Welsh had previously revived the character in an exclusive story penned for The Big Issue in 2013 titled He Ain’t Lager – a tale of the violent and unpredictable Begbie’s rehabilitation through art and falling in love.
In He Ain’t Lager, Begbie – played by actor Robert Carlyle in Danny Boyle’s 1996 screen adaption of the 1993 novel – visits his family at Christmas after getting out of prison and the story features his homeless brother, Joe.
The Blade Artist continues to show Begbie’s softer side. Now going by the name of Jim Francis, he’s finally found the perfect life in California.
“A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters, in an affluent beach town in California,” the book’s description reads. “Some say he’s a fake and a con man, while others see him as a genuine visionary.
“But Francis has a very dark past, with another identity and a very different set of values. When he crosses the Atlantic to his native Scotland, for the funeral of a murdered son he barely knew, his old Edinburgh community expects him to take bloody revenge. But as he confronts his previous life, all those friends and enemies – and, most alarmingly, his former self – Francis seems to have other ideas.
“When Melanie discovers something gruesome in California, which indicates that her husband’s violent past might also be his psychotic present, things start to go very bad, very quickly.”
The Blade Artist is due for release in April 2016.