Today’s the big day! The Privateer – Alpha Protocol Book 3 is out today! The story picks up where book 2 left off, following our hero Jack Samson on his next adventure protecting human space from hostile aliens.
You can get your copy now at the following link:
Here’s the back cover copy to give you an idea of what it’s about:
The greatest threat humanity has ever faced lies beyond the frontier of its galactic civilisation, but dangers closer to home have been overlooked and allowed to grow.
As greed and personal ambition in the Terran Union push the common good aside, the Navy is forced to turn to unconventional means. Jack Samson is ordered to team up with former allies to uncover and destroy the rot eating the Union from the inside.
Chasing down a trail of smuggled alien technology through the Union’s underworld, they soon discover the web of treachery reaches farther than anyone could have expected…
To celebrate the release, I’ve put Books 1 and 2 – The Alpha Protocol and The First Officer – on sale for only $0.99. It’s a great time to get started on a series that I’ve really enjoyed writing, am very proud of, and has happily received a very positive response, even from my fantasy readers who aren’t usually interested in sci-fi!
You can pick up your copies at the following links:
I hope you are all keeping well, and that you enjoy reading The Privateer. Don’t forget you can always get in touch with me at email@example.com, over on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DuncanMHamilton/, Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/duncanmhamilton/ and Bluesky at https://bsky.app/profile/duncanmhamilton.bsky.social and let me know what you think, what you’d like to see in future Alpha Protocol stories, and if you’ve read anything good lately!
Finally, a request. If you’ve enjoyed my books, please tell your friends and family about them. Word of mouth recommendations are always the best way to get a book out there, and every little bit helps!
All the best,
I hope you’re all doing well. I’ve a few more updates on my upcoming Alpha Protocol installment today! First off, the title reveal! This third book in the series is titled: The Privateer – Alpha Protocol Book 3. I think that’ll give a bit of a hint where we’re heading with this one, but there’ll still be plenty of surprises in store!
My choice of excerpt is one of my favourite scenes, and it reintroduces us to a reader favourite character who was absent from book 2. Back by popular demand is law abiding citizen of the Terran Union, Kingston Smith!
‘I imagine old Alfie will be dropping a hot load in his shorts ‘round about now,’ Smith said, a satisfied smile on his face.
‘Does he think you’re dead?’ Samson said. In all legal respects, Arthur Kingsley, pirate extraordinaire, was dead and, in reality, had been even before the Union had chosen to allow Smith his new identity and a clean record.
‘Probably has his suspicions that I’m still knocking about,’ Smith said, looking up directly into the camera above the door and smiling. The door panel flashed green and slid open. There was a waiting room on the other side, filled with a number of comfortable-looking couches, not that Samson would get the chance to try one. Every seat was occupied by what looked like the full catalogue offering from Rent a Thug Inc. There weren’t any cybernetic implants on show, but that was the only part of Samson’s imagining this group failed to satisfy. No amount of expensive tailoring could make the collection of men and women in that room look like anything other than blunt instruments of violence. Judging from the way they were sitting, they hadn’t been here long. Mobilised in something of a panic, perhaps?
‘Blimey,’ Smith said. ‘Take a butcher’s at you lot o’ Hampton Wicks. Don’t you make a pretty picture. Your mummies dress you up in those bowls o’ fruit?’
Samson grimaced. He had to work through the words to decipher Smith’s slang, even though similar had been used in parts of his neighbouring home planet of New Southampton, but he could tell right away it wasn’t a friendly greeting.
Butchers… Butcher’s hook, look. Hampton Wick…don’t remember that one. Well, it’s definitely not a compliment…bowl of fruit. Easy enough. Suit. Samson nodded to himself, satisfied he had the gist of it.
Opening with an insult wouldn’t have been his preferred approach, but there was no taking it back now. Smith seemed to be laying on the rhyming slang thicker than usual. Was this Arthur Kingsley reemerging from the shadow of Kingston Smith? Samson wasn’t sure he liked the idea of that.
Samson realised in the moment of silent frozen tension that followed that Smith simply couldn’t help himself. He naturally responded to a threat with an insinuation of the same. In insulting them, he was telling them he was unafraid of them, but also inviting them to have a go if they thought they had it in them. Samson reckoned there were probably easier ways to do it, but it seemed to have worked for Smith so far.
Smith scanned the gathered goons, then stopped and craned his head for a closer look.
‘Billy?’ he said. ‘Billy Simpson? That you, lad? It is. Look, Jack.’
He backhanded Jack on the chest as though Jack was supposed to recognise this person. He still had no idea who Smith was talking about.
‘Billy Simpson. Gordon Bennett, lad. What have they been feeding you?’
‘Awright, Arfur,’ a chunky goon in a shiny suit with close cropped hair and a tattoo on the side of his neck—not that the description did much to differentiate him from the others filling the room—said. He spoke with a heavy accent that Samson recognised as belonging to New Portsmouth, the same planet Smith was from.
‘Thought you was dead,’ Billy said.
‘I am, son,’ Smith said. ‘I am. Back to life as Kingston Smith Esquire. Your boss about?’
‘He said we’re not to let you in,’ Billy said, looking uncomfortable at having become the de facto mouthpiece for the collection of goons.
Samson wondered how long it would take him to draw his pistol from the back of his pants, and regretted not having had the opportunity to practice it. He’d look quite the fool if he wound up dropping it. For all the few seconds afterwards that he was likely to live.
‘How’s your mum, Billy?’ Smith said, in an unexpected change of direction for the conversation.
‘Piss off, Arfur,’ Billy said. ‘You’re not gettin’ in. Mister Polter said to say he’s glad you’re up and about, and to apologise but he can’t do business with you and he’s not goin’ to see you. You don’t run things anymore.’
‘Mister Polter,’ Smith said, his voice dripping with contempt. ‘The cobbler’s awls on that fella.’
Samson searched his recollection for that one, but came up short. Again, not a compliment, he thought.
‘Now, I know Alfie thinks he’s a big shot these days,’ Smith said, ‘but tell me this. If I’m not running things no more, why didn’t that fella at the desk downstairs not let you know I was coming up?’
Samson did his best to keep a blank expression, but they had no way of knowing the receptionist hadn’t warned Polter. Might the goons only have realised Smith was here when the door buzzed and it was Smith’s face on the camera? Smith certainly seemed to think so, and was willing to gamble on it.
Billy shrugged. ‘Don’t know, Arfur. Not my job to.’
‘I get that, son,’ Smith said, moving farther into the room. ‘I get that.’
Samson watched him walk to the middle of the room and stop. Samson had read about circus performers of the past putting their heads into lions’ mouths. The image flashed into his mind now, but it seemed like a relatively safe pastime compared to what Smith had just surrounded himself with.
‘Tell me, Billy,’ Smith said. ‘Do you really think I’d have wandered in here unannounced with only my china plate over there for company?’
China plate…mate. Friend. Samson smiled to himself. He was getting the hang of this.
‘Don’t know, Arfur.’
‘You think I’m bloody stupid, Billy?’ Smith screamed. His face was bright red and the veins at his temples bulged.
I think that’s a good spot to cut it off, and I hope it whets your appetite for what’s to come! You can preorder The Privateer – Alpha Protocol Book 3 now, over on Amazon at the following links:
For those who missed it (probably due to my technical difficulties the week of posing, now sorted out, I hope!), here’s another look at the wonderful cover art by Fred Gambino!
I’ll have more updates in coming days, and a firm release date as soon as I know myself! Until next week!
I have a cover art reveal today, this time for the upcoming installment of my sci-fi series, Alpha Protocol. The cover was once again created by the sci-fi art master Fred Gambino, who also did the covers fro the first two books. You can check out more of his work here: https://www.instagram.com/fredgambino_illustration/
The only hard part about working with Fred is picking which of the versions of the artwork he sends on – they always look so great I get major doses of decision making disorder.
We always try to pick a scene that’s related to the story in some way, without it being too specific or giving anything away. Just enough to keep it connected to the story it’s representing, which I always think is fitting.
Here it is, I hope you like it, and I hope it whets your appetite for the book, which I’ll have more on over the next few weeks! The book itself will be out later this autumn!
WordPress seems to have done some updating to the image editing part of the site and most of my images aren’t displaying. Typical for the day of a cover art reveal! The image shows on my editor, just not on the published post for whatever reason. I’m working on it!
I hope you’re all keeping well! Feeling much better here now, and back to normal after a bumpy Covid experience, and am finally getting some words down on (digital) paper again!
Right now I’m working on the first book in my new fantasy trilogy, which has over run now by about 3 weeks, not counting the 3 weeks Covid laid me flat, so a bit behind schedule, although that’s not the worst thing in the world this late in the year, and its certainly something I can absorb with the buffers I build in. I’m still on track to write 3 first drafts this year, which will make it my most productive to date!
This book is a little way off releasing, probably somewhere around the middle of next year. As its set in a new world, the main story keeps building as I flesh out the world and the characters. It’s already double the length of my shortest book, and is set to go some way yet. I’m delaying it as it’ll take a lengthy second draft to get everything smoothed out storywise, and also to get all the world building detail I want in an organic way that won’t slow the pace of the novel. I’m really pleased with how its shaping up, but want it to be the absolute best it can be, which means devoting a little more time to it.
Next up in terms of release will by the third installment of my sci-fi Alpha Protocol series. That’s nearing completion now, so I hope to have more details about that in coming weeks. It’ll be my last release of this year.
In terms of fantasy, with the current book on a slow-cook schedule, I have something else that I’ve been working on in the background, but with a long term view of publishing. I don’t want to go into any more detail on that beyond saying this is a response to the messages I’ve received from people wanting more books in the Middle Sea world. I’d always planned revisiting it, but I guess that’s going to be happening sooner than I’d originally planned!
Lastly, in hobby news, I’ve another Malta Spitfire on my workbench, along with another historical miniature. I hope to have one of them finished in time for next week’s post.
Until then, take care!
Just a quick post this week, as I’ve still got Covid and am feeling pretty crappy! As the title suggests, The Demon Hunter is out in audio format today. Narrated by the superb John Lee, this concludes the Blood of Kings trilogy with what I hope you’ll agree is a thrilling ending!
It should be live at the time of writing, and you can pick up a copy at Audible here:
Or on Amazon here:
Needless to say, I’ve not been up to much recently beyond trying to stay hydrated and snoozing. I’m starting to feel better, so hopefully I’m coming out the other side of it now. After dodging it completely for 3 years, it finally got me! Now, I’m going back to bed! I hope you all enjoy John’s performance of The Demon Hunter!
I hope you’re all keeping well. Apologies for the absence of posts lately. After holding out for 3 years, we finally all caught Covid here, so have been working that through our systems. Not much fun… Happily, we’re all recovered now, and I’m hopeful that’ll be the last time we have to deal with it!
I’ve a painting post this week, as I don’t have much in the way of work updates having been sick for the last little while! I’ve had a hankering to get back to some historical subjects for a while now, and it’s only natural for me to start that with a Norman knight, or miles as they were also called. This was a particular area of interest for me when I was at University, and in theory I have a bit of Norman heritage mixed in with the various other flavours, so they remain a topic I like to dig into again every few years.
Around the time this model represents—broadly the 11th Century—the Normans were becoming a power to be reckoned with. Having started off as Viking raiders pillaging France, the king of the time, Charles the Simple, reckoned they made for better friends than enemies (the Vikings had besieged and sacked Paris in 845) and around 911 he offered them land in return for defending his northern coastline. This they did, and the Northmen, or Normans, gave their name to the region they settled—Normandy.
These settled Vikings gradually adopted local customs, a blend of Romano Gallic traditions and German Frankish customs, becoming something new unto themselves, while maintaining that same outward-looking energy of their Scandanavian forebears.
Although still ostensibly contained within the Duchy of Normandy during this period, Norman warriors and mercenaries had ventured as far south and east as Moorish Spain and the Byzantine Empire, laying the groundwork for future conquests. The warriors following William the Conqueror across the channel in 1066 would have been equipped similarly to this guy, as would many of those setting off for the First Crusade thirty years later.
This chap is from the Perry Miniatures range, and he’s been sitting in my drawer for a number of years now. One thing I like about this range is the high level of historical accuracy. That’s a little more commonplace now, but when I bought them over a decade ago, they were way ahead of the pack in terms of making period accurate figures.
The four panel spangenhelm with nasal guard is a good representation of what was in use at the time, as are the elbow-length sleeves on the mail hauberk, which comes down to about knee length. Armour at this time was a lot simpler and less comprehensive than what comes to mind when we think of a knight, but this model’s gear represents an important stage in the evolution to the ‘knight in shining armour’ concept that reached its zenith around the 15th Century.
The kite shield was adopted around 1000, replacing the circular shield favoured by the Vikings. Although the shape seems perfect for a horseman protecting his undefended left leg by holding it vertically, it is often seen being held more horizontally in the Bayeux Tapestry, providing protection along the horse’s flank. Perhaps it was just easier to hold that way at the gallop, or perhaps that’s how they actually used it. I suspect we’ll never know for certain! As for the design on the shield, it’s largely meaningless. Heraldry as we understand it didn’t really become a thing until around the 12th Century, with shield decoration being, for the most part, little more than that during the time of this miles. Historically notable individuals were known to have used different shield decorations at different times during this period.
This Norman miles is armed with a sword still in its scabbard and what passed for a lance back then. The lance was still only a spear at this point, rather than the heavy jousting implement it later became. At this point in time, lances were still used overhand as in this model, and as illustrated in the Bayeaux Tapestry, they were being thrown too! They were also, of course, used couched under the arm to put the full weight and momentum of the rider and horse behind the point, the technique that would later become the default style of use.
The sword would have been approximately 30 inches in length with a broad fullered blade with parallel edges running until they converged into the point near the end. They were designed to be used one handed, and the brazil nut shaped pommel was very popular during this time, although you can’t see it on this little guy, more’s the pity!
Last, but not least, the horse he rides was called a ‘destrier’, and being selectively bred and highly trained, they were hugely expensive. The saddle and stirrups were well developed by this period, affording the rider a solid seat in and the freedom to use his hands to crack skulls in battle.
I haven’t had time to do much painting lately, so there was an element of shaking off the rust in getting this guy painted. The horse is a new approach to painting dapple horses, but I reckon there are better ways to do it, so I’ll have to experiment a bit on that. I also wanted to put a bit more effort into the base, something I often ignore out of laziness but want to start doing properly going forward. I need to spend a bit of time getting together a better approach to doing this, so will be trying to make that a bit of a focus over my next few models!
I’ve lots more historical minis in the drawer, and hope to bring more of those out over the next few weeks. I hope to have some worthwhile updates soon, but it will probably be the week after next before that comes together. I’ll be back next week with another hobby post of a subject matter yet to be decided!
Until then, take care!
I hope you’re all keeping well! Sorry for the radio silence last week. It was a public holiday here last Monday, and I kind of forgot about all things work related!
I’ve got another Spitfire for your delectation this week. This time it’s another Malta Spitfire from one of the early deliveries to the island in the early stages of the siege. It was delivered as part of Operation Spotter on 7 March 1942 and is MkVb that was originally painted in the North African Theatre colours of Dark Earth and Middlestone (which I modeled last time, and you can see here: https://www.duncanmhamilton.com/plastic-paint-and-glue-mkv-spitfire-north-african-theatre/).
To a degree, this is something of a speculative colour scheme. When they got to the island in a camouflage unsuitable for the environment, the Middlestone sections were hastily overpainted with an unspecified dark grey. As the story goes, it was a mix of whatever they had on hand at the time, so picking out the shade of grey is a bit of a shot in the dark. I used a close approximation of Extra Dark Sea Grey (an official RAF colour at the time), so hopefully its as close as one can hope for!
I think it makes for a very attractive colour scheme, and it’s a shame it didn’t get used for long. However, when it comes to combat, substance has to triumph over style, and later models used different camo schemes.
Sadly, most of the planes that arrived on Malta with this delivery were, to the best of my recollection, destroyed within 24 hours of arrival. This particular one, AB264, survived, however, and was eventually passed on for service with the USAAF. As a result, the hasty overpaint had a chance to wear off, and as a result, if you look up profiles for this plane you’ll see ones with some pretty haphazard paintwork. I decided to model mine as being fairly freshly painted, as I prefer a lighter touch when it comes to weathering.
On to the photos:
That’s all for this week! I’m planning an updates post for next week, so until then, take care!
It’s a hobby post this week, as with all the excitement of my recent release, I don’t have a whole lot interesting to say work-wise! I’ve got a recently built MkV Spitfire kit from Kovozavody Prostejov manufacturer in the colour scheme for the North Africa Theatre of Operations.
I’ve always really liked these desert camouflage colours, and have wanted to make a model in this scheme for a while, so I interrupted my Malta Spitfire binge to do this one, consoling myself with the fact that Spitfires in this colour scheme were shipped to Malta, albeit to be repainted before operations as the colours weren’t suitable for combat over water.
A couple of interesting points to this model are the clipped wing tips, which helped increase the roll rate for the plane, making it a bit more maneuverable, and the Aboukir air filter (the air intake under the plane’s chin), which was fitted to the planes by maintenance units in theatre. They differ from the bigger Vokes filters which these planes often had fitted (which you can see on my last Malta Spit, the plane’s chin, essentially – https://www.duncanmhamilton.com/plastic-paint-and-glue-malta-spitfire-mkvb/). The Vokes filter caused a bit of a drop in engine performance, so the Aboukir installed design went some way to improving on that.
This was a really nice kit to build, and I’ve got a couple more stashed away for my Malta list. For the purists out there, I realise the Azure Blue unders are in a shade a bit too dark. This is quite a hard colour to find an accurate representation of across the manufacturers, but I’ve since settled on a more accurate match for the real thing, which I’ll use going forward.
Despite this error in detail, I’m really happy with how this one turned out, and it really stands out from the other planes in my growing collection of Spitfires!
On to the photos:
I hope you like this one! I’ll be heading back to Malta for my next one, and hope to get some wargames minis back into the production line too! Until next week, take care!
I hope you’re all doing well! This week’s post is coming a bit late in the day as I had an appointment with an overgrown lawn and an uncooperative lawnmower… 45 mins work expanded to 3 hours. 3 hours of my life I’ll never get back…
Anyway, back on schedule after a bit of a longer work day, and I’m only now getting to my Monday post (after taking last Monday as a post release break!). (If you missed it, The Demon Hunter – Blood of Kings 3 is now out, you can pick up a copy here – Amazon)
This week I want to talk a little bit about what I’ve got lined up next, now that the Blood of Kings trilogy is complete. I’ve a few things on the production line, but have been turning my mind to what my next big project will be, and where they will take me.
The first thing is the new series set in a new story world that I’ve been ideating for quite some time now. I’ve mentioned this a few times recently, but things are a bit more advanced now. I’ve actually almost completed the first draft of book 1 in that series, and I have to say I really can’t wait to show it to you guys. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written to date, and I think you’ll really enjoy it (at least, I really hope you will!). I don’t want to say too much more about it just yet, but announcements will be coming before the end of the year!
I’ve a couple of side projects that I want to apply some time to, something that I’ve been asked about a bit over the years, namely special edition hardcovers. It’s early days in terms of planning, but I’m hoping to do some limited edition box set hard covers, probably by way of a Kickstarter. I’ll have more details on that a little later in the year!
On the sci-fi side of things, I’ve been really enjoying writing the Alpha Protocol series, and intend to continue with that for at least 3-4 more books, depending on how the plotting work unfolds. I’ve also got another sci-fi series in the works based around an infantry unit, more on that early next year!
Finally, while clearing out some old backup drives, I discovered the outlines for additional books in one of my earlier fantasy trilogies that I had planned to write, but then my Tor deal came along and I moved on to other things. I’ve been reading through them, and want to rework them a bit, but I plan to write and release them, ideally over the next 18-24 months. I don’t want to say too much more about it now, but I have to admit I’m really excited at the prospect of getting to spend more time with some old friends!
Anyone want to have a guess at which of my 3 older trilogies I’m talking about???
All in all, lot’s to keep me busy, and lot’s of things that I’m really very excited about getting to work on!
Ok, it’s getting late here, so time to quit for the day! Until next week, take care!
Today’s the big day! The Demon Hunter – Blood of Kings Book 3 is out now! You can pick up a copy at any of the following links:
Here’s the back cover copy to give you a reminder of what it’s about:
Demon legions prepare to march across the land as Fanrac begins his grab for power. The threat grows so great it can no longer be ignored. The monarchs of the Middle Sea set aside their differences and ready their armies to make a stand.
Force of arms alone will not be enough, as countless heroes of history have discovered to their demise. Time is running out for Conrad to tame the power coursing through his blood and learn the lessons he needs to face his ultimate foe.
Discovering Fanrac’s long forgotten capital sets Conrad and his comrades, old and new, on a path to a final confrontation with an evil bearing an unexpected face…
To mark the release of the final book in the trilogy, The Squire – Blood of Kings Book 1 is on sale for only $0.99! If you haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet, you can grab a copy at the following links. The sale lasts for 1 week only!
I hope you all enjoy The Demon Hunter. It’s been a very satisfying story to write, hitting on many of the aspects I’ve enjoyed most in my previous Middle Sea books, and I very much look forward to entertaining you all with more tales of lands and characters old and new in coming months!