Humanity’s hope of salvation lies within a single laptop…
A mutation in human DNA means no one lives beyond nineteen. Scientists working to reverse this pandemic died before their Salvation Project was complete, leaving behind the results of their research in a sealed vault – the Soterion.
122 years have passed. The civilisation of the ‘Long Dead’ is almost forgotten, the Soterion has been burned to ashes, and communities of Constants are tormented by brutal tribes of Zeds. Cyrus, Miouda and Sammy flee their burning city with a laptop rescued from the
inferno. They believe it contains the key to the Salvation Project. But its batteries are dead, there is no electricity to power it, and murderous Zeds will stop at nothing to get it back…
10 Random Things about The Salvation Project trilogy
1. The first volume, The Soterion Mission, was commissioned by Fiction Express for on-line publication in weekly chapters. Readers were given a choice, expressed through voting, about what might happen next. For the paperback publication the book was re-edited and a prologue added. The subsequent two volumes were written and published conventionally.
2. The trilogy was initially set in Australia, though this was never stated explicitly. For vols. 1 & 2 I had a map of Australia on the wall to guide me, but by vol. 3, The Salvation Project, I broke out into a world of my own. Nevertheless, the place where the novel ends up – Lanskira – is a barely-disguised anagram of one of the most beautiful places on earth. It also happens to be where my editor comes from.
3. All three books, especially Revenge of the Zeds and The Salvation Project, were nightmares to edit. Spellcheckers went crazy with Xsani’s lisp and the extra Ss in Safid speech. And Zed-speak sent the grammar checker into meltdown. But never have I had such fun as when writing in all those strange tongues, especially those of Timur and Ogg!
4. I have deliberately made the books culturally unspecific. The names of people and things are drawn from a wide range of languages. I speak a little Arabic and used it for words like ‘Emir’. ‘Majlis’ comes from Persian, as does the name ‘Cyrus’. Roxanne was the wife of Alexander the Great and her physical appearance was inspired by the famous photograph of an Afghan woman on the front of National Geographic magazine.
5. The bizarre (and often vulgar) words of abuse that Timur uses – ‘volepizzle’, etc. – are inspired by Elizabethan English, Shakespeare in particular.
6. The Constant v Zeds division is a crude attempt to picture the good v evil that resides in all of us. The division begins as clear, with little or no overlap. Then, gradually, it blurs, first with Taja’s jealousy, then with Yash’s seizure of power and Sakamir’s defection to the Zeds; Xsani and Jinsha move the other way, from Zed to Constant.
7. I work in La Roche Sur Yon, France – hence the name of Roxanne’s settlement, ‘Yonne’. Cyrus’ settlement – ‘Della Tallis’ – also comes from the French (de la taillis). ‘Alba’ is an ancient name for Scotland.
8. I got the idea for the Safids when travelling on the London Underground and started wondering what a tube station civilization would be like. Pretty smelly for a start! The sunless subterranean venue also allows me to introduce the theme of racism.
9. I am often asked where the idea of the Zeds came from – walk through the average large city centre on a Friday night…! There is violence in the books – as there is in life – but I have tried to balance it with a good deal of humour. The Zed perpetrators of vile acts are always mocked and so ridiculously dumb that it’s impossible to take them too seriously. At least, I hope you won’t!
10. When I began The Soterion Mission I had no idea it would be the first book of a trilogy; but when I finished it, I realised it had to be. And yes, from then on, I was always moving towards that poignant ending that finds utopia in dystopia.
About the Author
Stewart was born in Buckinghamshire and educated in Oxford, Berkhamsted, Exeter, Bristol, and Orlando, Florida. He taught at a variety of institutions in Sri Lanka, the Middle East, the USA, and Britain before becoming a full-time writer in 1989.
With over 300 published titles to his credit, he is now one of Britain’s most popular and versatile authors. His output includes prize-winning books for younger readers, novels, plays, three librettos, a musical, and many widely acclaimed works on history and sport. Several of his books are illustrated with his own photographs.
Stewart also lectures in France and the UK, gives talks, runs workshops, and visits schools. He is an occasional journalist and broadcaster. His brother, Charlie Ross, is the celebrated auctioneer.
In his spare time Stewart enjoys travel, restaurants, sport, theatre, photography, art and music. He lives near Canterbury with his wife Lucy, and – occasionally – his four children and two grandchildren. Each morning he commutes 10 metres to work in a large hut in the garden.
by Stewart Ross
Giveaway ends June 30, 2017.
See the giveaway details