, Banks, Baxter etc) the chances are you will lap this up.' Chris Dunk, Amazon, August 2020
* * * * * 'This author has become a favorite of mine. This story is exciting and compelling with awesome characters.' Pat Eroh, GoodReads, July 2020
* * * * * 'This space opera scale work brings to mind echos of Banks, Reynolds and, Flynn. I will actively look for other works by the author. The read was engaging, fun with enough cerebral content to elevate the quality to must-read.' Mark Russell, Amazon, July 2020
A Haven in the Stars
Volume Two of THE SEED: a two-part epic science-fiction series.
Separated from his radically altered spacecraft Oscar and his AI companion Tink, outcast Wood McCorkindale finds himself a de facto prisoner of his rescuers, the mysterious Havenners. As part of a standoff agreement, overseen by the fiercely odd young woman Hazel, he’s taken to the planet Haven, where he finds wonders and strangeness beyond his most fevered imaginings.
But Haven isn’t the paradise it sometimes seems to be. Under the autocratic rule of the godlike figure they call the Professor, the Havenners are forced to live secretly, in constant fear of annihilation.
Jo Fox and Olea Hudril, meanwhile, flee the combined might of the Interplanetary Economic Confederation in Jo’s starship: a game of cat and mouse encompassing billions of cubic light years. But what are Fox’s real motives? Has he been telling her the truth?
Promoted to Commodore, Joint State Security Service officer Aral Nikumi once more finds himself in charge of a warship. His mission: nothing less than averting the end of the Interplanetary Economic Confederation and the horrifying deaths of every man, woman and child within it.
Yet once more, the line between right and wrong becomes blurred. Who are the innocents here? And in seeking to eliminate what seems to be mankind’s deadliest threat, could he be destroying its one remaining chance of salvation?
* * * * * 'Fantastic adventure that kept me reading from the first page. I could not put down. I loved the characters and the storyline was compelling. I recommend this book.' Pat Eroh, GoodReads, July 2020
* * * * * 'Very pertinent given the way we are damaging the environment. Well written, good characterisation. Want to see what happens next.' Lorraine S. Frances, July 2020
'Inventive SF laced with humour and a healthy, earthy dose of Scots, like Chris McQueer channelling a mix of Iain Banks and Douglas Adams' - Joe Gordon, bookseller, reviewer, and former editor of Forbidden Planet.
A snorting, gibbering, bawdy, rambunctious beast of a mind-bending humourous sci fi novel. Like an absinthe-inspired collaboration between Douglas Adams, Robert Rankin, Barry J. Hutchison, Tom Sharpe, George MacDonald Fraser, and the writers of Red Dwarf
It's the end of the world. Hang loose!
IT BEGAN with a never-ending cigarette and an orangutan on a bicycle. It ended up somewhere hasbeen singer-songwriter Scott Cantlay could scarcely have imagined, even during the most fevered days of the long-gone 1970s.
For an unlikely adrenaline-addicted, cloven-hooved visitor reveals that Planet Earth is doomed to a bizarre fate. More surprisingly still, Scott may be central to a desperate plan to save it.
There's a major catch, however. For reasons he's less than clear about, this plan involves assembling a band of young musicians and organising the biggest music concert in the history of the world - with barely any warning, during the climax of the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival.
Shadowy forces, meanwhile, are determined to ensure that Scott and his newfound friends do not succeed. As if achieving the apparently impossible were not enough, he must also deal with alien assassins who think they're in a Guy Ritchie film, simian doppelgangers, terrifying zombie chickens, condescending cats, band frictions, the disapproval of his long-suffering girlfriend, and the wrath of a war-veteran cook who is now his demented manager. All while enlisting the help of his ex-agent - the same man he has accidentally subjected to an inhuman ordeal.
One thing is certain. If Scott and Planet Earth's inhabitants are to survive, they'll all need to take up surfing in a BIG way!
(Contains some strong and adult language and humour)
* * * * * 'Cosmic weirdness with the Edinburgh music scene at its epicentre. It's great fun and really well written. I'd definitely recommend giving it a try, particularly if you enjoy light-hearted science fiction.' Suzi Baker, GoodReads, July 2020
* * * * * 'Hilarious, bizarre, inventive and wonderful!' S Houston, GoodReads, July 2020
Published in interzone #164, February 2001
Struggling musician Scott Cantlay must save the world from a particularly weird cosmic fate, assisted (and hindered) by the wastrels in his new band and an elocutionally effected four-dimensional alien goat.
Meeting the Relatives
Published in Interzone #171, September 2001
After a mysterious and catastrophic flesh-devouring viral infection claims his brilliant physicist friend, Dr Steadman goes on the run and ends up further from any idea of normality than he could have predicted.