'One of the most interesting and exciting new writers to emerge north of the border since Iain Banks' - Gary Gibson
'Superlative.' 'Reminded me of Iain Banks at his fiery best.' Gary Gibson, author of Angel Stations and Stealing Light.
'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'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.
A Time of Ashes
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.
* * * * * '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 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.
'Even better than the first book.' Maggie Irvine, Kobo, August 2018
City of Dreams and Dust
Part One of Sanctuary: a two-part science-fiction series.
An enigmatic man with powerful connections and a troubled past. An outcast whose sense of injustice has caused his exile to a lethal star system. The child-like guardian of an ancient machine whose importance neither the guardian nor its young captive can begin to guess. A symbiote whose near-unique abilities led to the genocide of her kind, and whose rage threatens to destroy everything she loves. A fugitive hacker in search of a break after finding himself on the wrong side of the tracks. A beautiful, apparently naive young woman, who may not be everything she seems. And a deformed genius who may hold the key to all their salvations.
All find themselves connected in a struggle with unimaginable stakes.
The odds, however, are stacked against them. A ruthless, yet lonely, secret-services-agent-turned-starship-captain, his self-contained navy, and the combined forces of a shadowy all-powerful corporation, have sworn to preserve their hard-won freedoms by destroying what may ultimately be their own only hope for survival. However costly, and whatever tools are needed to accomplish the task.
As the two mismatched sides race towards a hidden solar system and a seemingly inevitable apocalyptic showdown, it becomes clear that the very tiniest players may unexpectedly be all that stands in the way of the complete annihilation of all known life.
City of Dreams and Dust is in the final stages of editing, and should be available in March 2019. The sequel, A Haven in the Stars, should be available by May.
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.