Sunday, 17 November 2013

Putting the spirit into the season of chills!

From 8 o’clock tomorrow morning, the e-version of my 2011 Christmas ghost novella, SPARROWHAWK, will be available at the one-week-only price of 99p. The truth is, it isn’t hugely expensive now at £2.07, but it only seems fair, with Christmas at last in the offing, that we try to make it even more affordable – if only for a relatively brief time.

For those not in the know, SPARROWHAWK tells the tale of damaged Afghan War veteran, John Sparrowhawk, who returns to London in 1843, to find his wife dead of a broken heart and his bank accounts empty. Struggling with shellshock and tortured by regret, lonely soul Sparrowhawk attempts to make good, but is soon incarcerated in the debtor’s prison, from where there appears to be no escape. His life is all but over, until December arrives, and he is visited in jail by the beautiful and enigmatic Miss Evangeline, who offers to pay his debt in return for an unusual favour – he must stand guard over a house in Bloomsbury for the duration of the Christmas period, and yet at no stage alert the family living there to his presence.

Sparrowhawk undertakes the odd but seemingly simple work, until it becomes apparent that a unseen foe is slowly encroaching on the address in question. As the coldest Christmas in living memory descends on London, Sparrowhawk finds himself pitted against a deadly and relentless enemy, who apparently has supernatural forces as his beck and call, and will not hesitate to use the most personal methods by which to torment and persecute his opponents.

That’s enough for now. No more spoilers, but expect angels and demons, ghosts and goblins, monsters and murderers – all wrapped up in festive Victorian packaging.

As I say, the SPARROWHAWK ebook (some 40,000 words in length, so hopefully you’ll feel you’re getting your money’s worth) will be available at 99p from tomorrow morning at 8am, for one week only.

Here are a couple of snippets:

SPARROWHAWK returned to his rooms, closing and locking the door behind him. He wondered briefly about the assailant in the bathhouse and how strange it was that he too had vanished without trace. And then he spotted the large bold message, which, in his brief absence downstairs, had been inscribed on the wall above his fireplace. He approached it slowly, eyes goggling – before going around the rest of his rooms like a whirlwind, searching every nook and cranny but finding nothing. He checked all his windows, but they too were locked. Outside, the streets were deserted. Scarcely a track – either of man, animal or cartwheel – was visible in the crisp new blanket of snow.
     On legs so shaky they could barely support him, Sparrowhawk moved back to the fireplace. The message had been made by a finger dipped in ordure or blood, or a foul mixture of both …

A MARBLE font, filled with ice, was clasped in the hands of a life-size marble angel. Both objects were scabrous with age, riddled with fissures. The angel, who, by her shapely form, was intended to be female, had suffered the most. 
     Her face was black and had crumbled to the point where it was unrecognisable – though, just fleetingly, Sparrowhawk fancied there was something familiar in it. He shook his head, baffled by the illusion. In the cathedral meanwhile, the choir had switched to another carol:

God rest you merry Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ our Saviour,
Was born on Christmas-day …

(PS: If anyone hasn't guessed, the image of the two zombie snowmen at the top is in no way connected to SPARROWHAWK, though the book does have a demonic snowman sequence in it).

No comments:

Post a Comment