I made a decision about the Human Legion books a week ago, and now that the website is back up and running, it’s time to share that with you. Sit down and take a stiff drink first; this might hurt.
For over a year now, the Human Legion series has been conceived as a series of six novels*. That’s still the case, and I am already working on the finale: The Battle of Earth. In February 2015, a month after the release of Indigo Squad, I recruited Ian Whates as a co-writer for three principle reasons:
It’s not for me to judge the third point, although I will point out that Ian has contributed some excellent ideas I wouldn’t have come up with myself. He’s also steered me away from some tangents that were not a good idea in retrospect. I’m personally proud of both the co-written books, and think War Against the White Knights has some of the best writing so far in the series. But with the first two points, we have clearly failed, despite my best efforts and Ian’s. My plan had been to deliver the final book at Easter 2016. Instead, that’s when the fifth book came out, and instead of being fresh and eager for the final book, I find myself burnt out and needing a break.
The stop-start nature of the War Against the White Knights project was especially frustrating, but the upside was that it gave me time to work on other projects when the main one was stalled. Principle amongst these was Revenge Squad. I have now decided to take a rest break from the main Human Legion series to work on launching Revenge Squad and with JR Handley to launch The Sleeping Legion. Later in the year, recharged and eager, I will be back onto The Battle of Earth to write the best book I can to bring The Human Legion to a fitting close.
It’s too early to announce dates for anything, but to give you an idea of what’s ahead, the first draft of the first Sleeping Legion novel is complete, and a draft for the second novel about halfway through. The first draft of the first Revenge Squad novel, After the Guns Fall Silent, is also about halfway through.
And in the background, I am noting ideas and snatches of dialog for The Battle of Earth. In fact, this is proving particularly fertile because the main character of the initial Revenge Squad novels, NJ McCall, is haunted by the events he experienced in the Battle of Earth.
I apologize for the delay, and I know it will disappoint and frustrate some loyal readers, but I hope you will reluctantly agree with me that it is better to wait and give the Human Legion series the killer climax it deserves than to grind out a raggedy effort under pressure. Maybe this sounds a bit ‘special snowflake’, I don’t know, but it’s the experience of myself and many other authors that feeling stoked about a writing project tends to yield superior results (and vice versa).
For those wanting an interim Legion fix, I’ll point out that there is an exclusive Human Legion prequel short story, ‘The President’s Son’, in the anthology The Empire at War, which came out in February. And another Legion short story, ‘Hill 435’, which is set between books 5 and 6 in the series and will be out in July as part of an anthology called, Crises and Conflict. If you’re in London, England on July 9th, I’ll be signing copies at the book launch at the Star of Kings pub. The image at the top of this post is the artwork for Crises and Conflict by Chris Moore, which looks pretty cool to me. It’s also got stories from Una McCormack who’s a New York Times bestselling novelist and has written Star Trek and Doctor Who novels, and Christopher Nuttall, who you will already know, I’m sure. Many other fine writers too.
For more information about Revenge Squad (including a sample scene) and The Sleeping Legion, tap or click on the images.
Finally, just so I am clear beyond doubt, Ian and I have put our best endeavors into co-writing, and there have been upsides as well as down to this approach. The decision to recruit a co-writer was entirely my choice, and the responsibility for any delays that might have resulted from that decision are entirely my own.
* Actually, if you look far enough back I initially announced the Human Legion series as five novels. Human Empire was the book I added when the others outgrew their boundaries.
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