Unto The Breach


A post to mark something other than this hellish, world-changing pandemic, and the UK now being in loose quarantine:

The Breach, my fourth novel, is published in world English territories by those superstars at Titan Books today. A very happy end to an instructive, annoying, fulfilling and occasionally cursed five-plus-year project that’s tripped me up more than once. Finishing it took ages, not least because the structure of it was a complete arsehole to manage, and even now I’d probably want to tinker if I opened the doc again. Our eldest son arrived partway through; I somehow wrote most of the first draft in my phone on the Tube between Finsbury Park and Hammersmith. Then there were the second, third, fourth, fifth drafts, another baby. At one point I think it ran to an unwieldy 140,000 words before I was gently reminded that novels are meant to have plots. When it was – choral swell – picked up by Gary at Titan back in 2018, it was decided that Zero Bomb was a better way in, and so it proved. Editing The Breach was frequently painful and wholly necessary. I’ll always be grateful that the manuscript has had a lot of good eyes and heart given over to it – it’s now a vastly better book.

What’s it all about? Urbex, climbing, journalism, obsession. Love and death. Infection – unfortunately. It contains (or cobbles together) elements of SF, horror, procedural, thriller, romance and dread, but most of all it’s a first contact story, done in an oblique way. I don’t know how else to describe it properly, other than to call it resistant.

I’m proud of it. I’m bewildered by the world it arrives in. I’m sorry about the badger.

The full synopsis and links to buy (ideally locally – because covid-19 is going to screw independents) is over here. Meanwhile, this photo inspired one of the first scenes.


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