‘Ingeniously plotted… A wonderful novel: funny and bleak, poetic and violent, action-packed and sensual’ – Historical Novel Review, Editor’s Choice
Before I began writing The Afrika Reich, I planned the two books that would come after it. Each would be standalone, but read together they would tell an overarching story.
In publishing, as with many of the creative arts, there’s a pressure to repeat initial successes. Although I understand the commercial reason for this, my concern is that it leads to doing the same book over and again. This holds little interest for me as a writer; I thrive on taking new paths. So when it came to the follow-up to The Afrika Reich, I knew from the start that I wanted a distinctively different story and mood.
The Madagaskar Plan sees less of the frenetic action of the first book, and a greater emphasis on the characters, politics and world-building. It was important that it had a darker, more serious tone. I also changed the relatively simple narrative structure of The Afrika Reich to a complex, interweaving one where different strands intersect and influence each other, often invisibly. [Spoiler alert] Globocnik, for instance, never shares a scene with Burton or Salois, yet his actions have serious repercussions for both of them. Some elements of the original book were quietly dropped: dambe and Burton’s missionary background are good examples. The conflict between Burton and Hochburg remains at the heart of this second book, but more than anything else I see it as a love story and a tale of endurance.
Obviously I didn’t want to alienate fans of The Afrika Reich, so there’s enough of the original in Madagaskar to keep them happy. I hope that they’ll relish the path I’ve taken with it. I also hope it will entice many new readers. So far the response, from both critics and the public, has been overwhelmingly positive. For myself, I can only say I think it’s a much better book than the first. If you’ve yet to read either of the Afrika books, The Madagaskar Plan is the perfect place to start…