Candy Jar Books has revealed new details about Scary Monsters, the first in the publisher’s new six-book series of novels featuring Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

Out at the end of this month, Scary Monsters is the opening installment of The Laughing Gnome, a new range of novels celebrating 50 years of the Brigadier. The upcoming set of stories will see the continuing adventures of Lethbridge-Stewart, Anne Travers, Bill Bishop and the men and women of the Fifth Operational Corps.

Scary Monsters has been penned by Simon A Forward, with cover artwork by Richard Young:

1981: London, a bomb detonates in a London pub and Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is among the injured. Moscow, a hijacked plane sits on the airport runway and Major Grigoriy Bugayev leads the assault against the six gunmen holding the passengers hostage.

These are the triggers that set the two military men on an international manhunt. Their investigations converge and uncover a group of terrorists whose roots reach back to sinister Cold War experiments, and something that was unearthed in ancient ruins in the New Mexico desert by one Sophia Montilla… and Anne Travers.

Terror is a contagion. It means to spread. And humanity is set on doing everything in its power to help it…

Forward, who also wrote the 2016 Lethbridge-Stewart novel Blood of Atlantis, says of Scary Monsters: “To be asked once to write for the Lethbridge-Stewart range is fortunate. To be asked twice seems like – what are they thinking? Letting me loose to play with these favourite characters again. Madness. Initially, I thought, well okay, but only if the right idea struck. And the next day the right idea struck me. To make life more challenging, this time it was more than merely contributing to a range. For the Brigadier’s big anniversary year, Candy Jar outlined an ambitious arc to frame these adventures.”

Although Scary Monsters brings back Grigoriy Bugayev and Señora Sophia Montilla from Blood of Atlantis, Forward stresses that it is more than a loose sequel to his previous novel: “This is more than your average jaunt down memory lane and it’s about much more than introspection and reflection. My book sees the Brigadier and friends confronting terrorism in an international thriller that, while rooted in the past – and in the Doctor Who universe – should carry some resonance in the 21st century. And not just for the Brigadier.”

The Laughing Gnome: Scary Monsters will be published at the end of August 2018. The novel is priced £8.99 and is available to pre-order now from Candy Jar Books, Amazon UK and Amazon US.

For Candy Jar subscribers, Scary Monsters and the other Laughing Gnome novels are included as part of this subscription.

A New Look For A New Era

As well as a new chapter for the Brig himself, Scary Monsters also heralds a brand-new look for Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart range. The revamp comes courtesy of head of publishing Shaun Russell and Will Brooks, well-known for his work on Titan Comics’ Doctor Who range as well as merchandise for the latest series of Doctor Who.

Russell says of the new designs: “Andy (Frankham-Allen, range editor) and I have been discussing rebranding the books for some time now, and it seemed the anniversary range was the perfect time. New cover design, new logo, and I knew just the man for the job. We had worked with Will previously. His covers for Philip Martin’s Gangsters and Peter George’s Pattern of Death were outstanding, and we knew he would create the right look for us. And he didn’t disappoint!”

Scary Monsters cover artist Richard Young comments on his design: “This is my ninth cover for the Lethbridge-Stewart books, but the first one I’ve done as the lead book, so the stakes were raised for this. It’s also the first cover to feature the Brig. I’d been pushing to feature him on a cover for years, and with this being the fiftieth anniversary of the character it felt like the time was right.”

The Laughing Gnome

The Laughing Gnome is the umbrella title for the first five books in Candy Jar’s new six-book range celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Brigadier. Played by Nicholas Courtney, the Brig made his first Doctor Who appearance in the 1968 Second Doctor televised adventure The Web of Fear.

Range editor Andy Frankham-Allen explains the inspiration for The Laughing Gnome‘s title: “We took our cue from Life on Mars and its sequel series, Ashes to Ashes, and opted for another David Bowie title for our very first time travel series of books. But we didn’t want it just be a title – we decided that we’d make the Laughing Gnome an integral part of the story, the catalyst for our heroes’ adventures in time.”

Frankham-Allen also hints at what the new stories have in store for Lethbridge-Stewart and company: “I don’t wish to give away the conceit of the series, but the basic premise is thus: Sir Alistair is nearing the end of his life and has just buried another old friend. Feeling out of sorts, he is somewhat surprised to find himself in 1981. Some mysterious force has pulled him backwards in time, into his own past, an adventure he has only vague memories of! As the series progresses we discover that both Anne Travers and her husband, and popular series regular, Bill Bishop, have also been dragged through time. But why? What, or who, is behind it?”

Following Scary Monsters, the remaining books in The Laughing Gnome series are The Fear of Web by Alyson Leeds, The Danger Men by Nick Walters, Day of the Matador by Robert Mammone, and Lucy Wilson and the Bledoe Cadets by Tim Gambrell. The sixth book in the anniversary series is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, by David A McIntee and military historian Dr Lynette Nusbacher.

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