Dark Canvas, the third volume in my steampunk Fractured Empire series, is out in January in ebook and paperback. You can pre-order the ebook now. In the meantime, enjoy a brief extract here and reacquaint yourself with some characters from A Little Poison:
Lord Berendt reached across the table, his sleeve trailing through the butter. “This is your sketchbook?”
“Ah—” said Magnus.
“You must not look,” said Gisla. “It is bad luck.”
Lord Berendt’s face clouded. “You think we have not had our share already?”
He flipped open the leather cover. Magnus saw a look cross his face which, in its own way, was the profoundest compliment.
“I am no patron of the arts,” said Lord Berendt. “But these are most proficient. You have captured Gisla’s mild sweetness to perfection.” He turned another page and gave a little cackle of satisfaction. “And that is Hildegard’s prissiness to the life! I wonder that you got her to sit for you.”
Magnus chose not to correct him. “You might not want to view further pages, my lord,” he said, feeling a prickle of sweat on his forehead.
Lord Berendt took as much notice as Magnus had expected, which was none at all. He looked at the page in front of him expressionlessly.
“This is how you see me?” he barked.
“Ah—it is in the nature of a caricature.”
Magnus had exaggerated the length of Lord Berendt’s nose and chin, and incised deep lines into his cheeks. The eyes were set close together, the mouth a rat-trap, the prominent ears almost as long as the face. The effect was of strong character, craftiness and unvanquishable will. This was not the time to make the argument, but it was in its own way an excellent likeness.
“I am in no hurry to commission you to portray me,” said Lord Berendt.
Gisla was trying not to laugh, Styrbjørn peering over her shoulder to get a better look.
“Portraiture and cartoon are separate disciplines, my lord. You can be assured I would approach a commission differently.”
Lord Berendt sniffed. “We will never find out.”
I once had a girlfriend back in Scotland, Lorna, who was into astrology, karma, healing crystals and all that shite. She always said the universe had a way of knowing when you needed something and providing for you. In my experience, what it generally provides is a kick in the bollocks.
Tommy Chisholm is in trouble.
His dream life in Barcelona is unravelling. He’s broke, his writing career has stalled, and maybe it’s time to pack up and go home.
But then he’s recruited by an organised crime gang to help them rob an art gallery. His financial worries will be over at a stroke, and all he needs to do is seduce someone he’s never met.
Everything is going perfectly. Until he loses his head over the woman he is meant to be exploiting.
A Little Poison
Once the Fikingur sea-raiders of Haskilde were the most feared warriors on the continent. Now they are confined to a tiny duchy, ruled by a dying man whose heir is a depraved teenager.
Lothar von Schnusenberg has arrived in Haskilde to spy for the Empire, but his plans are overturned when he becomes the prime suspect in a grisly poisoning. Can he trust the enigmatic Asta and her prickly friend Edda, or are they luring him to disaster?
Tim writes fantasy and science fiction as Tim Stretton, and crime as T. M. Stretton. He has been published by Macmillan New Writing and TOR UK, as well as his own BattleCat Press imprint. Since 2019 he has been a full-time writer.
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