Guess what — I lied.

Decision made; now I can stop being cryptic.

What I said a few months ago? Yeah, change of plans. This is the book I’m writing next.


September, 1666. In the house of a sleeping baker, a spark leaps free of the oven — and ignites a blaze that will burn London to the ground.

Six years ago, the King of England returned in triumph to the land that had executed his father. The mortal civil war is done. But the war among the fae is still raging, and London is its battleground. There are forces that despise the Onyx Court, and will do anything to destroy it.

But now a greater threat has come, that could destroy everything. For three harrowing days, the mortals and fae of the city will fight to save their home. While the humans struggle to halt the conflagration that is devouring London street by street, the fae pit themselves against a less tangible foe: the spirit of the fire itself, powerful enough to annihilate everything in its path. Neither side can win on its own — but can they find a way to fight together?

There’s the requisite few paragraphs of handwaving, to give you a sense of what this novel will be. The Victorian book will still be happening, never fear; it just won’t be happening now. For a variety of strategic reasons and a few serendipitous ones, we’ve decided it would be better for me to do this one first.

Yes, this does in fact mean I’m switching tracks after four months of research on what is now the wrong time period. Yes, this does mean I’ve got barely more time to prep this book than I did for Midnight Never Come. Yes, this does mean I’m crazy. But I think the Victorian book will benefit from having more time to cook in my head; nineteenth-century London is so big and complicated that I won’t say no to working up to it more slowly. In the meantime, this one has had a number of factors swing in its favor, until it jumped up the queue and put itself at the top.

So. Great Fire. My, um, Restoration faerie disaster fantasy, I guess I’ll have to call it. London go BOOM.

Kind of like my head.

0 Responses to “Guess what — I lied.”

  1. difrancis

    Sounds awesome. This just came up one of my lists (IAFA) and while I doubt you are interested in the fact that it’s up for review, I thought you might be very interested in teh book. I know I am.



    The following title is now available for review in JFA. If interested, please drop me a line and be sure to include qualifications.



    Folklore and the Fantastic in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction

    Jason Marc Harris


    Jason Marc Harris’s ambitious book argues that the tensions between folk metaphysics and Enlightenment values produce the literary fantastic. Demonstrating that a negotiation with folklore was central to the canon of British literature, he explicates the complicated rhetoric associated with folkloric fiction. His analysis includes a wide range of writers, including James Barrie, William Carleton, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Sheridan Le Fanu, Neil Gunn, George MacDonald, William Sharp, Robert Louis Stevenson, and James Hogg. These authors, Harris suggests, used folklore to articulate profound cultural ambivalence towards issues of class, domesticity, education, gender, imperialism, nationalism, race, politics, religion, and metaphysics. Harris’s analysis of the function of folk metaphysics in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century narratives reveals the ideological agendas of the appropriation of folklore and the artistic potential of superstition in both folkloric and literary contexts of the supernatural.

    Preface; An introduction to folklore and the fantastic in 19th-century British literature; Victorian literary fairy tales: their folklore and function; Victorian fairy-tale fantasies: MacDonald’s Fairyland and Barrie’s Neverland; MacDonald’s Lilith and Phantastes: in pursuit of the soul of fairyland; James Hogg’s use of legend: folk metaphysics and narrative authority; Ghosts ‘grand ladies’, ‘the gentry’, and ‘good neighbors’: folkloric representations of the spirit world’s intersection with class and racial tensions in Le Fanu; Robert Louis Stevenson: folklore and imperialism; William Carleton and William Sharp: the Celtic renaissance and fantastic folklore; Conclusion: 2nd sight; Bibliography; Index.

    About the Author/Editor
    Dr Jason Marc Harris teaches at Michigan State University. He is the coauthor (with Birke Duncan) of a folklore study, The Troll Tale and Other Scary Stories (2001). Besides writing various articles about the interaction between folklore and literature, he recently provided an introduction to Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae for the Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading Series (2006).

    Further Information
    Affiliation: Jason Marc Harris, Michigan State University, USA
    ISBN: 0 7546 5766 3
    Publication Date: 02/2008
    Number of Pages: 248 pages
    Binding: Hardback
    Binding Options: Available in Hardback only
    Book Size: 234 x 156 mm
    British Library Reference: 823.8’0937
    Library of Congress Reference: 2007023184
    Extracts from this title are available to view:
    Full contents list
    ISBN-13 978-0-7546-5766-8

  2. pbmaxca

    Sounds like an intersting story. I’m not much into historical fiction myself, but I’d try it out at least. I’m sure you’ll make it action packed.

  3. faerie_writer

    I preorder Midnight Never Come the other day. If there’s going to be a sequel, I’m in!

    My next book (after I’m done the one I’m working on) is going to be historical fantasy too, in the 15th century, though, and in Italy with gypsies, angels and Medici dukes! I know what you mean about working up to it slowly. I find the longer all those historical facts simmer, the better broth they make. πŸ˜€

    • Marie Brennan

      Hee! That sounds like a fun setting to work in.

      • faerie_writer

        Oh it is! I don’t think I could imagine it any more dramatic if I tried. πŸ˜‰

        • Marie Brennan

          Is that going to be YA?

          • faerie_writer

            Yes. So the time frame I’m looking at would be when the teenage Michelangelo came to live with Lorenzo de’ Medici and grew up with all of Lorenzo’s children, including Giovanni (who later became Pope Leo X (the one that pissed Martin Luther off enough to spark the Protesant Reformation)) and Giulio (Lorenzo’s illegitimite nephew, who later became Pope Clement VII). My main character is going to be an angel who takes the physical form of a gypsy girl, and who can see the future when she looks into windows. Of course, Lorenzo wants to be able to see into future and takes her into his home (well, abducts her actually) to raise with his children (same as he did Michelangelo). So, it’s going to be upper YA with lots of edginess and steamy unrequited love. πŸ˜‰

          • Marie Brennan

            So, it’s going to be upper YA with lots of edginess and steamy unrequited love. πŸ˜‰

            With the Medicis in it? I should think so.

            That sounds like a fun premise. I look forward to it!

          • faerie_writer

            Yes, those Medicis … πŸ˜‰

  4. kendokamel

    Sounds quite interesting!

  5. squirrel_monkey

    OMG this sounds totally awesome!

  6. anghara


    Oh, YEAH.

    Oh, I’ll be waiting for that one.

  7. scottakennedy

    Top of the world ma!

    That story sounds great and I look forward to reading it.

  8. ksumnersmith

    Oh, that sounds awesome! And hey, if you’re crazy, at least it’s the kind of crazy that results in good books.

  9. unforth

    Woot! Congratulations! πŸ™‚ Go Samuel Pipes go! πŸ˜‰

  10. matociquala


    Hey, and you are neatly bracketing me again, because my next 17th century one is the Ben Jonson book.

    We rock!

    • Marie Brennan


      Got anything planned for the eighteenth century? If things go the way I want, the next book will be in 1759, and then the Victorian one.

      • matociquala

        I have African railroad building in 1880 (Balm & Oil), and possibly the Obligatory Yeats/Crowley Book (Rag & Bone). Though I’m working on ways to make it less Yeats/Crowley and more Something Interesting.

        And someday I may head back to the 1590s and do the Jews Of Elizabeth’s Court book.

        How about you?

        • Marie Brennan

          My railroads will be the London Underground, and more like 1870. <g> But before that, hopefully a rather odd Halley’s Comet book (that’s the 1759 one), and afterward, maybe something with the Blitz. Whether or not there will ever be a modern-era book, I couldn’t say. But it’s all London-based; that’s the real unifying thread of the whole series. And I don’t think I’ll have anything earlier than Midnight Never Come, for reasons that lie inside that book.

          Plus my brain wants some short stories, so it cam play around with bits of history that don’t need entire books. Like the Gunpowder Plot. Or the Bow Street Runners. (“Below Street Runner” doesn’t have a plot. But it has a title, and that means it’s determined to exist.)

          I should get me a generalized Onyx Court icon.

          • matociquala

            Our brains seem to be determined to be complementary rather than competitive.

            This is good.

          • Marie Brennan


            The only conflict of that kind I’ve hit so far is that my brain likes the title All Promethean Thoughts for the Victorian book, and that could get confusing. But mostly I just like the sound of it — the phrase doesn’t have anything in particular to do with the plot — so there’s little risk of it actually becoming the title.

            Silly as it sounds, two of the reasons I was willing to jump tracks to the Great Fire book? I have a title and an LJ icon for it. Neither of which was true for the Victorian one. Those only make sense as reasons if you understand how they are markers for the state of my subconscious: writing a book before I have its title is like writing a character before I have her name.

          • matociquala

            I am exactly the same way, FWIW.

    • Marie Brennan

      *WILL GET!*

      Some time next year. <g>

      • brigidsblest

        Hee hee hee. I have impulse control problems.

        Confine that with my faerie anything addiction, and Houston, we have a problem.

        • Marie Brennan

          Publishing really isn’t an industry for the impatient, is it?

          • brigidsblest

            Or those of weak ego/self-esteem.

            I keep telling myself that one day, I, too, shall have a novel (or twelve) published.

            For now, I’m happy to have published work at all. πŸ™‚ That it’s in a field I love is a bonus.

          • Marie Brennan

            Yeah — it’s a long, tedious slog to publication. The good news is, so long as you keep trying, you really will one day have a novel (or twelve) published; persistence is a huge factor in this game.

  11. danielmc


    uhm. not that i support mayhem, or some such.

    congrats. sounds fantastic.

  12. rj_anderson

    London go BOOM = AWESOME. Not that I wouldn’t have been looking forward to the Victorian one too, but still. Whee!

  13. sora_blue

    This means it just became a three book series! πŸ˜€

  14. sartorias

    Oh, how I love this period–from Pepys to Grammont to Aphra Behn to Milton, it’s just chockfull of fascinating people and doings.

    • Marie Brennan

      Then I shall look to you for advice on what to read/pillage/cram in!

      • sartorias

        All of the above will give you an awesome vector. And they are fun reading, too! (I find Milton’s letters fascinating.)

        • Marie Brennan

          I’ll be putting up some posts soon, asking for targeted recommendations. Otherwise I’m afraid I’ll just get lost. <g>

          • sartorias

            You betecha. I’ve got some good stuff, on a wild range of topics, as that’s the early end of “my” period.

          • sapphohestia

            Aphra Behn should make her way into one of your books. *g*

          • Marie Brennan

            Maybe I’ll throw in a suspiciously familiar cat, just for our entertainment. ^_^

            Actually, I just read an anecdote last night about people rummaging around in the ruins after the fire and pulling a scorched and entirely hairless — but alive! — cat out of a surviving brick chimney.

  15. ninja_turbo

    You = Crazy. Good job.

    London go BOOM!

    • Marie Brennan

      Also, now you know this week’s excuse for missing fencing. I was frantically reading, trying to gather enough information to determine if I was, in fact, ready to do this book instead of the other one.

      • ninja_turbo

        This is an acceptable excuse. Come next week, should be a smaller crowd but that’ll just mean we’ll have more space.

        • Marie Brennan

          Which is good, since “get rid of that nagging tendency to retreat” is still a ways down my list of things to improve. Behind, oh, “point control” and “try NOT walking onto the blade, moron.”

  16. squishymeister

    is it strange that after I read this I had the Great Chicago Fire camp song stuck in my head? Complete with dance moves of a cow kicking over a lantern, and people jumping out of windows and splatting on the ground. Camp songs were always kinda grotesque come to think of it. I mean…Timmy Toad has a freakin lament in camp song form!

    By the way, the icon is awesome.

    • Marie Brennan

      . . . your camp songs were more interesting than ours, apparently.

      • squishymeister

        set to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”

        “Oh Tommy Toad, oh Tommy Toad!
        Why are you lying in the road?
        Oh Tommy Toad, oh Tommy Toad!
        Why are you lying in the road?
        You’re lying there, as if you’re dead,
        With tire tracks across your head!
        Oh Tommy Toad, oh Tommy Toad,
        Please look both ways before you cross the road!”

        the truly disturbing part is, this wasn’t our only “frog gets hit by a car” song… and nearly all our songs involved dead, dying, or tortured animals.

        A repeat after me song:
        “Away in the wind swept desert, SWOOSH!
        Where nature knows no man! UHH (yes, there’s a grunt here)
        Aaaaaaaaaaa buffalo spied his brother!
        a lyin in the sand!
        Said theeeeeee buffalo to his brother,
        why do you lie that way?
        But thheeeee buffalo could not answer!
        Cause he’s been dead since May!”

        will there be flaming zombies running around your new book?

  17. d_c_m

    Frakkin’ awesome idea!! Go you!! It seems the Onyx Court has a story for you to tell. πŸ˜‰

  18. m_stiefvater

    Ooooooohhhhhh. Maggie likes.

  19. Anonymous

    On my recent trip to London, the fire came up fairly frequently. What was interesting was that it was always paired with the plague. The narrative I kept running across time and again was “the Black Death came in 1665, the Great Fire came in 1666”. Interestingly, one storyteller/historian I was chatting with said that after these two disasters, they decided to stop reinforcing the old Roman Wall around London, because obviously all the real dangers were already inside.

    Thought you might find some part of that useful.

    • kitsunealyc

      Uh, that was me. Bah.

      • Marie Brennan

        General Monck basically jammed all the gates open after the Restoration, to make sure the city could never be fortified against the King again. They started tearing chunks of it down in 1707? because by then it was really just getting in people’s way — slowing down commerce and the like. The odds of defending London against attack were pretty low by then anyway.

Comments are closed.