Author Jon Blum returns to the Doctor Who universe as a new task force rises in Lethbridge-Stewart: United Nations
Candy Jar Books have announced the third title in its final series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels. Legendary Doctor Who novelist Jonathan Blum, makes his Lethbridge-Stewart debut with United Nations. During the 1990s he penned several Doctor Who novels with his partner, Kate Orman, for BBC Books. These included acclaimed favourites like Vampire Science and Seeing I. Outside of books, he also wrote the seminal Big Finish audio, The Fearmonger.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “I’ve long wanted to work with Jon Blum, having been an admirer of his work since I first read Vampire Science in 1997. It took a while to work out, since Jon is a busy chap and we needed a window that would work for him. A such, his first Lethbridge-Stewart novel comes at the end of the range, and has taken something of a lengthy gestation period. For these last few novels, starting with Spheres of Influence and It Came from the Isle of Man, I made sure the authors worked closely together to build up an ongoing situation, worthy of such a big event as the creation of UNIT.”
Setting up UNIT is a large part of these final books. Frankham-Allen explains, “That was also the endgame of this series, to fill the gap between The Web of Fear and The Invasion, to show what happened in those four years between to not only Lethbridge-Stewart, but Earth at large. What series of events would warrant the set-up of such an international force…? We had it all planned, and things were going smoothly, and then we were hit with a bizarre reference to The War Machines (a story that happened long before The Web of Fear) in 2022 with Doctor Who: Flux…”
Anything unknown on Earth, or even beyond…
For his part, author Jonathan Blum says “Much of this book was spring-boarding off of where John Peel left his book. He set up an adventure with international scope, then resolved the crisis itself… Because John was doing the big alien adventure, I wanted to explore the other half of what would become UNIT’s remit; ‘anything unknown [on Earth], or even beyond.’ I wanted human-scale adversaries, people living with the unearthly or trying to exploit it.
“And I wanted to show how humans can produce the sort of global threats the UN is supposed to be uniting us to deal with. The business with the Odds was inspired by some middle-aged reflection on just how outrageously unlikely my life has been over the years. Lethbridge-Stewart keeps trying to have a normal life in the midst of barking madness, and I wanted to draw some parallels with these other people coping with improbable events. Dramatise that sense of a little bubble of normality, but on a global scale. And then blow it up.”
Blum also explained some of the rewriting required by a last minute curve ball from the Doctor Who mother ship. “We were most of the way through the story,” he explains, “when suddenly Flux established that UNIT was being set up years before Lethbridge-Stewart even came on board [despite countless previous references to his importance in the founding of UNIT]. But then if you look at what actually happens in Flux, it turns out there’s a very good reason why the original UNIT was strangled at birth, and needed our heroes to breathe life into it. And suddenly we see some things the Brigadier’s superiors did earlier in the book series in a rather different light…”
This book also sees the full return of Captain Kramer, who previously appeared in Times Squared…
Blum continues: “Thirty years ago now, I made my student film Time Rift, and Marsha Twitty played Adrienne Kramer, commander of UNIT USA. And her part kept getting bigger, because her performance really jumped off the screen. Marsha became a lifelong friend, and Kate and I wrote General Kramer into our Eighth Doctor novels. Then the Lethbridge-Stewart team asked if they could feature a younger Kramer in their series. But when Marsha passed away in 2019, I decided I wanted to write for her once more as a tribute.
“Somehow that snowballed into being the big founding-of-UNIT story! I talked with Marsha’s friends, her mother and her boyfriend, and really tried to dig into the truth of what it would be like for a young Black woman officer working at the UN in those days. She was a joy to write for – a take-charge woman who’s also really good at keeping things to herself, and having more up her sleeve than you think. And we see very different sides to her in these books. Even after all these years, she was still able to surprise me!”
Lethbridge-Stewart: United Nations
It was impossible that the public could ever have missed seeing the giant alien spaceship. But somehow, everyone did.
The US and USSR both want to know how the UK covered the incident up. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart would quite like to know who actually did cover it up. Old allies from both sides of the Iron Curtain are chasing the answer – but each with their own agenda. Everyone wants the power to make inconvenient secrets disappear.
The search leads Lethbridge-Stewart to the single most normal man on the Isle of Man, and what happens to the world around him when he dies. Lethbridge-Stewart faces death by coincidence, as probability gets turned upside-down.
And as the attacks get closer and closer to home, so does the political fallout. His career, his dream of uniting the worlds’ nations against alien threats, even his family could pay the ultimate price.
The Lethbridge-Stewart series finale will be Intelligence Taskforce by Jonathan Blum. An epilogue, The Lost Son will follow from Andy Frankham-Allen.
You can pre-order United Nations now directly from Candy Jar Books. If you have subscription, it covers United Nations.