Tales of MI7: the future ending
Tales of MI7 is set to end with its eighteenth novel, towards the end of 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.
It may sound egoistic, but, 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!
For this reason, the series is set to end in 2020. The transition from one decade to another seems 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) - will be sixty-five then, and thus eligible for retirement.
The publication of the most recent Tales of MI7 novel, The BBC Hunters, brings the total number of books in the series to fifteen. Three more will make it eighteen.
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 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 evaporated. 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. He cannot be untethered. He grows old.
But then, we all do...