Monday 28 October 2013

Introducing the Alpine Dawn series

In 1847, Europe stands on the brink: of economic catastrophe, of war, of revolution - but also of a period of heroism, beauty, and wonder like no other in history. The golden age of Alpine exploration is just around the corner. The age of the mountaineer is almost upon us...

In this post I would like to introduce my readers to an exciting project I am planning. Recently I blogged about how the 1840s have become my new playground of choice. One of the main reasons I'm enthusiastic about the late 1840s is that the golden age of Alpinism is only a few years in the future, and this makes it a good subject for a mountaineering writer.

I am planning a series, which will go under the name Alpine Dawn (previously the working title of a temporarily paused novel-in-progress).

The goal of this series is at once simple but very ambitious. I want to create a panoramic, fictional account of the growth of mountaineering as a pastime in Britain and Europe. The Only Genuine Jones stands at a point in history when the Alps were already fully explored, and every British mountain had been climbed. In 1847, by contrast, the majority of Alpine peaks were completely unknown, and it is possible many Scottish mountains also awaited first ascents. This is an incredible period in the history of mountaineering, before Munro's list, before Ordnance Survey maps, before climbing guidebooks, before train travel opened up the Alps and the Highlands to the masses.


The series is not yet fully planned, but I can reveal some details today.

Book One: The Atholl Expedition
Expected publication date: Christmas 2013
SCOTLAND, 1847: Convalescence doesn't suit Professor Forbes. When one of his former students appears exhausted at his door, telling stories of murderous gamekeepers and a lost glacier in the heart of the Cairngorm mountains, he can't resist the chance for another adventure. However, he soon finds himself up against the failings of his own health and the Duke of Atholl's men, determined to find the trespasser and punish him for interfering with a very important hunt. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are staying at the castle - and Albert has an ambition to shoot the oldest and most cunning stag of the estate.

Will Forbes discover the rumoured glacier of BrĂ igh Riabhach, or will the Duke have his pound of flesh?

Book Two: Kingsley's Challenge (working title)
Expected publication date: 2014
Thomas Kingsley, a failed journalist who owes a great deal of money to some very determined men, seeks an escape from the stinking cesspit of London. He wants to begin his life anew but feels trapped - until, that is, he meets Albert Smith and his shy sister Peggy.

Smith is an Alpine explorer who turns his disaster-riddled exploits into shows for the stage. The old school of explorers consider him a charlatan. Widely known as the man who never successfully climbed Mont Blanc despite many attempts, he seeks a defining triumph to finally seal his reputation.

Professor Forbes is the world's leading authority on glaciers. He wrote the book on Alpine science, but now he is dying. He yearns for one final mountain voyage while he still has strength; a journey without end, one last attempt to solve the mystery of what lies deep beneath the ice.

Together, these unlikely companions will go through hell, revolution, poverty and storm to forge the beginning of a new age.

Book Three has not yet been planned, but will go beyond the events of 1848 and show the beginnings of the new dawn in Alpine exploration.

Remember, to get access to my books before they go on general sale, and at a lower price, please sign up to my new release mailing list. It won't be long before The Atholl Expedition is published!

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