Advent is fourteen days old. The Santa Wars rumble on. 

Claus weeps, a shell of his magnificent former self. The sherry is gone, and with it his resolve. The Red One is inconsolable. Even one of Mrs Claus’s honey-cured hams can’t alleviate his malaise.

Across the Claus Compound the massed ranks of loyalist troops listen to the wails of their glorious leader. Sergeant Merrymittens, a legend among his troops, orders them to stand down.

‘Go back to your gingerbread cottages men,’ he says. ‘Wrap a present. Build a toy. Roast a bird. Enjoy the old ways while you still can. There will be no war today, but it’s coming, mark my words.’

In a dark corner of the compound, a lone elf slips through the guards and sprints off into the night, carrying with him news of the decline of Claus…


Where is this story going, exactly? We don’t know. Maybe you do. We’ll surely all find out soon enough, though. We anticipate some kind of resolution come Christmas Day, for some reason..

In the meantime, would you like to win an ARC of Clifford Beal’s excellent new sea-faring fantasy The Guns Of Ivrea? Of course you would!

To enter, either head over to Twitter and retweet us, or email with the word IVREA as the subject title. Good luck!