Lethbridge-Stewart: An Ordinary ManBookmark and Share

Monday, 16 December 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have announced the third instalment in the six-book Bloodlines sequence of novels is now available to pre-order:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: An Ordinary Man (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: An Ordinary Man
Written by Andy Frankham-Allen and Tim Gambrell
Cover artwork by Colin Howard

The destruction of the causal nexus continues, as the timelines of the Lethbridge-Stewarts and Traverses are wiped out of existence.

A new reality has been created, so very close to the essential timeline. And it is into this reality that Anne Travers is sent to retrieve a man who bears a shocking resemblance to Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart.

February 1969, and school-teacher Archie Lethbridge-Stewart lives an ordinary life. A contented life with his little family in the Cornish village of Bledoe. But that is all about to change. First his old pupil, Owain Vine, is having strange visions. Visions of a London covered in web! And on the news it seems London itself is being evacuated – a major gas leak and bears breaking free of London Zoo. Can these events be connected?

Linking all this is a strange old man. A man who insists he knows Archie. Only, the man insists on calling him Alistair. Who is this strange old man? What is this talk of the future? And why should Archie and Owain risk everything to go with the old man to London?

Anne Travers has the answers. But, unfortunately, she appears to be little more than a ghost!

Originally intended as a solo project by Andy Frankham-Allen, An Ordinary Man is now a co-authored project, with Tim Gambrell coming on board to share the author duties. Andy explained the change in author line-up:
The same life stuff that got in the way of Loose Ends got in the way of this book. When it became clear I would not have the time to write the novel, I turned to a trusted author, one who understood the main setting of the book, the village of Bledoe.
Tim Gambrell said:
An Ordinary Man has certainly been no ordinary book. I have enormous respect for Andy; it takes guts to admit all is not well and that you need help with something. When he asked me to write this with him, I did what I'd do for any mate in trouble: I shifted things about in my own life and agreed immediately. Andy had laid the book's groundwork for me. This is still his book at the end of the day. The cornerstones of the plot and the structure had been laid, and the cast assembled. My initial challenge was planning a lot of the bits that went in between – plotting the character journeys from A to B to C. First and foremost, this is a character-led story, not an action-packed adventure. There are characters here I'd not written for before, such as Owain. But I know Bledoe, I've long known its occupants and, because I've always been a reader of the series as well as writing for it, I felt comfortable with Owain.
Andy added:
Unlike a normal Lethbridge-Stewart commission, this one had much more than a shopping list of elements. The story was already laid out, the opening chapters written. Tim had a very specific brief. Once he’s finished his work on it, I shall then take a pass over it myself, tweaking scenes here and there so that it more accurately matches my vision of the story.
Tim continued:
What I've enjoyed most about writing An Ordinary Man has been immersing myself in these characters, because they're not quite what we expect them to be. I've loved seeing how far I can push a situation before the characters say 'enough is enough', or ‘okay, you win’. And what really prompts us, as human beings, to take action outside of our comfort zone, or make changes to our lives for anything other than selfish reasons. I've got a wife and a young family, I've got adult responsibilities. And I've done a lot of soul-searching in writing this book. And it's got a cover by Colin Howard. I've not had one of those before, so that's exciting!

Colin Howard returns for cover-art duties, and he was particularly excited by the challenges presented to him:
I had quite a lot of fun with this cover, despite the original brief. That posed a few challenges. For Lethbridge-Stewart on this occasion it required him to be of the same age as Web of Fear’s colonel, however in this novel he is simply a Cornish School teacher in Bledoe, minus the famous moustache! So, time for screen grabbing Web again, to find a suitable reference of Nick Courtney at that age. Then I had to view elements of Inferno, to find a forehead reference as well as top lip! In order to flesh out my digital painting, I also added a blazer and tie of the type worn by the younger school-teacher Brig in Mawdryn Undead. I then opted for my usual ‘Way too much detail’ background of a Cornish Fishing Village. I sketch these digitally first, then paint over the sketch at around three hundred times magnification on multiple layers to allow for necessary repositioning if required at the cover layout stage. Anne Travers was again a challenge, as Tina Packer spends most of Web playing a supportive sympathetic cast member in two-hander scenes with Patrick Troughton, so therefore is subsequently ‘facially in-shadow’ with most of her scenes in the Unit base. I then had to add more of a 1970s hairstyle and dress, as her character does a little inter-dimensional time-hopping!
On top of those challenges, Colin was excited to be able to do the one thing he’d wanted to do since first joining the Candy Jar artist roster in 2015:
I have been desperate to get to do a Yeti-related cover, but things didn’t ever quite work out. So this time I ‘politely insisted’. In this novel I was told that the Great Intelligence’s London invasion is more successful without the Doctor or Lethbridge Stewart to thwart them. I decided to go to town a little with Big Ben swathed in flowing web, and two of our furry friends looming in the foreground of that section. The other element I was originally asked for was the ‘Sphere-crackling with energy’, so that completed my design idea.

The novel is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website, and is covered by subscriptions.


Candy Jar Books is currently having a Christmas Sale: more details here.