Monday, 17 September 2012

A final word from Johnny O'Brien

To mark the release of the final instalment of the Jack Christie Adventures earlier this September, Johnny O'Brien has written us a post about the series, and how he feels now it has come to a close...

Phew! The last in the Jack Christie series, Day of Rebellion, is now out and I’ve got to say it looks great with that burning Chinese Zeppelin with the dragon motif crashing to the ground.

So, after four books and a thousand pages that have taken Jack and his mate Angus backwards and forwards through time to some of the most amazing bits of history: the First World War, the Second World War, the Spanish Armada and, now, in Day of Rebellion, to Imperial China and the Taiping Rebellion - we’re just about done. I’ve got to say I’m sorry to see the last of Jack and Angus and all their friends, both real and imaginary. Along the way, Jack has found himself in the gun barrel of HMS Dreadnought, dropping from a cable car in the Alps, witnessing the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, performing to Elizabeth 1st at Hampton Court, in the crow’s nest of Drake’s flagship at the Armada, watching the launch of a V2 rocket, piloting a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain and much, much more...

 If you’ve missed out on the fun, here’s a quick summary to bring you up to date on the story so far:

The Jack Christie series kicked off with Day of the Assassins. It’s based around the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 which triggered the First World War. Jack and Angus have to make a choice – whether to intervene and stop the First World War. What fascinates me about this period is how the First World War, which ended in nearly ten million deaths and changed the world, almost didn’t happen. The build up to the war is a mixture of comedy, farce and tragedy... one that might easily have been avoided – and I suppose that is the central idea of Assassins.

The next book is Day of Deliverance and is based in Elizabethan England around the time of the Armada. This is a fantastic period of history. Not only have you got the great political and religious turmoil of the age but you have this incredible artistic renaissance – Shakespeare, Marlowe and much more besides. Again, you’ve got a big historical turning point – the defeat of the Spanish Armada - which of course is one of the great stories in European history and features in the book. Again, Jack and Angus get embroiled and have to save Elizabeth 1st from assassination and then lend a hand at the Battle of Gravelines during the Armada.

The third book is Day of Vengeance which takes Jack and Angus back to the Twentieth Century and the Battle of Britain, the defeat of France in 1940 and Hitler’s visit to Paris (which you can see astonishing actual footage of on YouTube – very spooky and sinister). The Second World War also changed the world and was the worst military conflict of all time. In some ways, a lot of our history since then has been about people trying to make sure it never happens again. Jack and Angus end up with the French resistance and have to foil a Nazi vengeance attack on Britain.

That brings us up to date. The topics in the first three Jack Christie Adventures involve Jack and Angus in better known bits of history. For that reason, in the last in the series, Day of Rebellion, we go somewhere a bit different - China.

This story features the Taiping Rebellion. Never heard of it? Well you have now. It was a civil war in China about a hundred and fifty years ago and more people died in it than in the First World War. In the book, Jack’s dad disappears and Jack and Angus end up tracking him to a strange ice-bound future where China has evolved into a global superpower. They discover that something in the past has caused the future to change and Jack and Angus must go back in time to discover the ‘point of divergence’ that has caused time to split and the future to change. They travel back to 1860 Shanghai and find themselves in the midst of the bloody Taiping Rebellion and a world of Chinese warlords.

However, they also discover that nineteenth century China is not what they imagined it to be. There is an odd mixture of technology which shouldn’t exist – guns, tanks and aircraft – all strangely mixed in to a traditional Chinese world. Something has happened to cause this and Jack and Angus must find the answers. They become pawns in the battle between the Taiping and the Imperial Chinese dynasty. They have to save themselves and next they must fin Jack’s father and then work out what has caused the future to change... That’s probably all I should give away.

Finally, a big thanks to all my readers and everyone who has supported Jack and Angus in their time travelling escapades through some of the most exciting and colourful parts of history. It’s been a blast.

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