Candy Jar Books ihave announce details of the second of its Counter Measures:
Birds of Prey
If the people of Britain thought the energy crisis was over, they were very wrong. Power cuts are returning, spreading from London and focusing on particularly vulnerable targets, almost as if by intention.
The Association has risen again and is stepping up its campaign to take power and enact its supremist ideology. Ian Gilmore, Rachel Jensen and even their son Dillon become embroiled in a plan to survive a plot for revenge. They must stand against old enemies as the spectres of past conflicts are raised and a new battle starts to spread through the streets of the capital.
For there are others who stand ready to face the Association too. But how far will they go and what weapons will they deploy? Gilmore, Jensen and their allies find that the monsters of the human race may be far more terrifying than anything from beyond it, and that this time, humanity will need saving from its own worst instincts.
Birds of Prey is the second book in a two-novel event, following up book one Birds of Passage.
Counter Measures, featuring characters Group Captain Gilmore, Professor Rachel Jensen and Dr Allison Williams, was created by Ben Aaronovitch for Doctor Who back in 1988. The characters were expanded on in Aaronovitch’s later novelisation of their debut story, Remembrance of the Daleks, and made the odd appearance in Doctor Who prose fiction throughout the 1990s. The team has enjoyed a long life in audio dramas from Big Finish Productions since 2012, and Gilmore made a cameo in one of Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart short stories. They even appeared in a comic written by Andrew Cartmel.
Birds of Passage was written by Robert Mammone, who had hoped to write the follow up too. Alas, life intervened, as range editor Andy Frankham-Allen explained:
Due to a change in circumstances, Robert felt he would be unable to commit the time needed. However, we agreed to look at it again a few months later, and sadly little had changed by time it came to move forward. Robert allowed me to use his outline and ideas for book two as a jumping on point for his replacement, but in the event I decided it was better to let whoever that was to just read the first book and take it in their own direction.
The chosen author was James Middleditch, who has written a couple of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, plus short stories for the UNIT series:
The prospect of writing for the Counter Measures
series felt quite different to my prior work on the Lethbridge-Stewart
range. I would say the tone is a bit darker and more morally complex, with the threats emerging from the behaviour of humans as much as anything from elsewhere, although influences of past invasions continue to play a big role in awakening our own worst instincts. Like Robert before me, the thought of following the narrative threads and themes of Remembrance of the Daleks
was a jaw-dropping one. Robert produced such a thrilling follow-up in Birds of Passage
, which itself left some intriguing strands dangling, that I had not one but two great stories to do justice to. The Remembrance
novelisation, rightly heralded as a late highpoint for the Target range, contains such depth in its depiction of ’60s Britain and its racial landscape. I also revisited Andrew Cartmel
’s Cat’s Cradle: Warhead
and found a shockingly prescient and familiar dystopia in what had been his speculation about the early twenty-first century. Without wanting to be too negative, it’s worth remembering how close we all are to such breakdowns in order and certainty, so I tried to channel both of their concerns and the reflective moods of their novels in writing Birds of Prey.
James jumped at the chance before any sense of trepidation could set in, and once he’d finished his reading and research, he soon had an outline to me. There were only a few changes I wanted, in keeping with the goals Andrew Cartmel and I had set out for the series.
Storyline guidance from Andy was invaluable as always, in particular in providing the geographical focus of London and a core group of characters there. Real history and locations have been interwoven into this dark parallel past, and may change the way you see the parts of the capital on your next visit; a Birds of Prey Walking Tour is certainly possible! To move further into the London-based thriller genre, I also took inspiration from the original television version of Edge of Darkness with its rain-soaked pavements and its uncanny way of suggesting an impending apocalypse in otherwise very small scale events and moments. I hope all these ingredients have come together to be a testament to some of the best writers, their characters and themes. None of us really write in isolation, and to have been in their literary company for a while has been a privilege.
Ordering details can be found on the Candy Jar website.