I’ve been playing A Total War Saga: Troy for a little over a week now. As a long-time fan of the Total War series (since the first installment, Shogun: Total War, twenty years ago), a lover of Greek mythology, and a history buff, there’s a lot for this game to measure up to. Does it live up to those lofty expectations, or are they as impenetrable as the walls of the fabled city of Troy itself?
When Captain Fletcher Perry and the crew of the Terran Confederation frigate Falcata are sent to a backwater, independent colony in the Cygnus cluster, they expected to be overseeing a routine land rights dispute.
When they arrive, they find Marchovia embroiled in an all-out civil war.
As the frozen world becomes the focus of three stellar empires, Captain Perry and his crew find the only thing icier than the Marchovian landscape is the cold war at the heart of which they find themselves.
Flashpoint: Cygnus is a new novel coming in August of 2021 by B.K. Bass, presented by Kyanite Publishing. The book, and the planned series, seeks to draw together the best traditions of multiple genres: The gritty realism and action-packed adrenaline of military science fiction. The human drama and pseudo-nautical themes of space opera. All this tied together by the overarching tensions of a political thriller spanning the stars!
“The XO has the conn,” Fletcher said as he undogged the hatch and stepped off the bridge. As he walked towards the wardroom, only two thoughts ran through his mind. How badly had the pirates shaken apart the Falcata, and how many people’s lives had he just snuffed out? He ran a hand over his eyes as he stepped through the door to the wardroom. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to hear the answer to either question.
Learn more about the universe of Astra Nautica!
Two years in development, the universe of Astra Nautica is designed to be grounded in reality while reaching for the stars. Dozens of hours of research into fusion technology, wormholes, star maps, Einstein’s theories of Relativity, and more have lead to a foundation ready to support action-packed adventures that feel gritty, real, and entirely plausible. And, there are no aliens in Astra Nautica — mankind’s own worse enemy remains himself.
The helm officer keyed in the commands on his panel, and suddenly Fletcher was pressed into his seat with the equivalent force of Earth’s gravity. Metal clanged as loose panels clattered to the deck. “All right,” he said as he leaned forward, “get me within swatting range of this gnat.”
“They’re darting,” Lieutenant Kim called out. Her voice was still shaky, but she seemed less panicked now that they were under way.
“Helm, you have the stick. Don’t lose them,” Fletcher ordered as he strapped his chair’s safety restraints across his chest and fastened them.
Humanity’s dominion of the stars is divided into five major factions, along with independent colonies, powerful corporations, and criminal organizations all vying for a piece of the pie. Major hubs have grown around naturally occurring stable wormholes that opened the stars to mankind. Other colonies grew once we mastered fusion technology and developed the Singularity Drive, a technology used to open a wormhole at any point in space, albeit a highly unstable one. With restrictions on using these drives within a star’s gravity well, travel between colonies can still take days, weeks, or longer.
Shudders ran through the bulkheads as sparks flew from loose conduits floating in the passageway like writhing serpents. Captain Fletcher Perry grabbed a handrail to arrest his momentum, flipped himself over, and pulled on the first rung of a ladder to accelerate through the hatch to the engineering deck. “Chief Powell,” he called out as he floated down from the overhead into the main engineering compartment. “When am I going to have my drives online?”
A chaotic mass of conduits and cables wriggled in response, then a dark-skinned face popped out from between them as Chief Petty Officer Chloe Powell emerged. Her dreadlocks floated above her like Medusa’s own crown of snakes as she shook her head. “I’m working on it, Captain. Maybe if I didn’t have to stop what I was doing to—”
She was cut off by a sudden hiss as a cloud of blue vapor seeped out from the mass of loose conduits, punctuated by a man screaming.
In the universe of Astra Nautica, every day can turn into a life and death struggle in an instant. And in the darkness of space, you have only your own crew to call out to for help.
With the new release of The Pirate King Duology, some may be wondering where the best place to start with The Ravencrest Chronicles is? Where does each book fit in with the other, and what order should they be read in?
While most of the books are written to stand on their own, there are some little gems that hint at what’s to come or call back to what’s come before. With that in mind, I would like to make some suggestions.
I propose that one read the “first wave” (as I call it) in the order they were published: Seahaven, The Hunter’s Apprentice, The Giant and the Fishes, and then Tales from the Lusty Mermaid. All four of these can be found in that order in The Ravencrest Chronicles: Omnibus One.
Now, The Pirate King Duology gets into a longer story. When it comes to these two books, definitely read them in order! Curse of the Pirate King and Shadow of the Pirate King may each have their own tones and themes, but they carry a single story across the two volumes.
However, you can read these two books before or after the first wave. They’re prequels, so they serve as a great entry point to the series. At the same time, they feature some secondary characters from the first wave who get more time in the spotlight.
Still curious how they all fit into a timeline? How long before the events of Seahaven does The Pirate King Duology occur? Here’s each book with the date(s) each occurred on the local calendar. All dates are reckoned as part of the Fallen Age, counting in years after the fall of the last great empire, the Dragonspire Concordant.
Curse of the Pirate King — 1607
Shadow of the Pirate King — 1607 – 1608
The Giant and the Fishes — 1610 – 1615
Seahaven — 1625
The Hunter’s Apprentice — 1627
Tales from the Lusty Mermaid — 1628 / Varies*
*Tales from the Lusty Mermaid contains an assortment of locals myths and legends, tall tales, and fish stories. The most recent and reliable story in the book — The Sparrow’s War — occurred in 1628.
I hope both current and future fans of The Ravencrest Chronicles find this information helpful, or at least interesting. I’m looking forward to diving back into the series soon, where I’ll be moving the timeline forward a few years with The Shadow Cult Trilogy!
Don’t forget to stop by the BOOKS page
to find out where to find these and all my other books.
It was a dark and stormy night…Paul Clifford (1830) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
This line is quite arguably one of the most famous clichés in all of literature. It’s become so cliché, in fact, that I would venture that most people can quote it and that few people know of its origins. Of course, when Bulwer-Lytton first wrote it, it wasn’t a cliché. The opening to Paul Clifford — a tale about a highway robbery set during the French Revolution — has an obvious purpose: to set the mood for the book.
The release date for Night Life has been set for June 12, 2020!
Pre-order packages are now available directly from Kyanite Publishing. There are three tiers all with exciting options!
Kyanite: This premium package includes two customized, signed paperback copies of Night Life, an eBook of both Night Shift (book one of the Night Trilogy) and Night Life, a bookmark, and a 12-month subscription to the Kyanite Content Hub.
Tanzanite: This is the best value and includes a customized, signed paperback copy, an eBook of both Night Shift (book one of the Night Trilogy) and Night Life, and a bookmark!
Quartzite: The most affordable option includes a signed paperback of Night Life and an eBook of Night Shift (book one of the Night Trilogy)!
Certain forms of literature and cinema have close ties to one another. Films based on books, books inspired by films, and so on. Sometimes, these relations are simply shared genres and themes. Nowhere is this correlation so strikingly similar — and at the same time so vastly disparate — as the relationship between film noir and the hardboiled detective story.
Pre-orders for Night Life are available now from
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!
Going off the grid in New Angeles can be deadly, but Harold’s out of options and out of patience.
Framed for murder, detective Harold Jacobson must delve into the gritty underbelly of the city if he wants to clear his name. To solve the crime pinned on him, he must first solve the murder of a local woman. From the steel towers of downtown to seedy nightclubs and decrepit slums, Harold delves into the night life of the city to pull the threads of the mystery together and becomes part of the criminal element he once hunted down. Going off the grid in New Angeles can be deadly, but he’s out of options and out of patience.
What are early reviewers saying about night life?
“Night Life carries over the emotional turmoil of the first book, and adds to it exponentially—with the classic noir feel still front and center.”
“The second book of the Night Trilogy is is an intelligent, well-written crime thriller that will keep you turning pages.”
“The trials and tribulations of the main character are fleshed out well and you can’t wait to see what happens.”
I’m excited to be sharing this new book from friend of the site Claire Buss! The Gaia Solution is the final book in a trilogy that Claire has been working hard on for some time now. This is the culmination of an incredible journey and is an amazing achievement. You can pre-order the new book now!
by Claire Buss
Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short-lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy their existence. Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. With the last of her reserves Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice.
More about The Gaia Collection
The Gaia Collection is Claire’s hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event, when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons.
In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.
In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield.
In the final book, The Gaia Solution, the main characters have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race.
What readers are saying about The Gaia Collection
Praise for The Gaia Effect, winner of the 2017 Raven Award for best sci-fi/fantasy book
‘A story filled with emotion, angst & hope’
‘Brilliant post-apocalyptic science fantasy’
‘Wonderfully written, with a warm friendship at its heart’
‘A fantastic debut novel’
Praise for The Gaia Project
‘A fantastic read from start to end’
‘Great book, thought-provoking read’
‘Mums are the heroes of the story and it’s the relationships that make it all work’
About the Author
Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.
With my very own post-apocalyptic novel about to release tomorrow (What Once Was Home), I was very excited to find that one of my favorite game publishers has a new post-apocalyptic game out now!
I’ve spent a lot of time in the book rebuilding communities through the eyes of my characters, and I feel ready to take a more direct hand in the challenge of rebuilding a society in the wake of an apocalypse. There’s a lot of potential obstacles we may face here. Limited resources, a lack of infrastructure, lawlessness, environmental hazards, etc. I’m sure that Paradox and Iceflake have thought of all these and more, so this game is sure to be quite the challenge!
Paradox Interactive is renowned for such titles as the Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and Hearts of Iron series. Their forays into city building games include the acclaimed Cities: Skylines (considered by many to be a spiritual successor to the Sim City series) and Surviving Mars.
Now, they’ve partnered with indie developer Iceflake Studios to bring city building games into the post-apocalyptic future with Surviving the Aftermath!
Game Features, from the Paradox Interactive website.
No Place Like Home: Build and manage a colony of survivors after a world-ending event. Construct more than 50 unique buildings to handle everything from resource collection and farming to exploration and security. Don’t forget to construct the Gate to venture into the savage world beyond your colony.
Surviving Earth: Explore a vast procedurally generated world featuring six different biomes filled with exploitable resources, bandits, and more. Each environment has different conditions that will affect your colony’s survival. Stay vigilant: Natural disasters will put your survivors to the test.
Survival is my Specialty: Recruit over 46 unique Specialists, each with their own skills and motivations, to manage your colony’s resources and production. Send them beyond the Gate on scientific missions, scavenger runs, and to fight bandits.
Expect the Unexpected: Life in the aftermath requires you to make moral choices. You may not be able to control everything in your colony, but how you respond to situations and emergent events will shape the character of your new civilization.
Mods: Surviving the Aftermath players can bring their own visions to life using Paradox Mods.
I’m very eager to get my hands on this, and hope to be uploading some screenshots and videos from my own attempts to survive the aftermath soon. The game is now in early access, and you can get your copy from the Epic Games Store now.
All media associated with Surviving the Aftermath is courtesy and © Paradox Interactive. Used for editorial purposes.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in 5th grade in 1989. I had a “Homeroom” class that was essentially flex time. We could do whatever we wanted if it was one of three things: homework, reading in a textbook, or reading from a set of specific books provided by the teacher. I read the books. I went through several that year, more than I can remember. A few stand out. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is one of them. A collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s work is another. I don’t remember the specific title, edition, or publisher; but the book I ended up really falling in love with was a collection of Greek mythology.