O’er Reaching Ambition started with an idea about people being hypnotised to attack those who stand in the way of their promotion or prospects. This is not immediately obvious since the first victim that Torchwood are aware of is Beth. How could Beth, happily running the tourist office that is Torchwood’s main secret entrance possibly be a threat to anyone, let alone stand in the way of their prospects. Why would an angler in oilskins possibly want to attack her?
Why would Garrett’s assistant, Robertson, attack him? There are some critics who think I ought to kill off Garrett, but it’s not going to happen. He’s a part of the storyline, now. He’s too smart to be killed in his own office.
The other killers and their victims fill in the picture. The idea that it is ambition that is fuelling this killing spree finally makes sense when it is revealed that the fisherman is actually a journalist trying to get past Beth to infiltrate Torchwood and get the scoop of his life. She was in the way of his ambition.
It is obvious that these people have been hypnotised, and it comes down, eventually, to the villain of the piece, Jason Reid, a television star illusionist who turns out to have some crazy and murderous ideas.
Now, I should point out that I was writing this story in early April of 2011, when Britain was starting to get a little silly about the Royal Wedding of William and Kate. About a week before the big day there was a rather over-romantic dramatisation of the romance between the royal couple, pure Mills and Boon stuff, and by all accounts, somewhat historically inaccurate. It did have one interesting scene in it, though, when the discontented William says that what he wants to do most in life is fly, and Kate tells him to follow his ambition. I had that scene in mind on April 18th and 19th when I was writing this story. Most of the second half was done on the 19th, during the build up to the wedding of the century. Because in all the fuss and bother about it all, the one thing I think is true about Prince William is that he really isn’t in any hurry to be King. Flying is his life’s passion.
Which makes him the one person in the whole of Britain that Reid’s hypnotism wouldn’t work on. He is in the perhaps enviable position of having already achieved the greatest ambition of his life. He doesn’t need to kill his father to get closer to the throne. That became the pivot of the whole story, of course. Jason Reid was convinced he had achieved the destruction of the monarchy and was prepared to die now that it had been done.
The problem, if there is one, is whether anyone really hates the British monarchy enough to want to do anything as desperate as that to destroy it. The motive is a little tenuous. Reid is also slightly Deus ex Machina since he only comes into the story halfway through when hypnotism is identified as the reason for the irrational behaviour of so many people. That is the weakest part of the story for me, but it seems to have been popular enough all the same.
I haven’t had any official comment from the
Palace! I guess nobody there is among my readership!