The Laughing Gnome Book Three!

Candy Jar Books is proud to announce book three in its anniversary series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, The Laughing Gnome: The Danger Men.

Following on from The Laughing Gnome: Fear of the Web, book three sees the focus shift to Brigadier William Bishop, who, after several astral jumps through time, is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever return to his life in 2011!

The Danger Men sees the return of popular novelist Nick Walters for his third Lethbridge-Stewart novel. Nick previously wrote Mutually Assured Domination in 2015 and The Man from Yesterday earlier in 2018.

Nick says: “When I was told of the story arc for this anniversary series, I immediately knew what I wanted to do: a straight spy thriller, with no sci-fi or fantasy elements other than the framing story and elements of the wider Whoniverse. At the same time, I had the idea for the opening scene, and it’s more or less exactly as you read it in the finished book! It’s rare that ideas come so fully-formed so quickly, but it’s wonderful when they do. I intended The Danger Men to be a homage to James Bond, Jason Bourne, Mission: Impossible and the works of John Le Carre, spoofing some elements yet taking the story deadly seriously. For example, women are always throwing themselves at James Bond, and the same happens to Bill in this book, but, of course, because he’s a gent and loyal to Anne he cannot reciprocate, leading to complications and comedy.”

This is the first book in the range to focus primarily on Bill Bishop. Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen explains that decision: “Ever since his first appearance in the first Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Bill has proven very popular with our readers. Up to now the books have been led by either the Brigadier or Anne, so the decision was made that, during this contained series of novels and under the steady hand of Nick Walters, we could take the risk of allowing one of our series-originated characters to take the lead. Bill was the only choice for that, really, easily being the most popular and the most connected to both the Brigadier and Anne – especially Anne, seeing as they got engaged during the course or the series and have been shown to be married by the 1990s. Of course, both the Brigadier and Anne make cameo appearances, and their presence is felt throughout. It is still every bit a Lethbridge-Stewart novel!”

Music has a large influence on The Danger Men, and Nick explains more: “The story arc title, The Laughing Gnome, was inspired by David Bowie, of course. It’s set in 1999 so there are a lot of references to contemporary pop, rock and indie, in chapter titles for example, and the naming of operations by Department M, which subverts the conventions of naming such things after works of high culture in Le Carre and Deighton novels.  There is, however, one group, one very famous group spanning the ’80s and ’90s, who are still going now, who inspired the majority of the character names and references. Stella Van Steiner, Dieter Allegro, Otto Di Catania – I’ll let you guess who! We plan to do a soundtrack for the book, containing all the songs referenced therein, which should be available on Spotify soon. Such things as pop music references are great fun, of course, but only the icing on the cake. The Danger Men is, I hope, a fast-moving, thrilling, funny and sometimes alarming spy caper with loads of twists and turns. It’s also a study of identity – Bill has to take on various aliases in his mission, and the more he takes on the further he feels isolated from his true self. So, underneath all the fun is all this existential musing on the nature of existence.”

The cover is by Paul Cooke, returning for his second novel after providing the artwork for Nick Walters’ previous book, The Man from Yesterday. Paul says: “It was a very pleasant surprise to be asked back to do another cover for the series. When I read what the story was about, I was thrilled – it was a perfect opportunity do a cover influenced by some of the period film posters I enjoy. I was thinking I would approach this in a slightly different style to my last one, a bit more painterly. The only problem was not to make it too pulpy in look, which is when I hit upon the idea of the computer screen type, which immediately gave the piece a sense of time.”

Blurb:

2011 and Brigadier William Bishop visits his old commanding officer, Brigadier Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, who is a little concerned about a garden gnome he recently found. Soon both Bishop and his wife, Anne Travers, find themselves dragged through time after the Brigadier…

He’s a man on a mission. But he has no idea what the mission is. It’s 1999. Bill Bishop is plunged into a world of intrigue as he inhabits the body of Calum Bence of Department M – aka the Danger Men – on the trail of millionaire entrepreneur and suspected super-spy Dieter Allegro.

But is Allegro really the bad guy he’s made out to be? And who is the mysterious Otto Di Catania, and why is he so interested in the contents of a certain CD-ROM?

As he seeks these answers, Bill can’t help but wonder: will he ever find Anne and the Brigadier, will he even return to 2011, or is he destined to be lost in time forever?

Join Bill in his borrowed body as he travels from Johannesburg to London to Torquay and Austria on his mission impenetrable…

The Laughing Gnome will continue in early 2019 with book four. The Day of the Matador, by Robert Mammone, sees our heroes reuniting in 1970s England dealing with gangsters and Dominators! This is followed by book five, Lucy Wilson and the Bledoe Cadets by Tim Gambrell, with On His Majesty’s National Service by David A McIntee following a month later.

NB: IF YOU HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION THE LAUGHING GNOME SERIES IS COVERED BY THIS.

The Laughing Gnome: The Danger Men is available for pre-order now for £8.99 (+ p&p). The book is due for release at the end of November.

http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/dangermen.html

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The Brigadier Meets Leela

The Doctor Who Short Trips range will continue to be released every month during 2019 and 2020 at £2.99 on download from Big Finish Productions. Featuring new writing talent and a new producer, Alfie Shaw, these quick journeys in the TARDIS are a perfect introduction to Doctor Who on audio.

Also for the first time at Big Finish these new Short Trips will include adventures told from the perspective of the Twelfth Doctor, plus there are first time encounters for classic companions as we continue exploring the Doctor Who universe.

In the first Short Trips coming out in 2019, Leela will be meeting Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in a Fourth Doctor story. Then there’s a Twelfth Doctor (a first for Big Finish) historical tale that sees him meeting a female pioneer of literature, plus the Seventh Doctor – master strategist that he is – will be playing the most deadly game of all of his lives, and finally we’ll find out how the Doctor learnt Venusian Aikido!

The first Short Trips for release next year is:

The Revisionists by Andy Frankham-Allen

Guests at the Hôtel des Rois are being haunted by ancestors that never existed. The Brigadier was only in Geneva to finalise his retirement, but how could he resist? Investigating, the Brigadier quickly finds something unusual. A warrior in leathers. A warrior called Leela…

History is about to catch up with both of them. History that neither of them thinks is real.

Andy says: “Originally I wrote Leela’s sections in first person, knowing Louise Jameson would be narrating, but Alfie rightly suggested jumping from first to third person would confuse things with only one voice actor involved. I have spoken to Louise a few times in the past, and was aware of the kind of things she liked to explore with Leela, so I deliberately picked an aspect of Leela that would greatly appear to her. And it was, of course, a forgone conclusion that the story would explore the differences between the Doctor’s two warrior friends. And, for Lethbridge-Stewart fans, there’s a direct connection between the final chapters of The Laughing Gnome: Scary Monsters and this story.”

Short Trips is one of the many Doctor Who audio ranges produced by Big Finish. After four superb years of being produced by Ian Atkins, the reigns are now being handed over to a new producer, Alfie Shaw.

Alfies tells us more, “Joining Big Finish has been a dream come true. Growing up between the end of the classic series and the beginning of the new one, Doctor Who has always been, to me, a show on audio as much as it was a TV one. Not only did Big Finish provide new stories for a show I love, but introduced me to new favourites, such as The PrisonerJago & Litefoot and Survivors.

“It’s a privilege to be producing new Doctor Who adventures for Big Finish and David, Ian and Nick have all been so supportive and made me feel very welcome.”

Doctor Who on audio is Doctor Who unchained. As a TV show, its storytelling ambitions have, at times, exceeded its budget or the technology available. On audio, there’s none of that. The walls don’t wobble unless you want them to! The sound designers and composers are uniformly fantastic and do such wonderful, evocative work that really highlights how a show like Doctor Who naturally lends itself to audio.”

Short Trips is a range that succinctly showcases the inherent flexibility of the format of Doctor Who. From comedic stories to heart-breaking character studies to more action orientated pieces, and from the First Doctor to the Twelfth, there really is something for everyone! All of writers, whether returning or new, have created beautiful scripts and I’m looking forward to getting them out to the listeners.

Doctor Who Short Trips series 9 and 10 are both available to pre-order now, either at £2.99 an episode each, or save by ordering a bundle of a full series with 12 episodes a year, at £30 per series.

The Laughing Gnome Book Two – Pre-Order!

Candy Jar Books is proud to announce book two in its anniversary series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, The Laughing Gnome: Fear of the Web.

Following on from The Laughing Gnome: Scary Monsters, book two sees the focus shift to Dame Anne Bishop (nee Travers) as she finds herself dragged back in time from 2011 to a pivotal moment in history – February 1969, and the events of the Doctor Who serial, The Web of Fear!

Fear of the Web is written by first-time novelist, Alyson Leeds, who contributed a short story to 2017’s The HAVOC Files 4.

Alyson explains being called on to contribute: “I was quite stunned to be asked if I would write a book as part of the upcoming 50th Anniversary series. It was both an exciting and fairly intimidating prospect, having never written a novel before, but I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up. The scenario that Andy gave me was too interesting to refuse.”

Range Editor, Andy Frankham-Allen, explains: “Alyson’s short story needed very little work, and since then I’ve called upon her military knowledge for other books, so it was an easy call to invite her to join the line-up for The Laughing Gnome. For someone who’s done little professional prose writing, she turns in a very solid piece of work, which is every editor’s dream. As we are celebrating fifty years of the Brigadier, it was forgone conclusion that we would go back to the beginning, his first appearance in Doctor WhoThe Web of Fear, as written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln. Like all the authors for this range, I gave Alyson the basic premise; put Dame Anne into the missing two weeks mentioned in The Web of Fear –  during a small briefing scene between Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, Captain Knight and the Doctor – and finally show just what did happen when the mist started spreading across London, and add to that the idea that Dame Anne will be faced with the notion that she could, theoretically, changed things to ensure her father is never possessed by the Great Intelligence! Alyson jumped at the chance, and soon had an outline ready to go.”

Alyson talks about her approach to developing the idea: “The London Event, indeed The Web of Fear, was the making of Lethbridge-Stewart, but was never just his story. There’s an awful lot that goes on off camera there; the slow advance of the mist and Web, the escalation of the crisis, and the total evacuation of London – no mean feat! Introducing an older, experienced Anne who has known both joy and loss over the years into that scenario presented some interesting questions. After everything she’s been through with HAVOC, you would think Anne would know better than to try and change the past; but when faced with the chance to save a loved one from a truly horrible fate, who’s to say to what lengths she might go? It also presented a chance to explore a little further the relationship between the Travers family and the Silversteins. I always felt bad for Mr Silverstein, getting bumped off simply for being unlucky enough to own the Yeti, and revisiting this point in time allowed me to touch on the repercussions that his death would have on those closest to him.”

The cover is by Martin Baines, whose work was previously featured on the covers of 2016’s Times Squared, and 2017’s The Dreamer’s Lament. Martin says: “The Web of Fear is rightly regarded one of the gems of Doctor Who in the ’60s.  It’s brilliantly written and well directed and has aged very well.  When Candy Jar asked me to illustrate a cover depicting another story set during the same period I was really thrilled, especially when they asked me to show London deserted and covered in web (which was not seen in the original story but mentioned). It took a number of roughs to do justice to the idea, but when I saw some images of London in smog I knew the direction to take.”

Blurb:

Dame Anne Bishop learned a long time ago that for every fixed point in time, this a fracture point, an event that is susceptible to catastrophic changes in the timeline. And when she is catapulted back in time, she discovers first hand that February 1969 is one such point.

Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart is on manoeuvres with the Scots Guards in Libya. Only, he’s about to receive a call from his old commanding officer, Colonel Spencer Pemberton. A call that will drag him to London, and set him on a direct course for destiny! 

The London Event, the trap set for the Doctor by the Great Intelligence, changed the course of human history, and for Anne Travers it set into place a series of events that would see the death of her father barely a year later.

 Now, waking up in the body of a woman she barely knows, Dame Anne is faced with the idea that perhaps she can change things – not enough to damage the timeline, but enough to save her father.

 Future and past are set to collide, which could have irrevocable consequences for the timeline…

 NB: IF YOU HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION THE LAUGHING GNOME SERIES IS COVERED BY THIS.

The Laughing Gnome: Fear of the Web is available for pre-order now for £8.99 (+ p&p). The book is released at the end of September.

http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/fearoftheweb.html