His Work To See, the free ebook prelude to my forthcoming novel Thy Fearful Symmetry, is now available to download. It’s actually been available for a few days now, although I kept it quiet until earlier today. Mostly, that was so I could check and recheck the books, and do my best to make sure they’re problem free before I encourage you to get hold of one. I’m pleased to see that there have already been more than sixty downloads without my making any announcement at all. Unless you lot have been paying particular attention, I assume that’s people who hadn’t heard about the book, glanced at the cover art, and decided they might want to see what was beneath it. Score one for Malcolm McClinton.
Although His Work To See is a obviously a promotional tool for Thy Fearful Symmetry, it’s also a short story in its own right. It was written and published as such, under the title When The Stars Threw Down Their Spears, long before I realised there was more story to be told. You can read and enjoy it, even if you have no interest in the novel that follows. Similarly, if you’re waiting for the pleasure of watching me blow up Glasgow in TFS, you don’t have to feel forced to download the story for fear of not being able to follow the book. These events feature in the novel as backstory, with more than enough information given for you not to have to read it if you’d rather wait.
It won’t be clear until TFS, but this story is Ground Zero, the start of the end of the world. I hope you read it. It’s a lot of fun, and short enough to get through in a sitting. There are two versions of the blurb, but here’s the extended one.
“The game is ancient, played out in cities and towns across the world. The players are powerful beyond measure, and their champions and foot soldiers battle in perpetuity. There are over seven billion prizes to be won, each precious beyond measure. They are the souls of every man, woman, and child on earth, and both sides will stop at nothing to claim them.
Pandora and Ambrose are opposites in the Greatest War, an angel and a demon, combatants locked in a furious struggle for the people of a single city. There are rules of engagement, long established. There are eternal principles, that none would think to break. Each is destined to despise the other, and their mutual hatred is written into the DNA of the Universe.
They shouldn’t have been able to fall in love.
Now Heaven and Hell are hunting them. Nobody on Earth can help them. To survive, they must face the most terrifying champions their superiors can muster, and the consequences of failure are beyond imagining.”
At the moment, you can download it at Smashwords in all ebook formats for free, anywhere in the world, and at Amazon for under a dollar (more on that in a moment). As well as the story, the ebook contains selected excerpts from the forthcoming novel, and both pieces of art by Malcolm McClinton.
If you’ve been following this project along, you’ll know that I’ve released His Work To See a month earlier than planned. The novel isn’t due until August, and I’d originally decided to publish this story a month before. Why the change? I looked at a calendar. For the first two weeks in July, I’ll be away on holiday, leaving just a few weeks when I get back to make sure the novel’s ready. That’s a lot more work than a sentence makes it sound. I also hear rumours that another book I’m involved will be reaching publication in July, and want to reduce the chance of things getting lost in the mix.
You’ll also note that, although His Work To See for free at Smashwords as planned, you have to buy it if you’re an Amazon shopper. This is because Amazon won’t let me release it for free. I sort of get it – they provide hosting, bandwidth, and distribution for this sort of thing at no cost to me.Their payment comes in the form of a small percentage of the cover price. If I give the book away, they get nothing, and they’re a business rather than a charity. It’s still disappointing. His Work To See exists primarily as a gateway read to the novel that will follow. Hopefully at least some people who try it will spend a few dollars on TFS. Making them pay for the promotional item rather defeats the point, and they seem to offer no way round this. The best I can do is to list the book at the lowest possible price they allow – ninety-nine cents – and point out that other retailers are available. You can, for example, download the book at Smashwords for nothing at all, in a Kindle-friendly format that’s no different from what you’ll get at Amazon. The book will also roll out in the coming weeks to B&N, iTunes, Kobo, the Sony Reader, and so forth. I think they’ll all let you have it for free as well. If Amazon change their policy on this, I’ll relist it as free there immediately.
Exciting times! This really is the first public stage of Thy Fearful Symmetry being published. Go get a copy of His Work To See right now. Read and enjoy. As readers, you can also help spread the word, if you’ll give me a little of your time in return. A quick Facebook link to where it’s available (or the proper book page on this site), or a retweet, or a mention on a blog or message board you hang out at – anything that lets people know it exists helps enormously. Free books spread through word of mouth more than anything else, so please tell somebody you know where to find it. I think this is a good one, and hope people read it in its own right, whether or not they advance to the novel later. They can’t do that if they never hear about it though.
His Work To See will be published as a limited chapbook later in the year. However, unless you’re attend an event where I’m giving them away for free, they’re destined only for newsletter subscribers, one of whom will be drawn each month to get one. If you fancy your chances, tap your email into the subscribe box on the right, near the top of this page.
That’s all for now. Enjoy the book!