The Blood Tree
Now available as an ebook.
The Blood Tree marks the arrival of a couple of
new dimensions to the Quint series.
I had been planning for some time to get my investigator
out of Edinburgh. In the previous novel, Water of Death, there had
been a plot line linked to the supposedly anarchic city of Glasgow
and after three novels set in and around Edinburgh, it was time
to make the break with my home location. So over half of the action
takes place in the West of Scotland. Although Edinburgh and Glasgow
are not much more than forty miles apart, they are different worlds
even now, as any Scot will agree. Making Glasgow even stranger
than it is to a present-day Edinburgh citizen was irresistible -
so it is seen to be democratic rather than anarchic, it is a centre
of international fashion, handguns are available to citizens but
crime levels remain low, and scientific research is encouraged.
But in case anybody is missing the old Scotland too much, the city
is overrun by cults, the biggest of which is led by a latter-day
Macbeth who wants to reunite the country.
The other new dimension is a more high-tech vision
of the future. The first three books were resolutely retrograde
and low-tech, owing more to Orwells 1984 than Huxleys
Brave New World. That was a deliberate attempt on my part to distance
the books from science fiction. I like sci-fi movies (especially
Blade Runner), but I cant cope with the genres novels
- my fault rather than the writers, Im sure. On the
other hand, if you set your work in the future, itll inevitably
be seen as sci-fi by some readers and critics. So I decided to take
on certain motifs and themes of science fiction while keeping the
books firmly within the (admittedly loose) boundaries of the crime
genre. So in The Blood Tree the plot revolves around illicit scientific
research, genetic engineering and the rearing of elite children.
But its not as dry as it sounds. Quints
sidekicks Davie and Katharine are still at each others throats
and our hero is no more impressed by the rulers of Glasgow than
he is by those back home.