Young Adult horror author Darren Shan has "sneak-released" digital versions of his new Archibald Lox series months early, in order to "offer fans escapism" in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The author has self-published three titles as e-books with the first, Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds, available for free. The series revolves around the titular Archie Lox, a "powerful locksmith and uses his powers to cross worlds into a strange universe known as the Merge, a place full of wonder but also of grave danger". The print versions of the three titles will be released around their original September 2020 publication date. Shan may still self-publish the physical versions, though he said he was in talks with publishers taking over the print releases, "though nothing is concrete yet".
Shan said: “I’ve been working on this new series for a good while and had intended to launch in autumn 2020, but when people were forced to hole up due to coronavirus, I thought I’d release the books sooner, to hopefully bring a bit of cheer into the lives of some readers who have liked my previous series.”
The author has shifted more that £20.7m through Nielsen BookScan since he first published Cirque du Freak (HarperCollins Children's Books) in 2000. His most recent series was the Zom-B titles, published by Simon & Schuster. He also writes adult titles under the Darren Dash pseudonym.