The Princes of the West

Steam Highwayman: The Princes of the West is the fourth volume in my open-world gamebook series and, just as you’d expect, it’s the most advanced I’ve yet written. I don’t go backwards!

My writing screen when I’m drafting

Set in Imperial Devon and the breakaway, lawless Free Cornwall, there are new dynamics at play for the Steam Highwayman. In the west, you can rob and steal, just as you did in the woods near Marlow and Henley. But cross the border into Free Cornwall and you have a dangerous game to play… Will you become a Constable’s nark and inform on the warlords who dominate the Cornish? Will you play both ends to the middle? Whom will you favour in the rivalry between the powerful Princes of the West?

First of all, there’s Arthur Penrose – a visionary, romantic leader, with the hearts of the common people. But he’s old, and his conciliatory attitude towards the Guilds infuriates his rivals.

Another shot of my writing screen.

Then there’s Linda Tremalley – the fiery leader of the Cornish independence fighters, training to repel the eventual Imperial invasion through guerrilla tactics. She has a soft spot for the old man, but no tolerance for the Guilds.

Bad Percy dominates the far west of Cornwall. Wild and violent, he loves destruction, hates all of the Guilds equally, and is clearly planning to replace Penrose when he can. Can you ride the tiger, or will you earn his wrath?

And Terrence Kneebone is the mastermind behind the biggest smuggling operation in the west. He counts on the allegiance of the shady dealers, the importers and the many who depend on his connections for their profit and livelihood. They say his craft can steam underwater…

Suddenly, life isn’t so simple anymore. Where can you hide? Whom can you trust? Who will surrender you to the Guilds, their rival, or a mob?

The Princes of the West has been my main writing project since October 2023 and I’ve been tracking my progress. I’m aiming for a gamebook of at least 150,000 words or 1500 passages – similar in size to Highways & Holloways or The Reeking Metropolis – to do justice to the ideas and the location. Once written, I hope to spend a really serious amount of time working with the community of readers and supporters who have begun to gather around Steam Highwayman to eliminate bugs and typos, optimise the gameplay and deliver one of the best open-world gamebook experiences/ ever written.

Interested? Subscribe here on my website to get updates and hear what I’m writing. Not yet begun an adventure on the midnight road? Head over to my new shop to buy direct and support this independent author without passing all your money to Amazon.

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