Tag Archives: Bantam UK

Samantha Norman talks about co-writing Winter Siege with her late mother Ariana Franklin

“I would never have got round to writing a novel if my mother hadn’t died. I wanted to, but only in the way a lot of people want to write – in a rather dreamy, rare as hen’s teeth way: a sudden flash of inspiration one day leading to a perfect plot and 90,000 immaculately ordered words divinely processed through the fingertips by the next. It was never going to happen. Like most people, I had neither the rigour nor the discipline to do it and, when it came down to it, probably didn’t want to enough.

My mother, however – Ariana Franklin, the much-admired historical thriller writer and author of the Mistress of the Art of Death series – loved writing and was as good at it as you can get. She was also a great mum, and, as all great mothers tend to be, a terrific nag. Ever since I can remember she had nursed a conviction that I should write novels. So when she died, suddenly and unexpectedly, halfway through a book it felt not only like the most dreadful thing that had ever happened to me but a rather weird challenge as well.

I took it up hoping to do her justice, to make her proud (even from beyond the grave) and because it was the very last thing I could do for her. The result is Winter Siege, her last novel and my first, published this week.”

WinterSiege

Click on the pic for a link to Amazon UK.

For Samantha Norman the unfinished Winter Siege was a gift from her late mother, launching her on the road of a new career in writing. Published today, it’s a standalone novel set in a freezing cold 1141. Gwil, a battle-hardened mercenary, watches in horror as a little girl with red hair is dragged away by his own men. Caught in the middle of the fight for England she is just one more victim in a winter of atrocities. But a strange twist of fate brings them together again. Gwil finds the girl close to death, clutching a sliver of parchment – and he knows what he must do. He will bring her back to life. He will train her to fight. And together, they will hunt down the man who did this to her. But danger looms wherever they turn. As castle after castle falls victim to siege, the icy Fens ring with rumours of a madman, of murder – and of a small piece of parchment the cost of which none of them could have imagined …

A review of the novel will follow next week.

Have you pulled yet?

Pulled your Christmas crackers that is.  If you have, then you may feel in the ‘pre-order’ mood so here are three fabulous crime novels coming in 2013 that you’d be absolutely crackers to miss.  Full reviews will follow near the publication dates.

31 January

BBRubberbneckerRubbernecker – Belinda Bauer (Bantam)

“’The dead can’t speak to us,’ Professor Madoc had said.

That was a lie.

Because the body Patrick Fort is examining in anatomy class is trying to tell him all kinds of things.

Life is already strange enough for the obsessive Patrick without having to solve a possible murder. Especially when no one believes a crime has even taken place.  Now he must stay out of danger long enough to unravel the mystery – while he dissects his own evidence.

But as Patrick learns one truth from a dead man, he discovers there have been many other lies rather closer to home…”

A more grown-up The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time meets Shallow Grave.  Dark, disturbing and witty.  Patrick is a darling.  My thesaurus does not contain the words to tell you just how fabulous this is.  On this occasion: believe the hype.

7 March

DJGoneAGAINGone Again – Doug Johnstone (Faber and Faber)

“’It’s just to say that no-one has come to pick Nathan up from school, and we were wondering if there was a problem of some kind?’

As Mark Douglas photographs a pod of whales stranded in the waters off Edinburgh’s Portobello Beach, he is called by his son’s school: his wife, Lauren, hasn’t turned up to collect their son.  Calm at first, Mark collects Nathan and takes him home but as the hours slowly crawl by he increasingly starts to worry.

And this it isn’t the first time Lauren has disappeared.  As Mark struggles to care for his son and shield him from the truth of what’s going on, the police seem dangerously short of leads – until a shocking discovery…”

Ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.  A husband, a father and a father’s worries all under the microscope.  On this occasion: will be one of the big books of 2013.

17 January

RWCapPunishmentCapital Punishment – Robert Wilson (Orion)

“Meet Charles Boxer – ex-army, ex-police and now a high-stakes kidnap recovery specialist, he knows only too well how the dark forces in the city can reach out and ensnare an innocent victim.

The hostage is the beautiful Alyshia D’Cruz, daughter of Indian tycoon Francisco ‘Frank’ D’Cruz. After a boozy night out she gets into the wrong cab home and Boxer is the only man Frank will trust to go down into the criminal underworld to retrieve her.

Boxer knows that Frank’s crooked business empire has made him plenty of enemies, but despite the vast D’Cruz fortune, the kidnappers don’t want his cash. They prefer a crueller, more lethal game and to have any chance of saving Alyshia, Boxer must play it out with religious fanatics, London’s home-grown crime lords and Indian mobsters, as his trail crosses paths with a terrorist plot on British soil.

Capital Punishment is a thrilling journey to the dark side of people and places hidden just out of sight, waiting for the moment to tear a life apart.”

[Reading status: started but not yet finished.]  Where others may be known for detail, Wilson pulls off a ‘forensic’ level.  His thrillers combine the visceral with emotion and intelligence.  On this occasion: the new series has all the hallmarks of classic Wilson.