Archive for category Sixty-One Nails
In Chapter Eight of Sixty-One Nails, my protagonist, Niall, is sitting at the corner of St Martin’s Lane in London. The Chapter opens with the lines:
I sat for an hour or more before people started walking across the square, heading towards work or some other rendezvous, and it lost its privacy. I was getting chilled so I wandered back the way I had come to find the coffee shop had opened. I ordered black coffee and added sugar before taking it outside. I sat among the deserted tables in the damp air and waited for Blackbird. On the war memorial across the pavement from me I could read the words ‘Humanity’ and ‘Sacrifice’. I hoped it wasn’t an omen.
The memorial Niall refers to is a stone monument to Edith Clavell, and on each side it reads, Humanity, Devotion, Fortitude and Sacrifice. There is a stone statue of Edith at the fore with an inscription that reads:
Brussels – Dawn
October 12th 1915
Patriotism is not enough
I must have no hatred or
bitterness for anyone.
These are her words to an Anglican priest on the night before her execution.
Edith was a nurse, born in Swardeston in Norfolk, she served in Belgium in the Great War, treating allies and enemies alike because they were wounded and needed help. She did not judge people for what they did, or how they saw the world, but only offered them comfort and compassion. She helped some 200 allied soldiers, French, British and Belgian, escape from German-occupied Belgium into the Netherlands and thence to Britain where they were welcomed as refugees.
For helping people escape, she was arrested, imprisoned, court-martialled, and shot by a firing squad on 12th October 1915, 100 years ago today. She was 49. Her remains were recovered and re-interred in Norwich Cathedral, where she is still honoured today.
She was a great woman. Even today as a country we could learn from her example.
Rest in Peace.
We’re mere days away from FantasyCon, and I’m really looking forward to heading off to Nottingham. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.
I’ll also be signing copies of The Road to Bedlam on Saturday from 12 until 1pm in the Dealer’s Room along with Colin Harvey, who will be signing copies of Damage Time and Andy Remic who will be doing likewise with Soul Stealers. At 3:30 I am booked to do a live reading – just after Ian Whates, so it’s worth coming along for the hour.
In the meantime, reviews of Sixty-One Nails have started to appear in the United States – this one hot off the presses: ~
Shevdon’s blend of history and folklore creates a rich picture of a London that is both real and full of magic. The plot is quick and though the book is a little hefty, I finished it in all of two days (and that was with a movie break to watch all three parts of the Red Riding trilogy, too!). The Courts of the Feyre is a world that I happily got lost in and can’t wait to return to. Really and truly amazing stuff, folks. I just can’t recommend this book highly enough.
~ No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thanks to Becky for the great review – I hope she likes the sequel as much.
It’s the busiest of busy weeks her at Shevdon Manor with, not one, but two releases. Firstly, Sixty-One Nails is now out in the United States and Canada and there have been some great comments from across the pond. Thanks to everyone for the good wishes – initial signs are very promising indeed.
The sequel, The Road to Bedlam, is out now in the UK and Australasia, with the first reviews coming out this week: ~
It is the Neverwhere for Generation X and as such when backed up with great dialogue, an emotional roller coaster alongside kick ass plot outline, you know that you have something special. ~ Falcata Times
There’s also an interview with Falcata Times where we talk about writing, reading, archery and warm sausage rolls – oh dear, my secret’s out.
Then, over on Dark Fiction Review, I’m talking about the State of the Genre and what Anne McCaffrey has to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and what happens when the shelves fill up with vegetarian vampires and tame werewolves – maybe not what you think.
All in all, it’s turning into quite a week.
Early next week, Sixty-One Nails will be released in the USA and Canada and the sequel, The Road to Bedlam will be released in the UK and Australasia, giving us an excuse for a double celebration here at Shevdon Manor.
Due to the global nature of publishing, there are already fans in the US who are spreading the word and looking forward to the release of The Road to Bedlam in the US in late October, but they won’t necessarily have seen some of the earlier articles on the background and history to Sixty-One Nails, and I thought it was worth posting some links to articles that new readers might find interesting.
Red Light District in a Convent Garden is an article on the history of Covent Garden, one of the main locations for Sixty-One Nails, proving that truth can sometimes be more surprising than fiction. This is a genteel area in the heart of the West End now, but it has a seedy past.
Temple and the Templars looks at the history behind the Inns of Court and the area around the Royal Courts of Justice, showing how the forge in Tweezers Alley came to be there and charting the rise and fall of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.
Lethal London looks at the underground rivers that flow beneath the streets of London, hidden from view in all but the most obscure of locations, including the river that flows openly through the basement of an antiques shop. Though the Thames may be London’s famous river, it is by no means the most dangerous.
Quit Rents Ceremony 2009 is an account is the ceremony held annually at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London, which I attended so that I could watch the testing of the knives and the presentation of the nails and the horse-shoes. It’s a fascinating event, and highly recommended if you happen to be in London in October.
There are other articles with a historical leaning to be found under the History link in the sidebar; please feel free to explore and browse. I will be posting some articles on the background to The Road to Bedlam in the near future, so keep an eye out for those. There is also an RSS feed for those using that service.
Sixty-One Nails will be released in the United States of America and Canada on August 31st 2010, and The Road to Bedlam is released in the UK and Australasia on 1st September. It’s going to be an exciting week.