I stole this unashamedly from Aidan's blog, but I had to post it as I've been anticipating this novel from Mark Chadbourn for a while.
Here's the blurb:
A devilish plot to assassinate the Queen, a Cold War enemy hell-bent on destroying the nation, incredible gadgets, a race against time around the world to stop the ultimate doomsday device…and Elizabethan England’s greatest spy!
Meet Will Swyfte – adventurer, swordsman, rake, swashbuckler, wit, scholar and the greatest of Walsingham’s new band of spies. His exploits against the forces of Philip of Spain have made him a national hero, lauded from Carlisle to Kent. Yet his associates can barely disguise their incredulity – what is the point of a spy whose face and name is known across Europe?
But Swyfte’s public image is a carefully-crafted façade to give the people of England something to believe in, and to allow them to sleep peacefully at night. It deflects attention from his real work – and the true reason why Walsingham’s spy network was established.
A Cold War seethes, and England remains under a state of threat. The forces of Faerie have been preying on humanity for millennia. Responsible for our myths and legends, of gods and fairies, dragons, griffins, devils, imps and every other supernatural menace that has haunted our dreams, this power in the darkness has seen humans as playthings to be tormented, hunted or eradicated.
But now England is fighting back!
As Aidan points out, we first got a taste of Will Swyfte in Chadbourn's short story Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast that appeared in the Solaris Book of New Fantasy. Here's what I said at the time:
"The anthology gets off to a strong start, with Mark Chadbourn's Who Slays The Gyant, Wounds the Beast, which is set in an alternative Elizabethan England that is at war with the Faerie Realm. An enjoyable tale that examines the problem of love and duty, it's over too quickly but is an excellent taster of Chadbourn's work and a solid start to the anthology."
I thought there was real potential for a novel (or a few) and so I'm glad to see that Pyr have signed up Chadbourn for three books in the Swords of Albion series. The UK release date for The Silver Skull is 27 October 2009.
On a separate note, I wonder whether Mark Chadbourn is a robot or whether he just doesn't sleep - he's so prolific that I wouldn't be surprised if he writes a book before breakfast every day (The Silver Skull is just one of several novels he's penned in the last year or so, along with The Burning Man and The Lord of Silence).