Plans for 2024 – 2

So here we are; Happy New Year to one and all, and here’s hoping it proves to be a more peaceful and constructive one than its predecessor.

I’m told Roxanne Riding Hood is riding pretty high at the moment, which is a very satisfying feeling, and I hope new readers will put it on their discovery list as the year gets underway.

In the publishing world, as in the rest of the world, nothing stays still for long, and my next novel, my fifth, will be appearing next month. We haven’t got an exact publication date yet, but it won’t be long now.

Boudicca Rising tells the tale of a group of vigilante women with military and police experience who collectively decide to take the law into their own hands and do something against the trafficking and exploitation of women. It is, by my standards, a violent book, but not gratuitously so; the subject matter, and the sort of characters who become involved in such activities, necessarily bring a violent edge to the proceedings, but the book is not a procession of comic books wham-bams; the police, and in particular Inspector Susanna Madine of the Met, find themselves dealing with, in effect, a group of ruthless and well-organised killers.

Boudicca, as most of us know, though History is not a subject given the priority now it should have and for a long time did have, was a queen of an ancient British tribe called the Iceni, based mostly in East Anglia. When Roman legions overran Britain in the first century A.D., the Iceni came to terms with the invaders and got on with them peacefully enough until Boudicca’s husband, the king of the Iceni, died. Boudicca understandably insisted that she was the legitimate heir to her husband and demanded that she should be allowed to inherit his wealth. The Roman response was to whip her in front of her own people and rape her daughters while she watched.

Boudicca rallied the warriors from not only her own tribe but several others in her vicinity and they swept their way across the whole of Roman Britain, burning the towns down and killing any Romans or their client Britons that they could get hold of.  Eventually, the Roman superiority in arms defeated her forces, and Boudicca took her own life before the Romans could capture her. Even though she was defeated, the Romans from that point onwards were a good deal more careful about how they treated the British tribes who’d become their allies.

Captain Jess Haston, seen as a modern Boudicca, gives the book its title.  Captain Haston returns from her experiences in Afghanistan, which included the capture and vicious death of an Afghan female translator who had become her friend, and makes common cause with Captain Greta Mortensen of the American Army, who has also suffered a traumatic experience in trying to defend local children from Afghan militia.

Spoiler alert there, I think. We will shortly have a definite date for the book, which I will post as soon as I have it.