The Shadeward Saga comes to an end!
10 years in the making, the Shadeward Saga is about to reach its explosive finalé with “Expiation” – the fourth and final book in the series. Expiation is available to pre-order now in ebook and paperback form. It will be released on June 15th 2020.
Memorable characters, drama and excitement
Expiation picks up the story after the tumultuous invasion of Amar and the impending threat from the blazing star Lacaille, but also the growing drama between Kiri and Zoella, resolving the cliffhanger at the end of Book 3.
Book 4 resolves many of the mysteries of the series overall and concludes the stories of all the characters in the series. Here’s the blurb from the paperback version.
The all-powerful priestesses are whipped to a white heat of vengeance in defence of their god, Lacaille, the star that blazes in the skies above.
Coran and the Mobilis crew are unravelling the keys to survival, but tradition, myth and the vengeful priestesses stand in their way, as Lacaille burns ever more fiercely above them.
Kiri, Meru and Zoella, tied by bonds of hatred and devotion, know they must act, but have no idea how to turn the tide of fate. The answer when they find it is wholly unexpected and horribly inevitable.
I reckon it’s my best book yet and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it! It will be launched on June 15th 2020.
And here it is my friends! The cover of Shadeward Expiation.
This is the final book in the series and it’s going to wrap up pretty much all the threads you’ve been following, but perhaps leave you asking just a few questions as to the wider universe of Shadeward.
Each book has a particular theme and a colour associated with it. Emanation was a yellow/orange hue, with Exoneration a striking purple. Enervation had a green tinge and Expiation… well, here it is!
With the conclusion of the story this will be the last book in the Shadeward Saga itself, reaching the end of the tale of my three protagonists Kiri, Zoella and Meru, the supporting cast of the crew of the Mobilis and the priestesses of Drayden.
As ever, it’s full of character interaction, high stakes, drama, desperate choices, action and adventure with a dash of real science. Two of my proofreaders were reduced to tears during parts of the story, no punches are pulled in how the story pans out.
So, do savour it when it arrives. We won’t be returning to Esurio for quite some time, if at all. More will come in the wider Shadeward Universe. I’m planning the ‘Hegira’ series next!
On that note here’s the paperback version of the cover with the blurb included to whet your appetites! Once I have a date for the book itself I will let you know. It won’t be long.
A little while ago I asked my fans whether they would be interested in a prequel to the Shadeward Saga detailing what happened prior to the colonisation of Esurio and the exodus from Earth, or a ‘Side-quel’ set in the same era as the Shadeward Saga exploring what was going on in the rest of the Shadeward universe.
Both have appeal to me, and both will be completed eventually, it was more feedback on the order of creation I was interested in. A put up a poll on twitter and facebook; both came up with different answers! I’ve decided to go for a side-quel for various reasons.
Firstly, it gives me a chance to write my own Space Opera.
The existing Shadeward books are planet bound (with occasional flying machines) but are essentially not a Space Opera in the classic sense. My Elite Dangerous books were, very much, a Space Opera, though obviously constrained by being set in the Elite universe and having to adhere to its lore. However, what I enjoyed most about writing in the Elite universe was the political scenarios, the variations on location afforded by multiple planets and systems, and the space travel components.
Secondly, I can also, dare I say it, do a better job of the lore, background, consistency and integrity of the stories if I do it myself.
Writing in the Elite Dangerous universe was fun, a huge privilege and very much a ‘bucket list’ item for me. However it was also a compromise of creativity, having to incorporate some of the ‘oddities’ of the Elite Dangerous game and the constant ‘retcons’ of the lore in question. My two Elite books had to be written effectively as stand alone novels as there was no guarantee I could hook them up because Frontier would not take a long view of ongoing narrative, something they now appear to have given up on entirely. As a result my Elite books are simply not as good as they could have been, and pale alongside the quality I achieved with the Shadeward Saga.
Those of you who have read Shadeward throughout know the level of detail I have gone into in order to make those stories work. I take the lore of my worlds extremely seriously because I fundamentally believe it makes the stories better. Clearly you still have to be a good writer, but a solid foundation you can rely on is crucial.
Thirdly, there seems to be no opportunity to write another Elite Dangerous novel.
I have great affection for the Elite franchise, huge respect for many of the people who work at Frontier and vast debt to the loyal fans who put me in a position to write those two books. I will continue streaming about Elite, going to conventions and meeting the fans. I’d have been very happy to write another novel to mark the beginning of the ‘New Era’. It could have been ready alongside whatever this new version of the game is. Frontier didn’t ask though, so I’ve moved on with my plans.
Its time for me to create my own space adventures, unfettered and unconstrained. Frankly, I can do a better job without Elite Dangerous than with it. I have a purpose built universe. The Shadeward universe is internally consistent, with detailed lore, background, technology, timeline and characters. This won’t be retconned, ignored, changed or tweaked for ‘reasons’.
The name refers to the journey undertaken by Muhammed from Mecca to Medina in 622AD. It also has more general interpretation meaning Exodus or Migration.
It will be a series of 4 books like Shadeward, set in the same time period, but covering the structure of the universe in and around Sol as alluded to in Shadeward. As we know, we abandoned the Earth and set out into space, attempting to colonise other worlds in order to survive. Esurio was one colony that did manage to survive. The question is, what happened to the others and what are they doing now?
Hegira will answer this.
What can I tell you at this stage? There will be spacecraft and spacestations, there will be interstellar travel. There will be adherance to the laws of physics, though with a nod to potential future technologies we don’t currently have, some of which are required to make stories work. The action will all take place with twenty lightyears of Earth, as that is as far as we’ve managed to reach at this point in the Shadeward lore.
There will be interstellar politics, there will be various planetary locales of different types, adventure, set pieces, grand escapes and crises to deal with. Naturally, as you’d expect from me, there will be a cast of memorable characters you’ll love, hate… or both.
In terms of production I will be finishing Doomdark’s Revenge first before embarking on any writing, so expect that to be out during the summer this year. In the interim I’ll be working on the world-building essential to make this work.
If you enjoyed my Elite Dangerous stories you will love these too, they’ll share some similarities, but you’ll have a deeper and more contiguous set of adventures awaiting you. If you enjoyed Shadeward the same blend of mystery, adventure and characterisation will be present again. Who knows, perhaps we’ll see Esurio from another perspective too.
I’ve also grown as a writer in the intervening years. As in anything you do, the more you do it, the better you get. Hegira will be more epic, more expansive and engaging than my Elite books, and will flesh out the universe you’ve already seen glimpses of in Shadeward.
It’s time for me to write on … and I will!
Very pleased to announce that the first book in my 4 book science fiction series, The Shadeward Saga, is now available on Audible!
It’s taken quite a lot of work, more than I expected to be honest, in order to get this far, but I’m confident you’re going to enjoy this – the second of my books to be turned into an audio production and the first one I’ve narrated myself.
Rather than a ‘radio drama’ style as was done with Elite: Reclamation featuring the immensely talented multiple voices of Toby Longworth, this is more of an unabridged read through by myself. It is around 13 hours long!
Shadeward doesn’t feature a ‘soundscape’ other than some selected music to divide chapters and scenes, alongside a few minor sound modifications to highlight different aspects of the more complex scenes. A more traditional audiobook in other words!
Memorable Characters, Drama and Excitement
If you enjoyed my brand of story telling in my Elite books, you should enjoy this too. Kiri, in particular, is a woman you’ll love to hate, a memorable character in the same manner as my infamous Salomé.
For those of you wondering what this book is about, it’s rather a mix of genres! It’s set on a tidally locked planet some 10 light-years away from Earth. The inhabitants are humans, but they’ve lost the knowledge and technology of their past and it’s been confused with myth, legend and religion.
Over the course of the four books, those secrets are unlocked, the lost technology is found and the fate of the planet revealed.
There are elements of hard science fiction, mixed with fantasy, all seen through the eyes of three young people and a cast of adventurers, priestesses and warriors.
And more is coming!
Now that this audible book is complete, work continues. Here is what’s incoming in the near future.
- Shadeward 4 “Expiation” is currently being edited and will be available in ebook and paperback in early 2020
- Doomdark’s Revenge, sequel to the Lords of Midnight is currently being written and is also due in 2020.
- The audio version of Shadeward 2 “Exoneration” is currently being recorded and will be released in early 2020.
- A Lords of Midnight Audiobook is also being planned
This is something of an ‘open letter’ to the Elite Dangerous community at large, and huge thank you to all concerned.
As you’re all aware, Michael Holyland died on the 22nd of May 2019 at the age of 15. Along with World of Tanks, Elite Dangerous was one of his favourite games. His plight came to the attention of the Elite Dangerous community via his uncle, Mat Westhorpe.
In response to a tweet from Mat, the Elite Dangerous community, alongside Frontier Developments themselves, pitched in in every way that could be imagined, trying to make Michael’s last days as full of happy memories as could be managed.
You can read about Michael, his family and his story from the following links:
One of the many things given to Mat was an personalised audio-book, set in the world of Elite Dangerous. It was created in just a few short days from beginning to end by the efforts of Frontier, voice actors and the community. Michael was able to hear it before the end.
It wasn’t intended to be made public, but one of Michael’s last wishes was that he wanted it to be shared with the community that had done so much for him.
We have taken the additional steps of formatting the story into ebook versions as well as audio, so it can be enjoyed in multiple ways.
All the versions are freely available at no charge. Instead, we are suggesting that donations to Cancer Research UK are an appropriate way to honour and remember CMDR Michael Holyland.
You can find all the download links for the book, and a directions to the Cancer Research by following the link below.
Thank you Elite Dangerous Community, you’ve shown yourself to be truly ‘Elite’.
Right on, Commanders and o7.
Huge thanks to Mat Westhorpe, Zac Antonaci, Paige Harvey, Sally Morgan-Moore, Joe Hogan, David Braben, Amelia Tyler, Jay Britton, Richard Reed, Dan Grubb, Antony Taylor, Anthony Hunt, James Ludlow, Jordan (CMDR Cryptic Echo), Jamie McKinnon (CMDR Orange Phoenix) and the SPVFA, and the extended Elite Dangerous Community.
Today I’m delighted to announce the early availability and pre-release of Shadeward Enervation, book 3 in the Shadeward Saga!
Book 3 follows directly on from Book 2 where Meru, Zoella, Coran and the crew of the Mobilis were en-route to Amar, having frustrated the priestesses of Drayden. But the priestesses have discovered the location of Amar and are making their plans to invade. Kiri’s own powers are growing too and she has her own designs. Meanwhile, Lacaille itself is stirring once more, threatening to unleash more woe upon Esurio…
Available now in Paperback and Pre-Order Ebook
From today you can order the paperback version of Enervation direct from Amazon for £9.99 (US $15.99). The E-book is currently on pre-order only, but will automatically appear on your Kindle on August 16th, price £3.50 (US $4.46).
For those of you ordering the paperback, I’d really appreciate your reviews prior to the official launch on the 16th of August. These really help boost the book up the charts when it first appears. Also – please feel free to bring them along to Fantasticon and I’ll sign them for you. 🙂
So looking forward to what you make of this latest instalment. Unlike this book there won’t be a long delay for book 4 as it is planned to be written by the end of the year. It’s currently sat at 54, 000 words.
A world where science, religion and politics clash and survival turns on the whim of a star…
It always an exciting moment when you get to reveal the cover of a book. Whilst we’re always exhorted not to judge a book by its cover, if we’re honest, many of us do.
There’s a balance to be found in advertising what kind of book it is, following the tone of the times and coming up with something eye-catching that will work at different levels, both as a cover, but also as a thumbnail for the inevitable listings online.
The 3rd book in a series is also a bit… tricky. You’re not at the point where you are tying things up, but nor are you introducing too many new things to be resolved. You still have to keep the story moving along at pace, in order to ensure that the overall plot doesn’t ‘sag’ in the middle. Despite all this, there’s still plenty going on!
I’ve also had the challenge that the characters are growing up, and (in most cases) maturing a bit. This implies various things about their relationships and where they go. It’s been a challenge to balance that and move the characters on in a realistic fashion.
Enervation is now being finalised, and with no further ado, here is the cover. I hope you like it! There are various elements of the series included here, which fans of the series should be able to pick out. Let me know what you think.
This tapestry holds a secret.“In quoting others, we cite ourselves.” — Julio Cortázar
Palimpsests and blueprints
While a universe unfolds.
An axis of dying light
That spins in the black.
But alas I can see
Its stars are locked.
For me, Dihya,
I fear my script is lost.
As of a couple of days ago I finished all the edits for my latest book, Shadeward Enervation, book 3 of my ongoing SF saga.
This was a combination of my wife’s notes, a professional editor and 3 ‘beta-readers’ who give me advice on various aspects of the story.
This has taken a month or so to sort and means I’m technically on the 5th draft – which has now back sent to the publisher to be turned into a book. At the same time we’ll start collaborating on the cover design and get that prepped. Won’t be long now!
That rather clears the decks for other projects, not least the short story I have to contribute to the Twitch Anthology I’m working on. You can watch us working on this on Monday’s on my twitch stream.
After that, there are two more novels in the works.
First up is Doomdark’s Revenge, sequel to the Lords of Midnight. I’m happy to say that the plot for this has been ‘signed off’ (i.e. Chris and I have agreed the high level detail). This means I can crack on with writing it now.
The second is the final book in the Shadeward Saga, called ‘Expiation’ (you can look that up at your leisure – each Shadeward title has a very specific meaning). This will conclude the Shadeward Saga, leaving me to consider what else to do next with this universe.
There may be other stuff too, there are a few ‘irons in the fire’, so we’ll see what comes along. Stay tuned, folks! 🙂