Islands of the Gulf, Volume One, the second novel of my Herbert West Trilogy, is now available on Smashwords.
When I finished writing The Friendship of Mortals, I suspected that a sequel was called for. Charles Milburn, the narrator of that book, wasn’t finished with his friend Herbert West, and neither was I. At the same time, I wanted to try my hand at a piece of writing set here on the west coast of Canada, in particular among the Gulf Islands. Why not combine the two elements and see what would happen? After all, I began writing in 2000 as a kind of experiment, with no set expectations.
The first task was to get Herbert West, renegade physician and amoral scientist, from New England to the Gulf Islands. For reasons I will not disclose here, he renames himself Francis Dexter and, with his former servant Andre Boudreau, undertakes a long journey — from New York City to New Brunswick and then via St. Louis to New Orleans. There, the two end up on a peculiar tramp steamer which takes them across the Gulf of Mexico, through the Panama Canal, and northward along the west coast of North America. The trip is not without incident, and at its conclusion, Francis and Andre find themselves on a (fictitious) Gulf Island called Bellefleur. There, the process of transformation continues — Herbert West to Francis Dexter, amoral scientist to country doctor, revivifier of corpses to… something else.
Because Islands of the Gulf is a long book, I decided to publish it in two volumes. Volume Two will be available in July 2012.