07/07/2011. Contributed by Stephen Hunt
What happened when Misty (a cat) met Jack Cloudie, a fantasy novel from yours truly, Stephen Hunt? Well, the cat climbed into the crate of author's copies of course. I was lucky she didn't do a piddle on them.
In terms of scientific experiments, I don't think I learnt much from this. Apart from the fact that my cat will climb into any cardboard box that enters my living room (it doesn't have to be a box of author's copies from HarperCollins Voyager - any box will do, large or small).
Now, the answers to the most asked questions to date to try to pre-empt the flood of e-mail I've been getting about the new novel.
(1) Will there be a version of the novel with the old style of cover art?
(2) Can I buy the paper book in the USA?
It's recently sold to Tor in the USA - so expect at least a year before it hits the other side of the big pond through direct distribution.
This means if you want it now you have to buy through Amazon.co.uk or any decent British bookseller and ship to the USA. It's very easy to do - I get books in the other direction all the time from Amazon.com
You can also do this in any country by the way - Canada, New Zealand, Australia etc.
Here's the URL to buy... http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0007289707/
(3) Is there a map in the book?
No, but there is a nice cutaway schematic of the Jackelian navy airship, the RAN Iron Partridge, at the front of the book.
(4) Is there an e-book version of the novel?
Yes, in the UK. You can get it from Amazon over at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Cloudie-ebook/dp/B0055P36NI/ for the Kindle.
If you prefer ePub for more generic readers, try Waterstones at http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/stephen+hunt/jack+cloudie+28ebook29/8620892/
(5) What the heck's Jack Cloudie about?
Here's the blurb...
Thanks to his father's gambling debts, young Jack Keats finds himself on the streets and trying to survive as a pickpocket, desperate to graft enough coins to keep him and his two younger brothers fed.
Following a daring bank robbery gone badly awry, Jack narrowly escapes the scaffold, only to be pressed into Royal Aerostatical Navy. Assigned to the most useless airship in the fleet, serving under a captain who is most probably mad, Jack seems to be bound for almost certain death in the faraway deserts of Cassarabia.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Omar ibn Barir, the slave of a rich merchant lord finds his life turned upside down when his master's religious sect is banned. Unexpectedly freed, he survives the destruction of his home to enter into the service of the Caliph's military forces – just as war is brewing.
Two very similar young men prepare to face each other across a senseless field of war. But is Omar the enemy, or is Jack's true nemesis the sickness at the heart of the Caliph's court? A cult that hides the deadly secret to the origins of the gas being used to float Cassarabia's new aerial navy.
If Jack and his shipmates can discover what Cassarabia's aggressive new regime is trying to conceal, he might survive the most horrific of wars and clear his family's name. If not…
(6) Will you be doing another Jackelian novel?
Yes. Jack Cloudie is the the 5th in the series, there's an as yet untitled 6th work going through the HarperCollins Voyager editing machine as we speak. Should be a 2012 release of this novel. It's a spy novel, really, blended with all the usual high adventure and a dastardly plot to steal the Jackelian crown jewels.
(7) Can I have one of those author's copies?
Sorry, but my family members have already fallen on them like a Borg Cube with a new species to assimilate. There's nothing left now!
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA