Friday, January 18, 2008

My novels #16: Twilight of the Dead

FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: Twilight of the Dead [Black Flame, 2006]

The final chapter in this terrifying trilogy

April, 1945: Retreating German troops mount a valiant rearguard action against the mighty Red Army. It is only a matter of time before Berlin falls, especially as the Rumanian vampyr haveswitched sides to be allies with the Russian forces. German soldiers Hans and Rolf Vollmer know the war is lost, but they believe something more important is at stake.

Unless Lord Constanta and his undead army are stopped, the vampyr plan to enslave all humans will successd. Soldiers from each side must put aside their mutual hatred to target the true enemy: Constanta and his vampyr. As for the war for Europe reaches its brutal climax, a bloody fight for the future of all mankind is about to begin!


I was feeling pretty punchy by the time I wrote this book, at the back end of 2005. It was my ninth novel completed in 27 months. Before joining the Black Flame roster of authors, I'd only been writing one novel a year - now I was writing four. PLus I'd just started my screenwriting MA course, was also working on the Sarah Jane Smith audio dramas and grud knows what else. I was getting burnt out.

Twilight of the Dead probably suffered a little as a consequence, though I think it holds together. This book was the culmination of everything set up in the first two novels of the trilogy. The survivors from the first two tomes - fighters from opposite sides of the Eastern Front conflict - are forced to work together to stop Constanta launching a war of blood against all mankind.

When I was first pitching the trilogy, I had a strong idea of the first novel's plot, plus a setting and approach for the second. I sold the third novel by describing the climatic sequence, an outrageous moment involving a gigantic flying vampyr bat and a silver tipped V1 rocket. Then I had to work backwards and pull together all the plot strands and character arcs to make that climax credible.

Most readers seemed satisfied with this, the last book of the Fiends trilogy. I continued with the first person narrative style that had served me so well in its predecessor, though the multi-stranded storyline meant the narrative approach was much harder to pull off. Twilight of the Dead can be quite hard to find as a standalone novel, but the omnibus that collects the trilogy is still in print, I think.

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