Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Part of the idea behind Drowntown was to produce a story with an almost Dickensian-sized cast, featuring characters from every strata of society, top to bottom. Over-ambitious as usual, we're nowhere near that so far, though it is only Book 1. 

Here's an introduction to some of our main players, tweaked slightly from the original outline we put together. Some of them would be fun to go for a beer with, others you'd be worried about making it home alive: 

Alexandra Bastet: The Empress of the Underworld, frighteningly intelligent and utterly ruthless. A master of Machiavellian manipulation, always at least one step ahead of her enemies. A beautiful, but terrifying angel of vengeance, on a relentless quest for retribution.

Alexandra Bastet: Deadlier Than The Male 
Leo Noiret: A downbeat, down-at-heel, down-at-everything Minder and hard-luck hero, who - no matter how much he tries to ignore it - remains plagued by the small diamond of conscience that stubbornly exists within him. Survival in Drowntown would be a hell of a lot easier without a conscience.

Leo Noiret: Hard-Luck Hero
Gina Cassell: A tough, sexy, cocky, reckless, irreverently humoured young adventurer - streetwise but with a touch of innocence - who uses her breathtaking skills with the hydro-bike and intimate knowledge of the flooded London streets to earn a precarious living as a courier/smuggler.

Gina Cassell: Hydro-Biker Courier
Vincent Drakenberg: The heir apparent to the Drakenberg Corporation, the world leader in both genetic engineering and environmental technology. A handsome playboy whose own romantic streak is under threat from the blunt pragmatism instilled in him by his father, an advocate of ‘kill or be killed’.

Vincent Drakenberg: Cool As They Come
Jeremy Twisden: A corrupt, but undoubtedly charismatic – albeit in a ‘man you love to hate’ vein – politician. A bloated, blustering, but genuinely cunning schemer – Boris Johnson rolled into Michael Winner with maybe a touch of Brian Cox (actor, not scientist) hamming it up villainously.

The Right (Dis)Honourable Jeremy Twisden

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Here are a few Background Notes about the 'world' of Drowntown that we put together for the initial outline of the book, although we had a slightly less snappy working title at that point. 

Not all the elements mentioned below have actually made it into the final story, but - never throw away an idea - may well appear in Books 2 or 3, or in other stories after that. Anyway, here we go: 

War and climatic upheaval have changed the world forever. Europe and the United States have been ravaged by rising sea levels and bio-warfare. 

London is a flooded metropolis, controlled by corporate, military and political interests. City life has adapted to the rising waters. 

The tube, the infamous underground rail network, is now a giant, eel-like submersible that navigates the flooded streets and tunnels. 

Water-taxis modeled on the old black cabs, sleek speedboats and submersible hydro-bikes are the preferred form of transport. 

Lush vegetation grows upon centuries-old buildings, making many areas seem like lost cities in an equatorial rainforest. 

The clientele of sub-pubs (submerged pubs) peer out into the sunken streets as if they are in an aquarium.

The wealthiest citizens are genetically altered, allowing them to breathe underwater and swim with superhuman skill. 

The majority of the population is trapped in the Depths, floating slum communities, some of which are even submerged, colonizing abandoned underground stations. Others live nomadic existences traveling the city in scavenger ships.

The Thames Barrier has become the Britannia Barrier, holding back destructive tides that could destroy the country. Gigantic aero-generators along the barrier generate power for the city. 

Corporations virtually rule the world, manipulating governments, and maintaining their own private armies and intelligence services. Subterfuge, sabotage and assassination are de rigueur. 

Genetic engineering practices, such as those pioneered by the Drakenberg Corporation, have manipulated evolution and transformed the nature of life as we know it today. 

Many species of animal have been given ‘human’ intelligence and assimilated into regular society as a hybrid underclass.

Adventurers and opportunists abound, determined to rise out of the Depths and earn themselves a better life, or die trying.

They live an outlaw existence, and are often hired by the corporations for missions or operations that require plausible deniability. Leo Noiret and Gina Cassel are two of these adventurers…


A glance at the flooded city of London in Drowntown makes it pretty apparent that the story we're telling draws to some degree on environmental issues and concerns such as climate change and rising sea levels, all of which seem to become increasingly topical with each passing year. 

We're obviously extrapolating these elements to a fairly fantastic degree to produce what is hopefully an entertaining SF adventure. In the name of accuracy and diligent research, however, I felt I had no choice but to investigate further over the Easter weekend, exposing myself to the dangers of ferocious seas and whipping winds... 

Photo: Deborah Tate

Photo: Deborah Tate
...and the dubious temptations of a UK seaside resort in the dead of what feels like winter, but is technically supposed to be the start of summer. 

The crashing surf at Robin Hood's Bay was much more spectacular than it's come out in that first photo. Honest. I've got wet trainers to prove it.