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Saturday, 15 October 2011

Ashes to Ashes: James Herbert's new novel now in limbo

What’s happening with horror author, James Herbert’s long awaited new novel, Ash? First it was listed for 2010, then 2011 and finally a publication date of Sept 2012 was set.The novel was said to continue the story of David Ash, one of Herbert’s best loved characters who has appeared in two previous novels, and for some time now fans have been eagerly talking about the new novel on Internet forums and at conventions.
However publisher, Macmillan are now listing the book as – publication abandoned, leading to speculation on the author’s health.  Amazon are still listing the book for pre-order but the book’s cover has been pulled.

This was the press release issued by Macmillian last year – Macmillan is proud to announce a major publishing event. James Herbert is Britain’s bestselling horror writer – a position he has held ever since publication of his first novel, “The Rats”, in 1975, which now widely accepted as a classic of popular fiction. He is one of the world’s top two writers of horror or chiller fiction, along with Stephen King. He is undoubtedly one of our greatest popular novelists. In March 2011, Pan Macmillan will be publishing a new novel, entitled “Ash”, which features one of Herbert’s best-loved characters, David Ash, the sceptical paranormal detective, first encountered in “The Ghosts of Sleath” and “Haunted” both Number 1 bestsellers. Ash is investigating a mysterious and secluded stately home, deep in the countryside. There have been reports from locals about strange goings on, they think it might be haunted …What Ash eventually discovers is truly shocking. Prepare to be chilled to the marrow…

The writer who still enjoys the position of the UK’s bestselling horror author, has not released a book since 2006 which seems strange given that he still has a large and loyal fan base. And given the on/off status of the new novel there are many rumours spreading  through the fan base – some are saying the author has given up writing, whilst others speculate that he may be suffering from ill health. There have also been unconfirmed reports that Herbert has had a bust up with Macmillan over the electronic rights to both the new book and his backlist.

Whatever the reasons for the continued delay of the new novel it is strange that no official announcement as been made, given that Herbert is such a high profile name within the horror genre.

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