JPC’s Sound of 2014

Yup… It’s New Year again and that means its time for the annual ‘JPC’s Sound of…’ that thing where I run through the songs that I’ve been listening too throughout the year… Last year was an odd year full of motivational songs for some reason but I’m pleased to say that this year things are a lot less motivational… Though no less diverse, odd and downright inexplicable! Enjoy.

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A Christmas Adventure!

Right… I’ve got an idea for a video… No wait, hang on… What’s this thing? That’s a much better idea… Where’s my Patrick Troughton puppet? In the drawer with the others… Cool. Now which DVDs do I want to use for this? Those? Brilliant! Let’s get started… And just when I want to begin some workmen show up in a big lorry and start making as much noise as possible. And from the looks of things they might around for a couple of days so fuck it… Let’s go on an adventure instead. Hey! There’s the christmas markets in Manchester… That could be fun right? Lets go!

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STOP THE CAVALRY…

At the start of the year I finished and released the second volume of my epic sci-fi series, Dark Legend. And so, quite naturally, I began to work on the third volume. I started by filling in a gap that was present in the original version- A gap that introduced two important characters in the forms of Dast Sayeff and Hailey Nobel. I intended their introductions to be two short stories, the first about how Dast met Will, Joe and Doug whilst they were behind enemy lines and the second as to what was going on when Hailey joined. The first story was written as planned but the second story… As I wrote I found myself fleshing it out more and more, adding in more development and giving extra life to a story that was only supposed to be ten thousand words long. Eventually, when I finished, I had a full length novel. This christmas that novel, including the short story, has landed- STOP THE CAVALRY.

Cavalry¬†¬† We pick up where Volume 2 left off (but don’t worry about reading the previous two volumes, you can still jump straight in and everything will make perfect sense). Across the globe humanity has fallen, replaced by the rabid and feral Graffe abominations, but in Britain hope still remains. The legacy of Will Fleming, the one man determined to defeat the Graffe at all costs, lives on and a violent civil war rages between those who wish to carry on the work of the legend and exterminate the Graffe and those who support the abominations. And the military top brass have come up with an idea to turn the war in their favour… Take an ambitious but failed plan from the second world war and try again… Remount Operation Market Garden, on the River Mersey!

Will and his squad find themselves thrown headlong into this ludicrous scheme, a scheme they know is almost certain to fail. And they’re in the worst place possible: Seven miles from the next bridge and trapped on the wrong side of the most dangerous town in all the country with no communications and little chance of rescue- Runcorn. But in the midst of the maelstrom they make an alarming discovery. Not all about the war is as it seems and the squad soon discover that they have a new and dangerous enemy, an enemy who sits deep not only within their own military, but of the opposing human army as well…

Stop the Cavalry is an adrenaline fuelled, action packed thrill ride full of deadly gun battles, horrific monsters, explosions, death, destruction and jaw dropping excitement set against the magnificent, war torn backdrop of the Mersey valley. Most of all it is the story of one small squad of soldiers thrust into a war which they soon learn is more hellish than any other in history… It’s about how soldiers and the people they fight against aren’t so different, its about how the real enemy of war is not always the opposing side, how sometimes it can be the people we trust the most who are our biggest foe. It is a book full of action, yes, but it is also very funny and at times deeply moving and sad as the true horrors of war are laid bare for all to see.

Will Morfasson; legendary warrior, leader of men and rampant manwhore. Depicted here as he appears in Stop The Cavalry.

Squadron Commander, Charismatic Hero, Legend… Will Morfasson, main protagonist of Stop the Cavalry

But through all the action and the laughs and the pathos, what really makes this book are the characters- Will, the charismatic and headstrong squadron commander, now living under an assumed identity after nearly being killed in the last volume. Throughout the book we see him gradually fall for new squadmate Hailey, a bright and determined catholic school drop out with an astonishing set of fighting skills but who is, nevertheless, unprepared for what she will face in Runcorn. Lydia and Doug are back, as is Joe, whose bully boy attitude has now reached new heights thanks to his unhealthy relationship with Lydia and his animosity towards Dast. And they’re backed up by a parade of brilliantly life-like supporting characters; the pompously flawed Major Gordon Visco, eager to jump into the action Miles Singer and Wilson, an enemy defector whose arrival in the squad causes a little bit of trouble. We see them, throughout the book, battle not only against their foes but with themselves. We see Will struggle with his feelings for Hailey and keeping his squad in order. We see his friendship with Joe straining as he tries to prevents he and Dast from getting around each others throats. We see Lydia, exposed to horrors that will personally change her forever. And I suppose too you could see the Mersey as a character, both friend and foe in equal measure, turning¬† from gentle and peaceful to a raging monstrosity whilst her banks are split asunder by the destruction of war. No one comes out of this unaffected and the consequences of what happens in Runcorn reverberate across the land, changing everything.

One thing I was extraordinarily concious of whilst writing this book was the weight of all the great war stories and movies behind me… The obvious one was A Bridge Too Far (and the original Operation Market Garden). Inevitably comparisons will be made but I knew from the start that this story had to be its own beast. Indeed, thanks to the superb characters and the way in which I was able to shape the story around the landscape it comes off as not only an incredible homage but also a damn good war story in its own right. And it comes with all the aspects that make all the great war movies- It has silliness (like Kelly’s Heroes) It has gung ho action/adventure (Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone, Ironclad etc.) It has some brilliant quotes (Like The Great Escape… But I won’t say because i don’t want to spoil the surprises). There’s a bit in there that is awfully reminiscent of the Dambusters and one not so obvious moment which I borrowed from Master and Commander. It even has some nuns in there, just for the benefit of those who like the Sound of Music.

And what else can I say? Like Sci Fi? You’ll love it. Like classic War films? You’ll love it. Like a good, well written story with excellent characters? This is for you. It’s available from the Amazon Kindle Store but even if you don’t have a Kindle you can still enjoy it to the full. There’s a free Kindle app from the iTunes app store or if you don’t want to use that, if you want to use another e-reader type or whatever, there are plenty of free e-book converters for download on the web (I use Calibre myself). Just convert, load on and go! So what are you waiting for? Go STOP THE CAVALRY!

Here are the links for the US Store: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QEBQK9E

And the UK Store: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QEBQK9E

The book is available worldwide and if you could pass the word around to your friends about this I shall be eternally grateful- Cheers.

James.