“….exactly what it is like in the Heart of Darkness” — John Braine/Sunday Telegraph

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BLOOD IVORY
Second in Andrew McCoy’s
LANCE WEBER SERIES
About the Quintessential Hard Man of Africa

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BLOOD IVORY
by Andrew McCoy

The equation is simple: on the day the last elephant in the world is shot, ivory will be more valuable than gold. Two men — one a merchant prince, the other a big-game hunter — are preparing for that day by acculumating vast hoards of the irreplaceable tusk. It is the hunter who makes the first mistake, and pays the price.

His widow engages Lance Weber on the lethal brief of reclaiming her inheritance from the very heart of war-torn Africa. Lance is on the run from the ghost of Bruun, a man believed by every authority to be dead, who is still killing Lance’s employees, friends, parents, drawing concentric circles of terror ever tighter around Lance himself. Lance wants no ivory but he is driven by the need to avenge the many innocent dead and to expunge the evil of Bruun from the face of the earth. Bruun has shown that he too lusts for the ivory, so Lance sets himself, the ivory — and the beautiful widow — as bait for the mad predator. Their violent duel carves a scar across the face of the globe, from Sydney to Kent to Macao, from the harsh red grit of Africa to the suppurating green lushness of the Opium Triangle.

— dust-jacket blurb by John Blackwell, from the original hardcover edition

It did not occur to Mpengi that men would die in Macao, the China Seas, Brussels, Tokyo, the Burmese jungles, Africa and the Kent countryside because the bellies of his children were empty. He did not know of these places.

What Mpengi did that would have such disastrous effects around the world, what he did to relieve the gnawing mouse in the bellies of his children, was simplicity itself. He wenr to the camp of the Englishman with the red face and the luxuriant white moustache and told him where to find the last six elephants in the world.

— from BLOOD IVORY by Andrew McCoy

What the critics said:

“Mr McCoy gets on with the job of telling us exactly what it is like in the Heart of Darkness. He has the soldier’s eye for terrain and the soldier’s eye for character. This has the ring of truth.”
John Braine/Sunday Telegraph

“Very rough, exciting, filmic, and redolent of a nostalgie de boue d’Afrique. Full of the rapport and affection for blacks experienced only by the genuine old Africa hand.”
Alastair Phillips/Glasgow Herald

“Like the unblinking eye of a cobra, it is fascinating and hard to look away from, powerful and unique.”
Edwin Corley/Good Books

“I found this work excellent. I recommend it as a book to read on several planes, whether of politics, history or just as thriller — every episode is firmly etched on my memory. It is certainly a most impressive work of fiction.”
“H.P.”/BBC External Service

“Like a steam hammer on full bore.”
Jack Adrian/Literary Review

“Something else again. The author has plenty of first-hand experience of the conditions he describes so vividly.”
Marese Murphy/Irish Times

“Totally convincing fiction.”
Colonel Jonathan Alford, Director, Institute for Strategic Studies/BBC World at One

“The reader is in good hands.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Even in an entertaining thriller he makes us see ourselves anew.”
La Prensa

“Graphic adult Boys Own Adventure.”
The Irish Press

“Well written by somebody who has lived the life: a cracking read.”
Grant MacNeill/Amazon

Buy it or get a sample at:
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Being first with the most for too long makes you old hat

A relevant and rather pointed pair of question were posted by Mrs B about the forthcoming 4th edition of WRITING A THRILLER. Mrs B demands to know: “Why does a successful textbook for writers need to be rewritten? Surely good writing is a timeless art.”

That’s a good point. Much that is in WRITING A THRILLER is timeless, applies to every novel and every creative profession. But the process of good writing is not “timeless”. It changes over time. And WRITING A THRILLER was the agent of that change in the last quarter of the 20th century. But now we’re in the 21st century…

I can give you an example, Mrs B. You go on to say, “I never saw the need for the second and third editions, which catered to ever more advanced writers. The first edition was a perfect eye-opener, and cheaper too because it was thinner.” We’re running the risk of conflating several matters here, so I’ll leave the desire of publishers for ever thicker editions for later. The phrase we want to focus on is “a perfect eye-opener.” From the mouths of babes… (No, I don’t know anything about Mrs B. I’m not referring to that sort of babe.)

On one of the Amazon sites there is a condescending review of WRITING A THRILLER, saying it is a useful book but there is little in it that the reviewer hasn’t found in other books. I laughed aloud when that review was drawn to my attention; I would bet money that whoever wrote that wasn’t born yet when the first edition of WRITING A THRILLER came out. Certainly, all the “other books” he refers to were written after WRITING A THRILLER.

When WRITING A THRILLER first appeared, it was a radical departure from the textbooks for writers then available. The preface explained why, and named the only other good book — in my opinion —  for writers then available, Writing a Novel by John Braine, author of Room at the Top. Writing a Novel was then out of print; it was eventually reprinted at my repeated suggestion.

Among other things, WRITING A THRILLER

  • Shifted the focus of the thriller from plotting to characterization.
  • Redefined the plot from a creaky mechanical contrivance operated by events to a structure driven by characters through the events they motivate.
  • Became the most quoted book for writers ever through its insistence on professional behavior for writers.

All of this is now commonplace because in the intervening quarter-century so many writers have followed where WRITING A THRILLER led. Your library shelves will demonstrate a big change in thrillers. All those villains, previously so many cardboard cutouts, now have proper motivation. In fact, I’ll probably burn in hell for being the impetus behind so many sympathetic serial killers!

So, Mrs B, a new, fully revised edition of WRITING A THRILLER is required because the first three editions caused a shift in the emphasis between the elements of good writing that now makes it seem a little old hat — because everyone else has caught up to where I stood a quarter-century ago. The new edition’s emphasis will shift to strengthen what has been made into general practice by the earlier editions, and address what is bad (a very great deal) about current practice. It will also have to address a vast new army of writers who unless they receive help will be empowered by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (new name of DTP) and Smashwords to publish before they are ready.

New challenges for a new century.