I am very much looking forward to Alaric Bond’s latest, Torrid Zone, due out in April or May. He recently posted about it on his blog.
I’ve now finished the second draft of The Torrid Zone, the next installment in my Fighting Sail series. There is still much to do, of course; the actual book is not due to appear until April or May but at least we have the roof on, as it were. This time I have strayed from home waters; HMS Scylla is heading for the South Atlantic, her destination: the small island of St Helena, and on board she has Sir Terrance Hatcher, the island’s new governor.
The history has been augmented slightly (that’s why they call it Historical Fiction), but like most such tales my story has a firm basis in fact. Torrid Zone is set during the interregnum between two actual governors of St Helena: Robert Brooke, (retired March 1800), and Robert Patton who arrived two years later. Between those times Francis Robson acted as governor and appears in the book, although Sir Terrance Hatcher and his charming wife – you may learn more than you wish of her later – are totally figments of my imagination.
Mixing reality with fiction is always a dangerous business. Care must be taken not to distort what actually happened, and there is an unspoken undertaking to represent the facts as honestly as possible, if only out of respect to the memory of those who took part. But when such an important outpost as St Helena is left effectively unattended for so long, the opportunity is just too good to pass by. Then the research begins, and that is one of the most enjoyable parts. The history of St Helena is every bit as fascinating as any novel, and some of the people who feature almost cry out for a good deal more attention.