TotenUniverse – Book 2
TotenSeries – Book 2
Alien Noise Corporation (2014)
Available free for Kindle, EPUB, PDF; paid for in paperback
The second book of the Totenseries follows the band’s return to the studio to record their first album since 1977. Hoping for privacy, the band endure litigation, Rob Wallet’s increasing madness and a powerful coven of witches from Bamberg looking for a book owned by lead singer Dee Vincent.
“I do not skulk around in corners. I’m strictly a middle of the room kind of guy.”
The entrance to the Conservatory looked bigger when you were walking in than when you were waiting for someone to come walking out. The building’s reputation and importance challenged Wallet to consider himself worthy, fit to be allowed through its portal. Except he wasn’t the one planning to go in. Raven had the responsibility and she was even less worthy. This was an old building, an institution, how would she cope with something as old and solid, trollopy, as this? Wallet shoved her in the back. “Just get in there and ask to see him. See what the reaction is.”
“What if they don’t speak English?”
“We’ve been through all this. You’re a foreign student, a weird, eccentric foreign student and you’ve come here just for his tuition. Nobody else.” He shoved her again. “Do your duty. Make your mum and dad proud.”
Walking alone in the shadow of Pendle Hill in Lancashire has an effect on you. Looming over Pendle witch country, its bulk and broodiness must have played a role in the suspicion and fear that led to the Pendle witch trials of the 17th Century.
It was during one such walk that I told myself I had to write about witchcraft, old school witchcraft with broomsticks and cackling. From this draughty stroll the first ideas for the second Toten Herzen novel began to form.
But being an international project I decided not to adopt the Lancastrian witchcraft, but head over to the nasty epicentre of the Inquisition: Bamberg, where over a thirty year period thousands perished in a prolongued succession of witch trials.
Bringing together two traditions of folklore, the vampire and black magic, offered a rich source of episodes and confrontations, but again the nod to European tradition became the vehicle for a contemporary story set in Bamberg, St. Petersburg and the English Lake District, an area I’ve longed to write about.
Toten Herzen Malandanti was also more personal than We Are Toten Herzen, with Rob Wallet’s story arc coming perilously close to being autobiographical. We’re the same age, would you believe, so it was bound to happen.
However, the big positive that came out of this novel was the creation of the Malandanti. I didn’t invent the word; Malandanti were evil spirits in the Friuli region of 16th Century Italy, but when the novel was finished I knew I was in possession of a concept rich in possibilities . . . and the Toten Series became something much bigger than I originally intended.