Is Strike6’s Title ‘The Last Cries of Men’?

Patricio Tarantino of The Rowling Library shared with me last night his discovery of the trademark for The Christmas Pig being registered in 2012. I was delighted to have this information because it supports my theory that this story was in long development, and was the novel described in the Q&A on her website.

The company that registered the trademark is Shastan Ltd, and after checking with Companies House in the UK it appears it’s sole purpose was to register this trademark with no obvious link to Rowling. This is the same tactic used for registering the trademark for The Ickabog, using in that case Portree Regent Ltd. Both Shastan and Portree Regent share a director, and Professor Granger suggested looking at the other companies this director is listed for.

Then things started getting really exciting. Join me after the jump to learn about a possible title for the next Cormoran Strike novel, one trademarked in 2015: The Last Cries of Men.

By cross referencing the 56 companies this Director is listed for, with the UK trademarks database and removing any results where either no trademark is listed, or the trademark is clearly commercial leaves:

Shastan Ltd: The Christmas Pig

Tellyscopic Enterprises: Love Stories for the Rich and Desperate

Bluejune Ltd: The Last Cries of Men

Portree Regent Ltd: Ickabog and The Ickabog

We now know that both The Ickabog and The Christmas Pig are books by J K Rowling. Love Stories for the Rich and Desperate and The Last Cries of Men are entirely unknown. Remember that a month ago, The Christmas Pig would seem a very unlikely title for a new blockbuster J K Rowling novel. The next step in the investigation is to find out if there is any additional information that might suggest these are potential new works by JKR.

Searching for the exact phrase “Love stories for the rich and desperate” only returns various trademark applications from around the world, so perhaps not reluctantly, I am assuming the null hypothesis and concluding this is not a Rowling work.

Searching for the phrase “The last cries of men” however almost exclusively points to John Donne‘s Devotion Upon Emergent Occasions. One of the few works published during his lifetime, it is a highly structured book consisting of 23 parts, each including a Meditation, an Expostulation and a Prayer. This a book written in 1623 as he was recovering from a very serious illness. The trademarked text come from Meditation VI, and talks of his fear of his illness and compares it to his fear of death.

A man that is not afraid of a lion is afraid of a cat; not afraid of starving, and yet is afraid of some joint of meat at the table presented to feed him; not afraid of the sound of drums and trumpets and shot and those which they seek to drown, the last cries of men, and is afraid of some particular harmonious instrument; so much afraid as that with any of these the enemy might drive this man, otherwise valiant enough, out of the field. I know not what fear is, nor I know not what it is that I fear now; I fear not the hastening of my death, and yet I do fear the increase of the disease.

After The Faerie Queene in Troubled Blood, John Donne seems just the kind of author J K Rowling would choose for book 6 of the Cormoran Strike series. Could The Last Cries of Men be the title of a new book? Will we have John Donne epigraphs to look forward to? Am I just tilting at windmills? Let me know with your comments down below!


  1. Joanne Gray says

    A wonderful and very interesting find! It does seem to fit with one of my own thoughts while reading the fifth book, Troubled Blood, and the prominence given to the disease of cancer. The fact that, not only Cormoran’s Aunt Joan and estranged father, Jonny Rokeby were suffering from cancer, but that Strike’s own constant smoking (even more than in Career of Evil!) was being remarked upon by those around him, like the fates in a Greek chorus, warning him how dangerous it was as an amputee. It became to me like like a flashing red light throughout the book.

    I couldn’t help thinking that surely book 6 will have to address this prior set-up and now it seems this title (if it turns out to be true) could very well point to that scenario. Maybe it will be this shared brush with death, that provides father and son with the mutual push to begin the communication necessary to heal?

  2. Could The Last Cries of Men be the title of a new book?

    I think you have demonstrated that it could be. The trademark having been filed follows the precedent you and Patricio discovered with the Christmas Pig and Donne is very much a Strike epigraph possibility given the Revenge drama sources of ‘Silkworm’ and Spenser’s ‘Faerie Queen’ for ‘Troubled Blood.’ This is a very exciting find!

    Will we have John Donne epigraphs to look forward to?

    You have demonstrated, as noted, that it is a possibility, certainly one that I hope more than I want to admit is true (the alternative to date, you’ll recall, is Marilyn Manson). I’m afraid, though, that all we can do at this point is hope — and, maybe, like Joanne has done, speculate what an ‘Emergent Occasions’ Strike novel might be. ‘Rokeby Emergent’ with ‘intimations of mortality’ to twist Wordsworth seem as likely as not.

    Am I just tilting at windmills?

    Well, it is the most informed guess we’ve had to date. It’s much more credible than the tattoo and roses connection is for Manson, if the male/female theme that pervades the series is a strong pointer to ‘Marilyn Manson’ as each of those names was chosen as a marker of gender spectrum icons. Your guess, though, is an edifying one so I’m cheering for it!

  3. What year was The Last Cries of Men trademarked? And were there trademark dates for the other Strike books?

  4. Nick Jeffery says

    Thank you Joanne! It’s very encouraging that it fits your theory. This the first time I’ve read John Donne, but he does seem a wonderful source of epigraphs.

  5. Nick Jeffery says

    Thanks for your question Karol! All of the books have trademarks in the UK database:
    Troubled Blood – Sept 2018
    Lethal White – Jul 2015
    Career of Evil – Apr 2014
    The Silkworm – Jul 2013
    The Cuckoo’s Calling – Jun 2012

    The Last Cries of Men – Sept 2015
    Which means The Last Cries is out of sequence, a contra-indication, but not necessarily a fatal one. There is much scope for further study in trademarks for both Strike and Potter universes.

  6. Karol Jay says

    Thanks! If JKR is working towards a big idea, it would make sense to stake a claim. She may have changed up her plans, too.

  7. Nick Jeffery says

    A correspondent of Prof Granger has identified an omission, and I think an important one:

    Pharoah Investments Ltd: The Ink Black Heart

    The company has the same director and the trademark was registered in March 2019.

  8. Louise Freeman says

    “The Ink Black Heart” certainly sounds literary, and could point to another book-themed mystery, a la The Silkworm, as well as echoing the Chamber of Secrets/Half-blood Prince connections.

    Interestingly, we have heard smatterings of two books that could relate to Strike’s past: Jonny Rokeby’s autobiography and the biography of Leda Strike that Whittaker claimed to be planning. Granted, Whittaker is probably too drug-addled to compose a coherent sentence, but, after the American Bar incident, I could see Carl Oakden seeking him out for a collaboration.

    I wonder if the Strike 6 mystery could involve Strike getting a peek at one or both manuscripts? He really should not have burned those bridges with Nina Lacelles.

  9. Ricki Lee says

    I just googled The Cries of Men, and it is already the title of a book, out in paperback in 2005, according to Amazon. It’s about sexually assaulted Jamaican men.

  10. ‘Cries of Men’ maybe. The previous titles haven’t exceeded three words:

    The Cuckoo’s Calling
    The Silkworm
    Career of Evil
    Lethal White
    Troubled Blood

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