Saturday, 30 November 2013

Book Post: A Question Of Trilogy

It was never meant to be. Olives - A Violent Romance was originally written with a mild idea of an 'interlinear' to follow - a retelling of the story from another point of view, possibly Lynch's. There's a lot to retell on the Lynch side of things, we have the possibilities of balancing Paul's jaded view of the man who is blackmailing him, as well as Lynch's negotiations with the Israelis and the Jordanian authorities as he tries to keep his young victim alive long enough to fulfil his destiny. And then there's Paul's future - Olives originally started with Lynch sitting in the wreckage of Paul's house before the young journalist moves to Beirut (where Lynch arranges a job for him working on a newspaper) to wait for Aisha.

Beirut - An Explosive Thriller isn't linked to Olives in any way, except its events commence with the eventual fate of young Stokes and, of course, it features Lynch. But that's where it stops. The events retold in Beirut might be contiguous to Olives, but there's no link. And so with Shemlan - A Deadly Tragedy: the book's events take place a year after those of Beirut but are otherwise in no way linked. Some of the same characters pop up. Others don't make it through. I have a nasty habit of killing those I love the most.

Three very different books set in the same rough timeline do not a trilogy make. I intended to write a romance, a thriller and a tragedy but most certainly not a trilogy. It's a little appreciated fact, for instance, that all of the Bond books are written in a contiguous timeline. I realised this when I bought them all last year and read 'em one after another. It made me appreciate quite what a grim, sexist old soak Ian Fleming was - I discovered, for instance, in every single Bond book the female protagonist is referred to as a "Stupid bitch" except one, narrated in the first person by the female protagonist - she does not neglect to call herself, however, a "stupid bitch." I'm not a fan of unsuccessful writers (me) slagging off successful ones (Fleming) but I also found I disliked his writing in general. Mind you, re-reading Alistair MacLean had me in a blind impotent fury.

However, protest as much as I like, people keep referring to the three books as a trilogy. Even early reviews of Shemlan refer to it as 'the third of McNabb's trilogy of Middle East thrillers'. Clearly I'm out of step and might as well just go with the flow. It's either that or write a fourth Lynch book just to prove everyone wrong and I'm not about to do that.

In the meantime, on the offchance you haven't got around to doing it, here's the link to buy Shemlan - A Deadly Tragedy in print or as an ebook. If you want to start reading the trilogy with Olives - A Violent Romance, that's linked here. And then Beirut - An Explosive Thriller is to be found over here. See? Three clicks and you're away!

No, no, it's fine. My pleasure. It's nothing, really.

1 comment:

Dave Edwards said...

Fleming was a rubbish writer who created a great character for his time - and whose reputation is based on the films. Maclean started out well (HMS Ulysses, his first book, is also the best) but in latter days was more or less writing screenplays - and in paperback form they were invariably 192 pages long. I say this without expectation of reward or preferment, but you're a better "writer" than either. But them's the breaks. I have Shemlan downloaded but it's having to wait till I plough through a history of Roman Britain. I look forward to the fourth in the "increasingly inaccurately named" trilogy.

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