The third in the trilogy has to be the best, right? I don’t know. I certainly knew that this third book had to be everything I had learnt so far… and more. I knew without a doubt I really had to throw everything at it, and eek out just that little bit more from my heart too. For, reader, do not doubt this is a read which will put you through the blender and question everything you previously held true.

How this book was born will not become clear until I have given it some distance, as I have done with the other two, but I needed to write this little article to mark the occasion: to remind myself of what I have accomplished. That people enjoy these books always seems mad, to me, because I have enjoyed writing them so much, that that is enough for me! I love challenging myself, taking my mind into the dark recesses of my skull and journeying through time and space! That people enjoy these stories too is amazing. So, here’s a few hints of what you have in store in Beneath the Exile

I needed to answer three things again. a) How did a simple dressmaker really become a spymaster? b) What was the Ravage actually like? c) What other frightening legacy might Officium have left that we never could have imagined?

Now I am sitting on this 160,000-word conclusion to a journey that for me has been taxing, painstaking, life-changing, adrenalin-inducing, compulsive, developmental, inspiring, etc, the list of adjectives goes on… I feel an unbelievable sense of achievement. I can only liken it to when you get your exam results and you are so glad it is over, that the task is accomplished, that you got a couple of surprise results but it doesn’t really matter. It is like that. It is being glad you did it but still harking for it to not be over, in the deepest corner of your heart. For it not to hurt so much when you realise you may never feel so alive ever again. You admit to yourself that the challenge, the thrill of it that keeps you writing into the early hours, was everything to you and now it is over.

When reading Exile, you will lose all sense of time. You may feel like you have been to hell and back by the end of it. It jumps between decades, between continents and countries and several complicated, put-upon characters who have been placed – sometimes – in the most horrific, unpleasant of circumstances and situations. It is this depth and span of emotions, sprawling landscape, plus a whole load of twists and turns that makes me realise just what you can achieve if you set out with the thought, “I can do this.”

When I read the last chapter of Exile, I cannot help but get uncontrollably emotional. It is because… this trilogy is really one person’s story in particular. You may not have realised whose story, yet. When I read Chapter 77 of Beneath the Exile, I am reminded where I started. I am humbled. I look back to the beginning, immediately, and know I have come full circle. I realise the extent of the journey I have been on and I cannot believe what I have managed to do. So, all there is left for me to say is, watch this space… when the creative urge takes me again, we never know what else I might turn out. Until then, enjoy the Ravage. I think it might need re-reading to really absorb its entirety. You may well agree…

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