A series of nuclear strikes has left huge swathes of the country uninhabitable. It’s a level playing field now: both Hater and Unchanged alike have to fight to stay alive. Both have retreated to their camps to regroup, less than twenty miles away from each other.
It’s here that the last major battle of the final war will inevitably be fought, but neither side has any idea what’s waiting for them just around the corner.
Both armies are ready to fight to the death, each of their leaders hell-bent on victory. Their tactics are uniformly simple: strike first, get the enemy in a chokehold, then strangle the life out of them.
It’s very bleak, very bloody, and I hope you enjoy it!
Just one week to go until CHOKEHOLD hits the shelves. Here’s the first chapter for you…
Fifteen Miles East of Cambridge
The first few enemy figures appear on the horizon, and the fighters lying in wait for them are desperate to engage, starved of conflict. It’s been too long. These fuckers have had it coming. These fuckers will be shown no mercy.
It’s taken weeks to get to this point. Every meter of mud has been fought for; every reclaimed centimeter of concrete and tarmac has been won at a cost. They’re not going to give it up now, not after all those sacrifices, all those lives lost. There’s no going back. It’s them or us.
Word of the approaching attackers spreads quickly along the front line, accompanied by a nervous tension that borders on excitement. Some of these men and women dare to dream that the bulk of the bloodshed is behind them now, that this is the last push of the final war. There’s an unspoken belief that each new bloom of violence will bring them closer to restoring some semblance of normality to what’s left of their lives.
The service station is accessed by a single road that splinters off what used to be one of the major routes into Cambridge. The main road had been midway through a massive, years-long rebuild-and-regeneration program when the war began, and here, alongside the services, lies the abandoned remains of a construction base the size of a small town. The fighters used the roadworks equipment to strengthen and fortify their position while secreting their armored vehicles and heavy weapons among the highway maintenance vans and flatbeds. Diggers were used to carve deep trenches at a distance from the main buildings, and the ballast, soil, and scree they excavated now protects the service station itself—great drifts of the stuff used to block access, strengthen walls, and camouflage metal and glass from view. Inside the building, the familiar plastic façades of long-gone restaurant chains and fast-food outlets remain, reminding people what they’ve lost. But the rawness of their pain is eased knowing that what they have here is more than almost everyone else.
As you may have heard me say previously, I’m planning a return to the world of AUTUMN next year with two new novels. My aim is that one, if not both of them will be released around October 2020 – the 10 year anniversary of the mass-market release of the first book through St Martin’s Press. There’s a lot of work to be done yet, though, so don’t hold me to that release date. You know how reliable I am with deadlines…
In readiness for the new books I’m planning a number of initiatives to raise the profile of the original novels again, and the first part of that project is now complete. Last week saw the Infected Books re-release of the German language editions of the novels, originally published by Michael Krug of Otherworldverlag. Here are the new editions. I’m very happy with how they’ve turned out.
It’s always a thrill to hold the first print copies of a book, and this one is especially cool. CHOKEHOLD is the absolute final HATER novel. It’s a sequel to both DOG BLOOD and ALL ROADS END HERE, and a prequel to THEM OR US. Oh, and it’s a bloody, violent, brutal (and surprisingly uplifting) story. Copies will be on their way to reviewers shortly. You can pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Book Depository and all the other usual sources now. The book is published by St Martin’s Press and it hits the shelves on 19 November.
I’ve got my head down working on a new novel at the moment, so things are relatively quiet around here. I thought I’d share a free story with you to keep your attention!
I released THE LAST BIG THING in January – a collection of some of my favourite of the short stories I’ve written. The collection includes a number of new stories, one of which is AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES. You can read it here.
I need to get something off my chest. Right, here goes… I once took literary inspiration from E L James, author of the unfeasibly popular Fifty Shades series. I don’t mean to offend fans of Fifty Shades with that comment, but you have to admit, those books are unfeasibly popular. Something like 150 million copies sold? That’s incredible.
So, on one hand, it’s hats off to Ms James, because she’s found a formula people clearly like and she’s sticking to it. You could argue that I’ve done exactly the same (though I do at least try to experiment – the book I’m currently writing is nothing like anything I’ve released previously). On the other hand, though, from what I understand of the books in the second Fifty Shades series, they’re pretty much a scene for scene rehashes of the first, just with the internal thoughts of an impressionable young student replaced with those of a complete fucking pervert.
And I’m claiming I was inspired by this series? Let me explain…
I’ve said before that the second HATER trilogy came as a result of discussions I’d had with Ed Barratt, producer of the upcoming HATER movie, about a potential TV adaptation. The original books were told exclusively from Danny McCoyne’s perspective, and whilst that worked well on paper, it would have been hard going on screen. A TV series would need to dive deeper and fill in the blanks, following different characters and situations to ramp up the drama and keep the viewers’ interest. And for a while I was struggling to work out how I would do that.
I won’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil things for those who haven’t yet read the other novels, but CHOKEHOLD deals with a whole new chapter in the overall HATER story. It takes place in the aftermath of DOG BLOOD and ALL ROADS END HERE and, in many ways, is also a prequel to THEM OR US. More familiar characters will be returning, and I think you’re really going to like it. Especially the fact that this is the first time… No. Shut up, Moody. I’m not saying anything else. You’ll just have to wait and see.