The World of Hannibal Smyth

It is the 200th year of the glorious reign of Queen Victoria and the map of the world is still covered by the pale pink of the British Empire. The Union Jack flies as proud as it ever did over Governors mansions and Viceroys palaces the world over. Peace and stability have held sway over the nations of the world for a hundred years, as Britain might, and it’s seemingly immortal queen hold the balance of power. With the might of the Royal Air Navy, and the wisdom of its gentlemen the world has never been a better place.

Oh, beyond the brass bosom of the clockwork Empress things may not be quite so fine. The Tsar of Russia’s Empire is no less tyrannical than his forefathers were. China’s invasion of Japan drags on with predictable brutality, and who can honestly say life is happy within the Dis-united States that were once America. But where ever the Union Jack sits aloft justice and peace run true for all good men. Well along as your British, a gentleman of means and have that stiff upper lip the playing fields of England lend a man.

This is the world of Hannibal Smyth, a world where history is not quite what it should be. A world which you might recognise all the same, though it is a world of airships, steam, diesel and Tesla coils. A world run by the cogs of different engines. A world with a history that stalled, spluttered and crept forward but never started running ahead of itself. Somehow world wars did not happen, the power of empire was never lost or put aside. But all is not right at the heart of the empire if indeed it ever was…

As for Hannibal himself, well as he narrates his own tale we find him facing his end, sitting in the condemned cell in the bowels of the New Bailey. Contemplating his last few hours and wondering if the guards only spit in his breakfast that morning. Things indeed look bleak, until he is visited by a mysterious gentleman from The Ministry, a gentleman whose name is a state secret and thus is known only as M. A gentleman who offers Hannibal the hope of escaping the gallows, if he ‘volunteers’ to run a little errand for the crown. Though it doesn’t take long before Hannibal starts to wonder if a short drop with a rope around his neck might not have been easier…

Hannibal is Flashman with Tesla coils, airship, cog wheel bionics, a healthy dose of satire and the obligatory H G Wells. His world is inhabited by an array of colourful characters, some of which the observant reader may think they recognise from their own world. The author would like to point out that these are entirely fictional creations and in no way is, for example, Bumbling Johnson, the floppy-haired Viceroy of India loosely based on any real-life British politician…

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Hannibal Smyth, Erstwhile Gunnery officer with the Royal Air Navy first appeared in the novella A Scar of Avarice in 2018 (now featured in the anthology ‘Cheesecake, Avarice & Boots) when he dropped by for a drink in that most unique of bars Esqwiths Passing Place, the piano bar and grill whose doors open to anywhere and indeed anywhen. Drop by been somewhat literal in this case as he fell off an airship over the Indian ocean. There he tells a tale to Richard the Piano Player over a couple of pints of good brown beer and a packet of pork-scratchings. A tale, oddly enough, of Avarice, which leads to Hannibal gaining a rather unfortunate scar.

He is now back, in his own series of novels, The Hannibal Smyth Misadventures. The two books ‘A Spider in the Eye’ and ‘From Russia With Tassels’ are available in paperback and of course those newfangled E-books…. The third book ‘A Squid on the Shoulder’ will be out in winter 2020.

Beyond Hannibal himself this is also the Maybe series set in the same universe somewhat early in the time line. 

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