Here is the cover for the Gollancz edition of my new novel Airside, which will be published later this month.
The book is largely about the liminal and always slightly disconcerting experience of passing through an airport. All travellers are familiar with the fact that every airport has two ‘sides’. In landside we check to see if the flight is on time, or when it is likely to board. If we are arriving from a flight, landside is where we are able to pick up our luggage. Most of us don’t delay long in landside. Coming in we are anxious to get home. On an outward journey we hasten towards:
Airside. This is where we have to be electronically scanned, have our bags X-rayed, our laptop looked at, where we put keys and loose change in a tray, where sometimes we have to remove our belt, or transfer little tubes and bottles of harmless unguents into a plastic bag. We cannot proceed through airside without a boarding pass in hand, or a passport. Closed-circuit cameras are everywhere, and some of them are checking our faces against a database. There is a sense that at any time, for any random reason, we might be challenged by someone in a uniform.
Once through all that we experience the unique nullity of airside. Most of us feel a little disoriented or apprehensive while waiting for a flight. It’s not impatience, fearfulness or boredom. There is only one thing we can do in airside, which is leave. But it’s impossible to leave unless it’s on the aircraft on to which we are booked. It is simply impossible to go back the way we came from. (A misguided attempt to do so will lead to a memorable experience.) So we are there to do the only thing allowed to us — to wait in a state of suspense, a herded passenger.
Anyway, the story of Airside, the novel, concerns a young American woman called Jeanette Marchand, a famous Hollywood star. Jeanette flies into London Airport one evening, walks across to the airside part of the terminal and is never seen again. What might have happened to her is the starting point of the story.
The retail price of Airside is £22.00. Like all writers of books I hope, if you’d like to buy a copy, you will find it in a local independent bookstore. On sale from 25th May. Every copy sold through a bookshop helps keep the trade healthy. You know it makes sense!
If for whatever reason you have to order a copy online, here are the currently available deals. Pre-publication orders can be placed as follows:
Bookshop.org £20.90 (free shipping for orders above £25.00) – a commission is paid to a local bookshop of your choice.
Book Hive £17.39 (free delivery, or pick up from a named shop) – a commission is paid to a local bookshop of your choice.
Blackwell’s £19.36 (free delivery, or pick up from a branch of Blackwell’s).
Amazon.co.uk: £17.39 (free delivery with Prime). Amazon are also offering a Kindle edition at £12.99, and an audio book (read by the brilliant actor James Parsons) for £7.99.
Wordery: £18.00 (free delivery).
WOB (World of Books): £17.39 (free delivery in UK).
By the way, if you’re looking online, be aware that there is another recently published novel called Airside. This is by James Swallow and is described as an ‘unputdownable high-octane airport thriller’. Good luck with that. I would like to point out that it’s also fairly hard to put down my own novel, but I am far too modest to say that.