FIRST LOOK: The cover art for TimeStorm

Here’s a first look at the cover art for Steve Harrison’s epic adventure story of revenge, survival and honour, TimeStorm.

In 1795 a convict ship leaves England for New South Wales in Australia. Nearing its destination, it encounters a savage storm but, miraculously, their battered ship stays afloat and limps into Sydney Harbour. Here, the convicts rebel, overpower the crew and make their escape, destroying the ship in the process. Fleeing the sinking vessel with only the clothes on their backs, the survivors struggle ashore. Among the escaped convicts, seething resentments fuel an appetite for brutal revenge against their former captors while, for their part, the crew attempts to track down and kill or recapture the escapees. However, it soon becomes apparent that both convicts and crew have more to concern them than shipwreck and a ruthless fight for survival; they have arrived in Sydney in 2017.

This thrilling adventure is set in a strange new world of unfamiliar technology and equally unfathomable social norms. In the literary footsteps of Hornblower, comes Lieutenant Christopher ‘Kit’ Blaney, an old-fashioned hero, a man of honour, duty and principle, dragged into the 21st century… literally.

Artwork by Alison Buck, based on a photograph by nodff/
Artwork by Alison Buck, based on a photograph by nodff/

A great fan of the grand seafaring adventure fiction of CS Forester, Patrick O’Brien and Alexander Kent, and modern action thriller writers such as Lee Child, Steve Harrison combines several genres in his debut novel. The book was inspired by a replica 18th century sailing ship on Sydney Harbour and a question from Steve’s brother, Tony: “What if that was a real convict ship?” TimeStorm explores that question in a fast-paced story as a group of desperate men from the 1700s clash in modern-day Sydney.

Even before the book has been published, TimeStorm has already been Highly Commended in the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards for 2013, Jim Hamilton Award in the fantasy/science fiction category, for an unpublished novel of sustained quality and distinction by an Australian author.

“When we first discussed the cover with Steve, he had seen some oil paintings of ships in a storm that had helped inspire him, but none were quite right for the cover we had in mind. Then we found an image of a ship just before the crew realise they’re about to be storm-tossed and it was immediately obvious that it would be the perfect basis for the cover. After Alison had worked on it, it was perfect – even to the inclusion of the Marlin’s companion ship the Fortune just visible in the background with her sails looking for all the world like Sydney Opera House. We showed it to Steve and his response was ‘Wow’.”

TimeStorm will be published by Elsewhen Press this summer.