Book two, Tigers on the Western Front, of the Royal Zombie Corps series will be released at the end of August. It’s undergoing a final read through and the cover design still needs finalising. There are four books in the initial RZC series and the intention is to release each a month apart. So to wet the appetite of those who have already read the first book, here’s a teaser from book 2.
The story carries straight on from Blood, Mud and Corpses, and this teaser sees the characters returning to the camp at Étaples to work on a special project.
The journey to Étaples was far more comfortable than their original journey to the front had been. For a start, there was no fearful anticipation of the unknowns of combat on the front line. Furthermore, the train was not been overly crowded with them having their own carriage to themselves. In the locked mail compartment, there was a large sealed animal crate.
‘We’re going to find the girls when we get there.’ Morgan had been insisting on variations of this theme for most of the journey. Now sat in some sidings, waiting for the line to clear, the idea was beginning to wear thin.
‘What girls? You’ve been to Étaples and there were no girls.’ Simmonds explained, ‘Not a single one.’ He had rejoined the squad just before they had marched off with their special crate carried on a wagon. Despite being bitten by a zombie when they had first encountered them in the village, he had not turned into one himself.
‘There must be some. Surely those Canaries have them hidden away?’ Morgan argued, ’They’ve got every other luxury there. Why’d they not have girls there?’
‘Canaries don’t like girls. That’s why they’d not have any girls there.’ Simmonds explained, ‘They only like themselves don’t you know.’
‘There’s the fishing town?’ Morgan insisted, ‘Plenty of girls there.’
‘The officers will have them all to themselves, I bet.’ Simmonds suggested, ‘Even the fishwives I ‘spect.’
‘I’d let you know lads.’ Scott laughed, ‘But I’ve got to nursemaid you lot. So no trips to town for me.’
The time on the train passed slowly. At one point they had been delayed and rumours of sabotage or aerial bombing circulated. During that pause to the their journey, Wells had left the train, quickly returning with several liberated bottles of wine that he claimed he had traded for some cigarettes. The rest of the journey had passed quite merrily and without further major delay. The sheer volume of traffic moving towards the front lines had been impressive. Train after train of soldiers, supplies, and heavy equipment such as artillery, flowed past in an unending procession.
Finally the train had arrived at the railhead. It was dark and the rain was pouring down. The remnants of the alcohol in their systems provided little insulation. As the travellers unloaded their cargo, onto a wheeled wagon, the new staff sergeant introduced himself.
Tigers on the Western Front will be released at the end of August 2016.
The casualty rates were horrific for both sides, one advancing into a hail of machine gun bullets, the other crushed under the weight of artillery.
The Battle of Arras was meant to be a turning point in the war. There were stories, rumours even, of strange events. Stories that circulated among us Tommies, of a phantom battalion that battered through a hail of machine-gun fire, falling upon the Germans within unheard of rage. They called them Tigers.”
Oliver Gill. Captain in the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. Interviewed post-war for an unpublished research paper on the Battle of Arras, 1917.
I’ve been working on a new story for the last few months. In fact, this work in progress comes from an idea I was playing with a year ago, partly inspired by a series of interviews with World War One veterans published by the BBC History Magazine. The teaser above, from this new book, is actually the opening section, a fictional aural history interview.
I’m just working through the first draft of the first story. Provisionally the series has been titled RZC – wonder if anyone will work out what the initials stand for without any extra clues? The story is clearly set during World War One, introducing a new group of characters and a secret weapon known as Tigers. There are a variety of inspirations for this story, but I’ll keep them to myself for now or the teaser will give away too much.