Friday, 20 February 2015

Work in Progress Blog Tour — The Invisible Path

I've been nominated by Lucas Bale to participate in a work in progress blog tour. Lucas Bale is an author I've welcomed to my blog before, and it's been my privilege to work with him recently on the No Way Home anthology (coming out March 2nd, more information here). Lucas writes compelling science fiction and if you have any interest in the genre you really ought to check out his books. Each new one is better than the last, and if the teaser on his blog tour post is anything to go by, A Shroud of Night and Tears will be the best yet.

Here are the rules guidelines of the blog tour.

1. Link back to the post of the person who nominated you. Here's Lucas's post.
2. Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work in progress.
3. Nominate some other writers to do the same.

My work in progress: The Invisible Path (Alpine Dawn II)

Chamouni in the early 19th century
The second novel of my Alpine Dawn cycle has been gestating for a very long time now, but in recent months I have made significant progress and am currently almost 50,000 words into a rough draft. The year is 1848 and many of the characters from The Atholl Expedition return to follow an elusive quest that takes them from the hills of Deeside to the high Alps.

Albert Smith
Albert Smith makes his debut in this novel. Smith is a hack writer, journalist, stage showman and would-be Alpine explorer, but he has repeatedly failed to climb Mont Blanc and seeks a fresh challenge. When he discovers the story of the Pégremont, a legendary mountain of ice rumoured to exist somewhere in the wilderness between Chamouni and Zermatt, he becomes obsessed with the hunt for the peak. The Pégremont myth is a sinister tale involving loss, bloodshed and treachery — and it extends back into the last decades of the 18th century, when the great explorer and philosopher H.B. de Saussure first turned his gaze on the glaciers of the Alps.

Professor James Forbes, the Scottish geologist who stars in The Atholl Expedition, returns in this adventure. He has a very personal connection with the Pégremont tragedy. Besides, his professional curiosity is provoked by the rumour of a mountain of ice that may be navigated beneath its surface. An expedition could provide the evidence he needs to complete his grand unified theory of glaciology.

As events move towards the 1850s, the actions of these characters begin to lay the foundations for the great wave of exploration that will later become known as the Golden Age of Alpinism.

1. Prelude — August 1832 — The Mer de Glace, Chamouni, Territory of Savoy

'I can see something down there. A coat — perhaps a coat!'

'Do not be absurd, Monsieur. Nobody has been here for twenty years.'

'Lower me some more, Couttet.'

James Forbes gripped the rope with both hands as his guide lowered him in jerks and stops into the abyss. The fibres quickly froze to his bare skin. After the heat of the glacier's surface, up there in the open sun, it was a refreshing sensation — but he knew that soon the cold would work its way beneath his layers of woollen clothing, probing and teasing, sapping his warmth.

2. Chapter 1 — June 1848 — Montmartre, Paris

A brick crashed through Smith's hotel room window. He woke instantly, groped for his pocket-watch, but the reflected sunlight from the courtyard blinded him. Of only two facts could he be certain: first, that he had overslept; and second, that this was Paris, his second home — but an exceedingly dangerous place for an Englishman at this precise moment.

3. Chapter 2 — June 1848 — The Île de la Cité, Paris

Smith very deliberately did not believe in destiny. He had written articles on the subject, satirising those who believed they had a calling, or who read great significance into chance encounters or coincidences. Life is complicated enough, he had written for The Comic Almanack some years ago, without believing cosmic forces direct our steps and set out a path that we must follow. One advises the intelligent reader to take responsibility for his actions before ascribing events to the work of the Almighty.

My onward nominations

To continue the blog tour, I would like to nominate the following authors.

Stuart Ayris writes a variety of literary and historical fiction, and I have found his books weird, wonderful, and heart-warming. Tollesbury Time Forever is of particular note and quite simply defies description.

Michael Brookes is an author who specialises in the genres of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. His Third Path Trilogy features a mind-reading psychopath as a main character, and it was recently my pleasure to edit the third book in the series, The Last True Demon. It's epic stuff.
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