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The Blood Tree

Now available as an ebook.

Author’s Introduction

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 Orwell’s 1984 than Huxley’s 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 can’t cope with the genre’s novels - my fault rather than the writers’, I’m sure. On the other hand, if you set your work in the future, it’ll 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 it’s not as dry as it sounds. Quint’s sidekicks Davie and Katharine are still at each other’s throats and our hero is no more impressed by the rulers of Glasgow than he is by those back home.

UK Hardback ISBN 034071705X published June 2000 
UK Paperback ISBN 0340717068 published November 2000

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