The human world is aflame with war. Nations clash with their neighbours, while the Kelvon Empire, bulwark of the human world, stands on the brink of civil war. The plans of the enemies of mankind to destroy human civilisation, to restore their own mastery of the world, are well on the way to success.

The people of Helberion have vowed to defeat those plans, though. Peace must be restored between the various peoples of mankind so that they can combine their efforts against their true enemy. Even while her country strives to avoid conquest and defeat at the hands of their traditional enemies the Carrowmen, therefore, Princess Ardria journeys to Carrow to meet with the enemy King in an almost hopeless attempt to persuade him of the truth. All her hopes rest on the assumption that he in an unwitting dupe of the true enemy, but lurking at the back of her mind is the fear that he may be all too aware of the truth, that he may have sold out humanity for the promise of personal power. If this is true, then all that awaits her at the end of her journey through fear and danger is imprisonment and the life of a hostage to be used against her father, King Leothan.

The Brigadier would help her if he could, but he and Malone, his former batman, are far away, each having their own missions to try and ensure the survival of human civilisation. Having completed his latest task, the Brigadier must race to join her, to assist and protect her, but will he reach her before she arrives at the palace of the enemy King? And will the Princess still have a country to be Princess of by the time she arrives there? Because even if Helberion manages to defeat the all conquering armies of Carrow there is another, even deadlier threat waiting in the wings against which there may be no defence...

Here is an extract from The Radiant War


     “I can walk!” said the man, although the evident pain in his voice made the Brigadier doubt it. “Put me down!”

     The Brigadier eased him gently to the ground, where he struggled to sit with his back against the brick wall. He looked to be in a bad way. His face was covered with blood and all his limbs were bent where the cartilage had given way under the barrage. He watched as their elastic resilience caused them to slowly ease back to their normal shape. As soon as his arms were usable again, he eased his shirt up, grunting with pain, and examined his battered chest, where the skin was also cut and bleeding. “Friends of yours?” asked the Brigadier.

     “Company enforcers,” the man replied, letting his shirt fall again. “Expressing their lack of enthusiasm for workers unity.”

     “You’re trying to create a union?” said the Brigadier in astonishment.

     “Of course not! I wouldn't dare! Someone must have overheard me saying that we'd be better off if we all spoke with a single voice.” He tried to climb back to his feet. The Brigadier reached down and took his hand to help him. “I was an idiot. I shouldn't have said such a thing to anyone, not even my closest friend!”

     “It was true, though,” replied the Brigadier, “and it’s worked in the past. Helberion exists because people stood up to King Vordan, tore the whole of eastern Carrow out of his grasp to form a new  country. If they could do it then, you can do it now. Where do you live?”

     “I can't go home. The two you left alive will tell their masters who it was they were beating up when you killed Grike. I have to get my wife and get out of town before they go there. She works in the Storkside Steelworks cafeteria.” He tried to stumble along the alley, wincing with every step. The Brigadier walked beside him.

     “Where will you go? Do you have any money?” He cursed his luck that this had happened. He had no business getting sidetracked like this. Princess Ardria needed him, he had to meet up with her in Bonewell, but he was involved now. He couldn't just abandon him and leave without making sure he'd be all right first.

     “We'll figure something out. First we've just got to out of the city, because of you! If you hadn't interfered, they'd have just beaten me up and left me. They would have let me go back to my life, thinking I'd learned my lesson...”

     “They were well on the way to killing you! I'm half inclined to take you to the hospital. You could be bleeding internally...”

     “No! Janice first!”

     “I've seen what blows to the body can do to a man. Some seem to get better, they're up and walking around, then they just collapse and die because something had burst inside them.”

     “Janice...”

     “You're no good to her dead! We’ll get a doctor to take a look at you, and while he’s doing that I'll go get your wife. Then, when we're sure you’re not going to die a mile outside the city, the two of you can go make a new life somewhere.”

     “She won't go with you! She won't go off with a complete stranger!” He was walking more steadily now, but that meant nothing. The Brigadier stared at his face, trying to gauge the colour of his skin. Was he getting paler as the blood leaked out of a torn artery to pool in his abdominal cavity? His face was too grimy to tell. His eyes were bright and alert, though, and he took that to be a good sign. “Give me something to say to her. Something to let her know the message comes from you.”

     The man looked as though he was going to protest further, but then he stumbled as his left leg buckled under his weight. It took him a moment or two to regain his breath. “Okay, okay. My name's Oliver. Oliver Parrett. I, er...” He paused as he struggled to think of something. “Okay, there is one thing. She's been scrounging food from anywhere she can find it and giving it to the orphans in Canvey Street. The authorities must not know she’s doing it! If they found out...”

     The Brigadier was astonished. “What objection could they possibly have to an act of charity?”

     “It shows she cares, and if you care about one thing, you might care about something else, like the cruelty of the guards or the corruption of the bosses. Anyone who cares too much, about anything, is taken care of. If you tell her that, she'll know it could only have come from me.”

     “Okay. Now where's the nearest doctor?”

     “Doctors want money.”

     “I've got money. Now where?”

     “Honey street. There’s a man there who knows how to keep his mouth shut. It should be safe enough.”

     Honey street was on the other side of the canal, and as luck would have it there was a change of shift underway, which meant that the nearest bridge was crowded with drab clothed, grimy skinned workers making their way to or from their places of work. The Brigadier's clothes made him stand out, and helping to support an injured man made him stand out even more. It was inevitable that he would attract the attention of the guards, but hopefully they wouldn’t have heard about the death of the company enforcer yet and he'd be able to bluff his way through.

     He was running various cover stories through his head when two burly guards pushed their way through the throng towards him. “What’s all this?” The first one demanded. “What's going on here?”

     “This is one of my workers,” said the Brigadier impulsively. He trusted his instincts, and some instinct, triggered by the man’s face, his expression of stupid brutality, kicked in now, telling him what to do. This man was a bully, and those who enjoyed bullying those over whom they had power were always afraid of those who had power over them. The Brigadier had to pretend to be a powerful man in the city. Fortunately, he'd heard enough Carrow voices by now for him to be able to imitate their accent with some accuracy.

     Don't volunteer information, that same instinct warned him. Volunteering information makes you look defensive. He had to give the appearance of confident superiority. Give orders, he thought. Everyone in this city, from the lowest to the highest, is conditioned to obey orders or face the consequences. “Help me with him!” He commanded, therefore. “There's a doctor on Honey Street.”

     The guards found themselves obeying before they knew what they were doing, and they took a shoulder each, walking Oliver Parrett between when while the Brigadier walked ahead, radiating power and natural authority. “What happened?” one of the guards asked.

     “Muggers. One of my best workers! Just pure luck I came across him! This man keeps the others in line like no-one else I've ever seen! Vicious, brutal! A born foreman! If he dies, I’ll turn the city apart finding the scum who did it! My men know to fear my anger. I'll teach them to fear it as well!”

     He sensed more questions in the minds of the guards. What was a factory owner doing walking the streets, rubbing shoulders with the dirty masses? They kept silent, though, and the Brigadier just kept on walking, giving thanks for every step he took in which they remained cowed and intimidated. This was dangerous, be knew. He felt as if he was holding a tiger by the tail. Every moment held the threat that they might realise how they'd been fooled, and if that happened the Brigadier would have to kill them, in broad daylight, in a crowded street. He didn’t fancy his chances for a long and happy life if that happened.