Tales of MI7: one person's portrait of a decade.

Tales of MI7 ended with its eighteenth novel, in November 2020.

The year 2010, in the UK, saw the general election which became the chief focus of the first book in the Tales of MI7 series. The Kramski Case was written alongside real-time developments in the various party political campaigns leading up to May 6th.

Since then, the series has dealt with most of the other major British issues of the day (always slightly re-imagined, of course), and has striven to reflect the accompanying national conversation whilst acknowledging the complexity of the deeper moral issues. The Girl from Kandahar was written in 2011 and dealt with the UK's involvement in Afghanistan; The Eastern Ukraine Question (2014) focused on Putinesque imperialism; The Social Magus (2015) looked at the British electorate's declining faith in Parliament, and so on.

In many ways, the series was always intended as the record of one writer's response to the political and social world surrounding him, and nearly all the books - the sole exception is Our Woman in Jamaica - were written contemporaneously with the here-and-now events which they include. A kind of diary, but of a very eccentric nature!

Partly for this reason, the series came to an end in 2020. The transition from one decade to another seemed a natural place to draw a line, and Ruby Parker - the central character of the series (and the only individual to feature in all books) - was sixty-five then, and thus eligible for retirement.   

There are reasons for the number eighteen. Originally, the author wanted to write fourteen John Mordred books to match the number of Ian Fleming's James Bond books (twelve novels and two collections of short stories). Everything about that ambition, with the exception of the precise number of Mordred novels, has now gone. John Mordred is nothing like James Bond, not the least of their differences being that Bond is timeless, and never ages, whereas Mordred is rigidly tethered to the second decade of the 21st century.

... Or is he? 😉