One Night in Sixes Jani and the Greater Game Deadly Curiosities The Way To Babylon Reach for Infinity The Raven's Banquet
World of Fire Solaris Rising 3 The Fire Prince Nyctophobia Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy Wakening the Crow
Greetings friends, Romans and other forms of sentient life - it's been awhile, hasn't it? It's been a busy few months at Solaris' Secret HQ - and here are just a few of our personal highlights:

Gail Z. Martin Storms the UK

The wonderful Gail has been over on our shores signing copies of Deadly Curiosities around the country, as well as somehow finding time to put us all to shame by visiting what appears to be every single castle in the UK, Paris, The Doctor Who experience AND The Making of Harry Potter. 
Because we're one big genre family Gail was naturally joined and supported by a whole gaggle of Solaris authors - check out some pictures of them all in action.
A night of SFF in Cardiff with Gareth
Powell, Lou Morgan & Gail Z Martin
Gail Z Martin Forbidden Planet launch
(with Gaie Sebold)

Arianne 'Tex' Thompson officially achieves world domination of the internet

One Night in Sixes released last month amidst a one woman mission by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson to be everywhere - and by gosh she pulled it off. In case you missed any of the 12 days of launchmaus here's a quick round up of our favourite links for you:

Day One: Creating Cultures with Tex Thompson on The Kingdoms of Evil Podcast 
Day Two: An interview with The Qwillery
Day Three: Something Strange Happened on the Way to the NYT Bestsellers List: Fantasy Author Arianne “Tex” Thompson
Day Four: The Freshwater Fishmen of Tucumcari, New Mexico via Erin M. Hartshorn
Day Five: Tex was a panelist at ArmadilloCon
Day Six: The Author Visits presents Tex Thomspon
Day Seven: Tex Thompson on Finding the Love in 1-Star Reviews via Dan Kobolt
Day Eight: My Bookish Ways interviews Arianne 'Tex' Thompson
Day Nine: Arianne 'Tex' Thompson's Big Idea on John Scalzi's blog
Day Ten: Part Two of Arianne 'Tex' Thompson on The Author Visits
Day Eleven: Spotlight post on Rhona Eudaly
Day Twelve: The Official Launch Party

You may not believe this, but Tex has been up to even more than just this; check out her website for more:

The Nine Worlds Forbidden Planet signing table schedule was released

Nine Worlds takes place in the Radisson Blu Edwardian convention hotel at Heathrow, London, from 8-10 August 2014. It’s about gaming, film, cosplay, fandom, literature, science, geek culture, meeting people and having a really big party - find out more today.

We attended LFCC

London Film & Comic Con took place back in June at Earls Court and we gatecrashed our friends at Ravenstone Press and 2000 AD comics to join them on stand with a few of our authors. 

We had some new publishing!
Both Jani and the Greater Game and One Night in Sixes came out in July. Stay tuned for some more coverage of these shortly! 
Amazon: UK | US
Amazon: UK | US

“It’s a strange thing, nyctophobia. You’re not born with it. It can start at any time. It comes and goes, and it’s one of the only phobias you can transmit to other people.”

Newly-married architect Callie and her wealthy husband Mateo move to Hyperion House, a grand old home in southern Spain. It’s an eccentric place built in front of a cliff: serene and beautiful, but eerily symmetrical, and cunningly styled so that half the house is flooded with light, and half – locked up and neglected – is shrouded in darkness. Unemployed and feeling isolated in a foreign country, Callie determines to research the history of the curious building.

But the past is sometimes best left alone. Uncovering the folklore of the house’s strange history, Callie is drawn into darkness and delusion. As a teenager Callie was afraid of the dark, and now with her adolescent nyctophobia returning she becomes convinced there’s someone in the darkened rooms.

Somewhere in the darkness lies the truth about Hyperion House.

UK cover
US cover

Nychtophobia is out in the UK October 9th and the US October 28th.
Pre-order today: UK | US

These beautiful covers were created by our incredibly talented artist Pye Parr. You can find out more about the process of making them over on his blog now

You can even follow him on twitter if such is your want.

Do you have a favourite of the two covers? Let us know in the comments or @solarisbooks

Check back soon where some of the Rebellion team will be sharing their deepest, darkest fears in a cheap form of therapy masquerading under the disguise of marketing - feel free to send us yours too, if you dare...
It's finally here! Deadly Curiosities is now available in all good book shops State-side, and of course on amazon in both print and for the kindle

Deadly Curiosities author Gail Z. Martin will be holding the launch party on Facebook today (June 25th) from 10:30 ET (that's 3:30pm for UK folks) - join her and host of fellow authors for some Q&A sessions, competitions and exclusive Deadly Curiosities downloadable freebies! Head over and say hi!

Want to know what all the hype is about? Check out just some of the lovely things people have been saying: 

Publishers Weekly: “Martin (the Ascendant Kingdoms saga) weaves together fact, fiction, and the supernatural to create a realistic underworld for modern Charleston, S.C”

Beauty in Ruins: “Familiar, accessible, and enjoyable, Deadly Curiosities is the kind of book to have serious crossover appeal for urban fantasy and horror readers alike.”

Red Star Reviews“Let me start by saying this book was awesome! Very engrossing right from the start! I’ve enjoyed every Gail Z Martin book I’ve read and Deadly Curiosities is no exception to this!” 

Book review by Charlotte“This story is full of action. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I can see this story as a major motion picture full of action and adventure.”

Books Boones & Buffy: “An atmospheric tale filled with fascinating historical details, a protagonist with a very cool ability, and lots of scary ghosts and shadowy corners."

Fiction Vortex“Martin is clearly in her element when bringing the ghosts of Charleston to life. Cassidy’s investigation is peppered with the stories of pirates and smugglers whose deaths are tied to the evil threatening the city. I’ll admit, I’m a big fan of ghost stories and I loved the touch of character Martin gave to her haunts.”

She hearts books:“This is one of those books you just can't put down until you're finished reading.”

The Book Adventures: “The world-building, the setting, the characters, the relationships have depths to them that make this a complex and very interesting urban fantasy novel.”

Not yet read“Gail Z. Martin does an excellent job painting vivid scenes, her suspense and fight scenes are amazing and her characters charming. I can’t wait for more!”

Sci-Fi Fan Letter: “a fun start to a new series”

Wicked Scribe: “The villains are delightfully evil, the crimes are horrific and you get pulled into the motivation to find and stop this paranormal killer before things get even worse.”

I smell sheep: “The characters are wonderful making me want to get to know them and kept me turning the pages to find out just what was happening and where it would all end up.”

Much loved books: “I found myself emotionally invested in the outcome of each one, even the dog, and when they were facing the badest, strongest, entity, I was so nervous, I had butterflies in my stomach worried over what would happen to them. Deadly Curiosities is a great combination of paranormal and mystery…”

Gizmo’s Reviews: “If you like kick ass action at every turn, and the unknown whether the characters will all survive or not, then please read Deadly Curiosities and give the finger to publishers who say that UF is dead and gone.”

A Bibliophile’s Reverie: “This novel felt like a shiny twist between Warehouse 13 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” 4/5 stars

Love Fantasy More: “If you’re looking for a nice summer ghost mystery, Deadly Curiosities is a great book for you. And if you like procedural type books, you may even love it more than I did!”

Elder Park BookReviews“the characters were rich and fleshed out and [there was] plenty of new takes on supernatural powers to keep this novel innovative.”

Caffeinated BookReviewer: “An old school urban fantasy with a Warehouse 13 vibe, this tale was action packed. Filled with magic, supernatural creatures and possessed objects. I quickly consumed this and look forward to reading more.”

Bibliosanctum: “I do hope she has plans to continue expanding Cassidy’s story as well, because this was a lot of fun. I would return to Charleston and Trifles & Folly in a heartbeat.”

The Book Adventures: “A fast-paced, suspenseful and sometimes creepy story, this book brings paranormal closer to horror and further from fantasy, and was a welcome change from the tropes that pervade the sub-genre.”

Missing Volume: “Good world building and the huge plus for me is there is no romance building the background between the characters.  I'll be looking for more books in this series.”

Ponderings of Psyche: “Dark Curiosities brought up fresh ideas and mixed it with the old ones, making a perfect blend of read that will certainly not fail the expectations of the readers of urban fantasy.”

Dab of Darkness: “This was a fast-paced urban fantasy with a twist: antiques. So, lots of history was tossed into the mix, and I loved it.”

Mixed Book Bag: Deadly Curiosities has just the right blend of paranormal and mystery and a great start to a new series.”

Doctor’s Notes: “The book was fast paced so I flew through it with ease and was fully invested in it.”

Tome Tender: Deadly Curiosities is a fun, unique and interesting story with marvellous possibilities for what might come next.”

Are you a reviewer or blogger interested in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror or Alternative YA & Children's Fiction? If you'd like to receive advance title information and review copies, as well as opportunities for guest blogs and interviews with our authors contact us at Please include information about the site or publication you review for, any genre preferences and your preferred contact name and email. 

You can also check out our current list of eARCs available via netgalley now

‘DRM Free since 2006!’ It falls some way short of being a sexy headline, but how do you compete with other publishers apparently news-worthy headlines about going DRM-free in 2014, when it’s been 8 years since Rebellion took that decision?

Rebellion Publishing may not be one of the instantly recognisable names in the UK book trade, but for fifteen years we've been the home of the British institution 2000 AD, and first published our perennially bestselling graphic novel collection, Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01 back in 2005 (we publish volume 23 this summer). The following year we founded our first fiction imprint Abaddon Books. And in those pre-Kindle, pre-Twitter days, when digital rights management was something most publishers assumed was a music industry issue, Rebellion also started selling digital files for download with no DRM.

How was it that we took the step that most digitally-savvy publishers came to many years later? We had one big advantage, Rebellion is also a tech company, one of the leading computer games developers and publishers in the UK (our latest, Sniper Elite III, is out at the end of June). Our founders and owners Jason and Chris Kingsley understood how important ownership was for a digital consumer, how being able to buy something and keep it was a vital part of the trust relationship between publisher and reader, and gamer. You bought the digital copy? Well that’s yours to keep forever, and not just until you change device or operating system. It can be put  like this: we value the support of legitimate customers more than we hate the activity of people who steal from us.

In the years since 2006 we've acquired the SF imprint Solaris books; begun simultaneous publishing in the UK and North America; launched the children’s and YA literature imprint Ravenstone; started our standalone ebook shop to go alongside; and have seen our books feature on the best-seller lists time and time again.

So, as a leading publisher of comics and genre fiction in the UK it’s great to have had Tor and others join us in the DRM-free world. The others will be along soon, we're sure.

Gail at BEA 2014
Gail Z. Martin will be joining team Solaris this summer for a whirlwind tour of our fair Isles, and because we were bought up properly we'd like to share the good times with you... So please do check out the below and add a date (or two) to your diary and come along to get your copy of Deadly Curiosities signed.


23rd (Weds) - Forbidden Planet, London HQ
Deadly Curiosities Launch Party!
Gail will be meeting, greeting and signing copies of Deadly Curiosities from 6 - 7pm 
(keep an eye on the Solaris twitter feed for details of a post-signing meet up nearby too)

31st (Thur) - Waterstones, Cardiff the Hayes
Bumper author party! Gail will be joining  Ack Ack Macaque author Gareth Powell and Blood and Feathers author Lou Morgan for mega-signathon:
Gareth and Lou will be signing from 5:30pm and Gail from 6:30pm


1st (Fri) - Waterstones, Edinburgh
Gail will be doing a stock signing, watch out on the twitter feed for updates on when you can catch her in action closer to the day.

Plus, because we don't like to leave anyone out you can virtually hang out with Gail (as well as plethora of other lovely authors) on US launch day! Join Gail and co at the Facebook launch party on Wednesday 25th June from 10:30 am to 10:30pm EST (those outside of EST can find out your local time here) where she will be answering questions, giving away free goodies and offering you the chance to win e-copies of Deadly Curiosities. There are rumours the party may spill out across reddit and goodreads, and with a line up like the one below we think those rumours will probably be true:

10:30 – 11 Gail Z. Martin
11 – 11:30 Pip Ballantine
11:30 – Noon Chris Verstrate
Noon – 12:30 Trisha Wooldridge
12:30 – 1 John Hartness
1-1:30 Leona Wisoker
1:30 – 2 Keith DeCandido
2-2:30 Cynthia Ward
2:30 – 3 Jim Lavene
3 – 3:30 Gail Z. Martin
3:30 – 4 Jennifer Brozek
4-4:30 Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate
4:30 – 5 Tricia Barr
4-5:30 Clockwork Universe
5:30 – 6 Athena’s Daughters 
5:50—Gail Z. Martin—giveaway announcement
6-6:30 TBC
6:30 – 7 Kim Richardson
7-7:30 Tera Fulbright
7:30 – 8 Danielle Ackley-McPhail
8-8:30 Stuart Jaffe
8:30 – 9 James Maxey
9-9:30 Natasha Rhodes
9:30 – 10:30 Gail Z. Martin

Add it to your Facebook calendar now.
Why write an urban fantasy series after three successful epic fantasy series? Because it’s fun.
(P.S. That’s the same reason I’ll be writing a steampunk series for 2015, too.)

Truth is, a lot of the same interests run between my epic and urban fantasy. Scratch the surface, and find a history major and museum geek.

Plunk me down in a major city with time to kill, and I’ll find the museums. (Heck, I’ll find them in a minor city if you give me time.) And yes, I read the plaques underneath the objects, even when I’ve got the audio tour. I love discovering cool old stuff, weird objects, creepy funeral customs, and pretty things from the past.

In Deadly Curiosities, my main character Cassidy can read the history and strong memories/magic imprinted on an object. I don’t claim that ability, but I do have a wild imagination, and more often than not, I can close my eyes and feel the past around me. (Note: I avoid doing that when touring places like the Tower of London.)

While Deadly Curiosities happens in modern-day Charleston, SC, it’s a storyline steeped in the past. “Buttons” was the short story I wrote for Solaris’s award-winning Magic: The Esoteric and Arcane anthology (and reprinted this year in the British Fantasy Society’s Unexpected Journeys anthology). It was a contemporary story with the characters you’ll meet in the novel. But before that, I had written short stories in the Deadly Curiosities world spanning the 1500’s and 1700’s for other anthologies.

Sorren, my nearly six hundred year-old vampire, is the thread of continuity through all the stories. In Vanities (originally published in the British Fantasy Society’s The Bitten Word), we see Sorren’s first job for the Alliance, battling a demon in Antwerp in 1565. I’ve written two other stand-alone short stories that follow up on Vanities: Wild Hunt and Dark Legacy, that show more of Sorren’s origins, tell the story of his maker, Alard, and hint at the creation of the Alliance.

The very first story about Trifles and Folly, the antique shop in Deadly Curiosities, appeared in the Rum and Runestones anthology and was set in the 1770’s, just before the American Revolution. The anthology prompt required pirates and magic, which is what Steer a Pale Course delivers. That story was popular enough to get me invited back to the Spells and Swashbucklers anthology, with The Low Road. Then Marie O’Regan tapped me for The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women, and Among the Shoals Forever was born.

Sorren’s past is Old World—Europe and old gods and ancient monsters. His maker battled Viking warriors and gained the help of a Norse Seior. A hundred years later, Sorren travels to Charleston to set up Trifles and Folly in 1663, forging a long-standing arrangement with one of Cassidy’s ancestors.

I know that Europe has phone booths older than anything we’ve got here in the States, but Charleston is one of our oldest cities. Unlike New Orleans, Charleston hasn’t been heavily used for urban fantasy, which made it a fresh location with much of the same charm and danger. Charleston, like New Orleans, has a very prominent European connection, and when you walk its cobblestone streets, you can feel in your bones the truth of Faulkner’s quote: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”

As in New Orleans, the younger sons of European gentry came to Charleston to make their way. Men with service to the crown received land grants and set up sprawling plantations. Fortunes were won and lost. And while Charleston is known as the “Holy City” for its hundreds of churches, beneath that piety ran rivers of blood in brothels, duels and slavery.

Look beyond the beautiful mansions and gardens heavy with bougainvillea, Spanish moss and gardenia, and you’ll find the tragedy of the slave trade.  Charleston was part of the “Triangle Trade” with the Caribbean—molasses, rum and slaves. By some accounts, the majority of slaves in the U.S. came through Charleston Harbor. Those slaves brought their beliefs with them, religions that melded and changed to create the Voodoo of New Orleans and the Hoodoo of the Lowcountry.  Charleston’s past rests uneasily, not far below the surface.

While New Orleans has always embraced its wild side, Charleston opted for repressed propriety. But like a convention of accountants in Las Vegas, even the proper folks have to let loose sometime, and Charleston’s back alleys were the place for indulgence. Duels were fought. Pirates were by turn welcomed and shunned in Charleston depending on the benefit to the city’s fathers. Blackbeard himself blockaded the city in 1718. The city’s history is full bad boys and wild girls.

I’m very excited about Deadly Curiosities and the chance to spin tales about haunted objects, dark magical items and cursed heirlooms. And I’m thrilled to be working on the second book in the Deadly Curiosities series for 2015 with even more thrills and chills.

If you want more of Cassidy, Sorren and Teag right away, check out my free novella on The Final Death. Coffin Box and Wicked Dreams also continue the adventures of Cassidy and her team, and you can find them with my other ebook short stories on Kindle, Kobo and Nook.

Cassidy and crew will be turning up in a couple more anthologies this year. Retribution, an all-new Deadly Curiosities adventure, is featured in the Athena’s Daughters anthology by Silence in the Library Publishing. The Restless Dead will be in the Realms of Imagination anthology from Dark Oak Books.

So the next time you pick up that family heirloom, pay attention if your fingers tingle or you catch a glimpse of something that isn’t there. Cassidy can tell you, the past may be gone, but it doesn’t stay buried.

I’ll be celebrating the launch of Deadly Curiosities the whole week of June 22-29 with more than 30 different guest blog posts, a Facebook launch party featuring prizes, guest authors and surprises, podcasts, three different excerpts, a Reddit give-away/AskMeAnything and a Goodreads party/give-away. Get all the details at, follow me on or on Twitter @GailZMartin!

I’ll be signing Deadly Curiosities in major cities across the U.S. and in England, Wales and Scotland this summer—the full book tour schedule is on my website, so please stop by and say hello!

About the Author
Gail Z. Martin writes epic and urban fantasy, steampunk and short stories. She is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle series and the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series of epic fantasy books, as well as the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy world and coming in 2015, Iron and Blood, a Steampunk novel, co-written with Larry N. Martin. Gail is a frequently contributor to US and UK anthologies. She also writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and She leads monthly conversations on Goodreads and posts free excerpts of her work on Wattpad  An original novella set in the Deadly Curiosities universe, The Final Death, is available free on Wattpad here:

A round up of coverage of Rebellion Publishing titles across the Solaris, Abaddon and Ravenstone imprints.


REACH FOR INFINITY – ED Jonathan Strahan

“the best anthology of original short science fiction to come out in the last few years” 


“I found myself emotionally invested in the outcome of each one, even the dog, and when they were facing the badest, strongest, entity, I was so nervous, I had butterflies in my stomach worried over what would happen to them. Deadly Curiosities is a great combination of paranormal and mystery…” 
“Let me start by saying this book was awesome! Very engrossing right from the start! I’ve enjoyed every Gail Z Martin book I’ve read and Deadly Curiosities is no exception to this!” 
“…a refreshing lack of interpersonal and sexual drama will appeal to longtime fans of paranormal mysteries.”

Included in: “The Most Astounding Must-Read Science Fiction And Fantasy Books In June” 


 “Fast-paced, with a strong voice and compelling characters, Shanghai Sparrow is marvellously entertaining—although at points it gets a touch dark.” 

RAVEN’S BANQUET – Clifford Beal

“Frankly, this is a stunning book in many ways, not least in the telling. However, don't expect anything light-hearted - this is about tragedy, on so many levels, than deliverance.” 

GRUNT LIFE – Weston Ochse

“Grunt Life is a military science fiction novel with all the bells and whistles.”


FIEFDOM – Dan Abnett & Nik Vincent 

“Abnett is a master of fast-paced cinematic action. His world building is as strong as always and this particular setting benefits from a shift to the medium of the novel. We get a more in-depth understanding of what has happened to the world and these little bits of information never fail to entertain. Fiefdom is a solid read and fans will lap this up and that is, as the Aux put it “truer than true.” 

Netgalley now available.

JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR – Malcom Cross, C B Harvey & Adrian Tchaikovsky 


Netgalley now available.

UPRISING – Sarah Cawkwell

“Uprising is a strong start to what we hope will be an ongoing series, Heirs of the Demon King. The book does an excellent job of painting a rich and entertaining fantasy world and we look forward to seeing more.” 



“By turns very funny, very scary and always thrilling, this is an incredible return to YA for Siegel. Brilliant five star entertainment.” 

Following the announcement of this year's British Fantasy Awards nominations over the weekend Solaris Books are delighted to reveal that we are jointly topping the list with Jo Fletcher Books. 

Solaris authors have been nominated across the following three categories:

Best Fantasy Novel (the Robert Holdstock Award)
Blood and Feathers: Rebellion, Lou Morgan (Solaris)

Best Anthology
End of the Road, Jonathan Oliver (ed.) (Solaris)

Best Newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award)
Libby McGugan, for The Eidolon (Solaris)

The award winners will be announced at FantasyCon 2014, which takes place in York from September 5 - 7th. 

Solaris would also like to congratulate Joey Hi-Fi on his nomination for Best Artist. Joey recently won the BSFA award for best cover artwork for Dream London and, in honour of this further recognition, we are delighted to exclusively reveal that the cover for sequel Dream Paris by Tony Ballantyne will once again feature exquisite cover art from Joey Hi-Fi:

You can check out the full list of nominees over on the British Fantasy Society's  webpage now

A huge congratulations from everyone at Solaris to this year's nominees - we look forward to raising a toast to the winners in September.

Following on from last week's US release we have the UK...

Out now: Paul Kearney's The Way to Babylon

This new edition of Kearney's classic debut novel features exclusive artwork from the incredibly talented artist Pye Parr (who shares the creative story here).

Paul Kearney joined us on the Solaris blog last week to talk about the genesis of The Way to Babylon; if you haven't done so already head over now and check it 

Out now: Reach for Infinity (edited by Jonathan Strahan)

The next Infinity is finally here! What happens when humanity reaches out into the vastness of space?

The brightest names in SF contribute new, original fiction to this fantastic from master editor Jonathan Strahan. We are not worthy.

To celebrate the release of Reach for Infinity we are throwing an anthology sale party. Head over to the Rebellion Store RIGHT NOW where you can pick up eBook versions of some of our finest anthologies across SF, fantasy and Horror for just £3 - phew!

For me, the soundtrack to writing The Way to Babylon is Jethro Tull – not Songs from the Wood, as you might expect, but just the single track, Wondrin’ Aloud, the lyrics of which gave me great pain for all those years (and they weren’t that many, when I look back on them), when I was young, single, and so romantically involved with myself and the idea of writing, and what it took to be a writer, that I might just as well have chucked it all in and become a monk. 

I mean – sharing toast on a bed? (Tull fans here will know exactly what I am talking about.) It was for me the Olympus of personal romantic endeavour. But at the same time I had this inflated idea of what the ideal woman would be, and I was yearning hard to meet her. Real yearning my friends and colleagues – real hard yearning.

(Well, dear reader, I did meet her, but unfortunately for you, that happened outside the scope of this little prurient aside into my past – suffice to say that I’m still meeting her every morning, twenty-three years after that initial, somewhat startled realisation that I had found a beautiful woman who was as in love with toast as I was. So let’s move on.)

Ahem. So back in my sordid, yearning early twenties, I managed to liberate myself from my hormones long enough to go climbing mountains now and again.  I went up to Scotland, where all the real mountains are, (no offence to Snowdonia, every one of whose 3K peaks I once climbed in thirty six hours, and a tip of the hat to Snowdon itself, which I once climbed in the middle of the night, pissed off my skull, and actually scrambled up through a waterfall after going off the path, laughing insanely – ah, youth.) 

Not that impressive, I know. But I upped my ambitions, and trailed north, led by a very humane institution, British Rail, which every February in those years let you book a return ticket from anywhere to anywhere (if you were a student), for the grand total of £10. Now there’s a little foible of Nationalisation I would love to see back. (The rest you can keep.)

So I thought – Skye. They have mountains on Skye, and in all the pictures, they look pretty much like Middle Earth.  (In those days, hard though it is to believe, very few people had heard of Middle-Earth. Those who had met in darkened corners to talk in whispers about Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons, and generally speaking got ignored and despised by their fellows. But that was all right, because the ignorers and despisers were pretty much a bunch of asshole and failures, as it turned out... I know – sometimes fate rewards the meek, the patient and the nerds.

I had very little experience of winter climbing, but when I got there, the Cuillin Mountains on Skye were buried pretty damn deep in snow. I had taken the precaution of borrowing an ice-axe from the mountaineering society back in bucolic old Oxford, but I had no crampons. I was a lonely bloody-minded Irishman – but so was Shackleton, I told myself as I began climbing.

Actually, I wasn’t climbing, I was walking, and then scrambling. The higher I got, the more I realised what an idiot I was. I was wearing worn army boots, and in the days before mobile phones, nobody knew where I was, and the weather was worsening. 

When I fell, I was barely surprised.  

Ever woken up to find snow settling on your face? It’s rather beautiful. But it scared the hell out of me – from the depths of my adolescent stupidity, a lance had just seared out of the real world and punctured my bloated, youthful self-esteem.  

Back down I came, in showers of snow I like now to fondly look back on as a blizzard. I was very sore, and I carried the bruises for many weeks (and to be fair, they went down a storm once I was back at Oxford – pun intended.)  But I had broken no bones (well, looking back now, I think I probably had a few ribs cracked – the pain plagued me for weeks afterwards), and I was hale and hearty and extremely ready to get on with life.

But I couldn't quite shake the pictures and notions that my time on Skye had invoked in my mind.

And I guess that’s why I wrote the book.

About a guy who falls off a mountain. On Skye.

There’s a lot more to it, of course, but that was the genesis of it, in a nutshell.

Paul Kearney's The Way to Babylon is out now in the US in paperback, for the kindle and of course in eBook format directly from the Rebellion store

Publishing in the UK and Rest of World on June 5th: pre-order it today.