When I think of exceptional endings, there are a few that spring to mind…
Captain Jean-Luc Picard dealing out a new hand to his officers.
“Sam Beckett never went home.”
The final scene in Black Adder Goes Forth.
Saying goodbye is always hard, and I won’t lie or pretend it didn’t happen, but when I finished the final chapter of Operation: Endgame, I felt a lump in my throat. My eyes welled up a bit. I had to take a breath. It was over. Nearly a decade of writing, over half a million words, two wildly successful Kickstarters, a role playing game, hours of podcasts, and six books in print. Pip and I go into more detail on this in the latest episode of The Shared Desk, but yes, wrapping up the adventures of Wellington and Eliza was not easy. A part of me wonders if I was subconsciously making this book a little harder to write as this brought everything (mostly…) to a close.
Now I’m sure there are some of you out there are scratching your head, thinking, “Wait a minute — didn’t you launch a spinoff series last year?” and “Hold on, you two have been talking about spinoffs and sequels, so is this really the last adventure of the Ministry?” and these are legitimate questions. Let me go on and explain. Yes, you are right — we did launch a spinoff centred around Verity Fitzroy and the Ministry Seven. Pip is the driving force behind this series, and we are having a blast working in a period a few years before Christopher took over and Serena joined the gang. The adventures of Verity and the Seven feel less James Bond and more like the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, so we are enjoying a bit of fun with that. Yes, we’ve also been considering further adventures with other agents or allies of the Ministry. The idea of a trilogy featuring Bruce and Brandon, an unlikely pair that could probably get up to some goofy hijinks in the name of Queen, Country, and Empire, seemed to be the next logical step; but then a new character was introduced in Operation: Endgame that could prove quite a partner-in-crime with Sophia del Morte. Pip even came up with a working title: Death and the Falcon. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? So, are we done with the Ministry completely? No, we still have plenty of possibilities in this world. Of that, I have no doubt.
But when it comes to Wellington and Eliza — at present — their arc is done.
I’m not sure how people will react to their fate, but we knew this was going to be the direction and final destination for the two of them. We will give no spoilers (but it should be noted that this is the only cover where they do not share the front together), but bringing them to this finish was hardly an easy feat. On many levels. What we did know, without question, was that this was where these two were headed. Knowing a destination is one thing. But reaching it? That is entirely different.
If you were to ask me “Are you really happy with this ending?” I would respond without hesitation. This is how we wanted their exit to be. No regrets. No changes. No retcon. When you read it, you may think differently. For us, this is our own endgame; and hard as it was, it was time.
Sure, we can still enter this world whenever we want, and we will. This website is not going anywhere anytime soon, and we still have Verity’s story to tell. Maybe in the future we may make a reference to our Reluctant Secret Agent and Adventurer from Aotearoa in other short stories and books. After Operation: Endgame, though, things will be different. Very different. Change is not always bad, but without change, characters and situations become stale. We’re staying in this universe, have no fear, but it’s time for a change.
However, even as it is time, it doesn’t mean change is easy.
For Wellington and Eliza, the curtain will drop on their adventures. We have enjoyed this run with the two of them, but their story is over. We learned a lot about patience, persistence, and perseverance from this lovely couple; and the end result has been one amazing ride spanning six novels. We hope you have enjoyed reading this story of an Archivist and a Colonial Pepperpot as much as we had in telling it.
Now, we move forward with Wellington and Eliza in our hearts and new adventures to discover.
Thank you, everyone, for coming along with us. Maybe Operation: Endgame will join the ranks of Captain Picard, Sam Beckett, and Edmund Blackadder under great finales.
Let’s find out.