Candy Jar Books’ final series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels continues with It Came from the Isle of Man
It Came from the Isle of Man by John Peel is the final novel in Candy Jar Books’ Lethbridge-Stewart series. The author has penned several books in the range and its spin-offs since 2016’s The Grandfather Infestation.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says, “It’s always nice to have John back. He’s an old hand at novel writing, and without fail always delivers a strong first draft. More often than not, in fact, it requires little or no rewrites, usually a few touch-up edits. With the end in sight, we knew we had to prepare the way for Lethbridge-Stewart to become the Brigadier, and for his transfer from the Fifth to UNIT. To the end I worked alongside the authors of the final series to develop stories that would see the transition take place, show the fans why it was necessary for UNIT to be set-up to protect not just the UK, but the world itself. This book, like the previous Spheres of Influence, is a step towards that end…
“We’d planned these final books some time ago, and I’d forgotten some of the smaller details, since obviously I had worked on many titles in the meantime. So it was a nice surprise when characters from both The Grandfather Infestation and On His Majesty’s National Service made an appearance. I hope it will be equally surprising and exciting for the long-time readers of the range, to see things coming full circle. It’s apt, I feel, that these characters in particular should return, tying John Peel’s contributions to the series in nice little bow.”
“This time around, the aliens aren’t determined to conquer the Earth”
John Peel says, “I had tremendous fun while writing On His Majesty’s National Service and introducing some new characters to the world of Lethbridge-Stewart, so when I was asked to write another entry in the series, I couldn’t resist bringing some of them back again to help him out. Or are they helping him?
“I wanted to write something a bit different this time around, though,” continues Peel, “so I decided to avoid the customary alien invasion theme. This time around, the aliens aren’t determined to conquer the Earth. But what they have in mind might be a greater disaster than a simple invasion. It was also fun working with Jonathan Blum (with a bit of assistance from Simon Forward) to find ways to link these final books together, to walk the path to UNIT…”
As with many Lethbridge-Stewart books the title underwent something of a change
Frankham-Allen explains that this wasn’t the original choice of title for the novel. “The title often changes between first announcement and eventual release, and this one was no exception. Originally it was called United Nations, which would be followed up by Jonathan Blum’s Intelligence Taskforce. However, due to the need to turn Jon’s novel into two books (more on that when Jon’s book is due), I decided it made sense to assign both titles to Jon’s novels. Thus, John Peel’s needed a new title. It took a while, but I eventually suggested It Came from the Isle of Man to fit in with the B-movie influence behind the chapter titles contained within the book. John approved it immediately.”
The cover sees another return, with regular contributor Paul Cooke providing the art
Paul Cooke returns to the Lethbridge-Stewart range on cover duties for It Came from the Isle of Man. “This cover was slightly different to my earlier ones in that rather than an idea of what the story elements were, I was given a passage of the novel to illustrate,” he explains. “The description of the sea monster is vivid and when I sat down to design it, I was influence”d by one artist in particular. Way back when, when I was at school, a favourite artist of mine was Rowena Morrill, who sadly died a couple of years ago. She painted strange, fantasy hybrid creatures that had an otherworldly colour palette perfect for this subject, I felt.
“The scale of the creature is helped with the poor Minke victim, though I did move the ship closer than in the story for visual impact. Lethbridge-Stewart was always a hands-on sort and Andy asked for him to be in action mode. What better than showing him running into battle, urging his men forward? The breaking ice behind him hints at a location for the story, and there is a clue to another location for the keen Doctor Who fan.”
“It is sad … but what a ride it’s been!”
Talking about finding a good reference point, Cooke adds, “I do like the Scots Guard hat (glengarry) so am pleased I was able to paint it. I find it can be quite tricky to get right in the way it sits on the head as the angles look wrong. Fortunately, I have one (too small for me, unfortunately) but it fits a polystyrene bust I have (don’t ask!). This allowed me to get it just right. I’m a big believer in reference material; you can guarantee that if you get something wrong someone will always notice. This caused quite the headache when trying to draw Lethbridge-Stewart’s service revolver, as I’d chosen an angle that I couldn’t find any reference of, so had to piece it together as best I could. I hope I’ve got it right!”
When talking about the ending of the Lethbridge-Stewart range, he says: “I’ve been really fortunate with my association with the Lethbridge-Stewart books. I bought the first one and loved it; so much so that I felt the urge to create some fan art. Andy saw it and later offered me a try-out. So not only am I a fan, Andy give me the opportunity to become a part of it. It is sad for me to know this is my last cover as the series draws to a close, but what a ride it’s been! Massive thanks to Andy for creating such an enjoyable series of books, and for taking a chance on me.”
Lethbridge-Stewart: It Came from the Isle of Man
It was possibly the kindest, most humane invasion ever. Nobody was killed; nobody was even bruised by it. At least, not at first.
Three landings, three countries. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart soon realises this is too big for the Fifth Operational Corps. Plans are put into place for an international operation. Bill Bishop and Anne Travers sent to the US to work alongside Colonel Hickenlooper. Colonel Douglas goes to the USSR to liaise with Major Bugayey. And Lethbridge-Stewart is joined in the UK by an old American ally from his National Service Days.
Just what is going on? Who are the Engineers, and why do they insist they have an agreement with the King of Earth?
Lethbridge-Stewart finds himself having to deal with international politics and inter-galactic agreements. Meanwhile Anne has to cope with a Russian spy, and a trip to an alien world…