New Outer Spheres artwork by Rowena Candy

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In ‘The Outer Spheres’, Charity Freestone is aided by characters who were previously antagonists. One is a special forces operative called 23, who becomes Charity’s heavily armed fairy godmother.

The protean 23 is never encountered in person; Charity doesn’t even find out what she looks like. Instead, 23 appears as a giant cannon, a warship or a ghost-like figure made of tiny orange 23s, which digital artist Rowena Candy has captured here.

In the foreground is the other key ally in ‘The Outer Spheres’, a character who only appears in one chapter of ‘Sons of the Crystal Mind’.

Given the twist in the first novel, she had to return for the second, during which I fell so in love with her that she will be the protagonist of the next Diamond Roads novel, ‘Beautiful Gun’.

It is of course grumpy superwoman Ashel 5, she of the awesome physique, mad staring eyes and conspicuous lack of navel.

As with Rowena’s images for ‘Sons of the Crystal Mind’ it’s great to physically see characters who have lived in my head for so long.

‘Beautiful Gun’ will be out on 8 December 2017.

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