Well, I've finally put the finishing touches on 'Into the Maelstrom', and you can expect to see it out on sale on January 22nd, the start of a new arc in the Battlecruiser Alamo saga. That completed, I'm now free to focus on my next book, the first in the 'Starcruiser Polaris' series. I've written a little about it over the last few blog posts, but I think it appropriate here to outline what my intentions are for this five-book series.
I'd like to think that I've improved as a writer since writing 'Price of Admiralty', almost four years ago. It seems strange to think of how many books I've written since then, and if I'd known at the time that by this point the Triplanetary Universe would be closing on two million words, I wouldn't have believed you. (For the record, it will be 'Vault of Eternity' that puts the saga over that particular milestone.) The 'Strike Commander' trilogy especially taught me a lot, and I'm trying to apply what I've learned to both the new Alamo arc, and the Polaris series.
'Starcruiser Polaris' is intended as an epic. Something I haven't really done before, but want to explore this time – one contained story, spanning five books, with characters scattered all across the galaxy, building up to a series of huge confrontations at the end. A lot of my initial ideas have fallen by the wayside in the course of this – some to be recycled in something I now have planned for 2018, the oft-delayed 'Fox Company', but more in that in the future – but I'm settling into a strong core concept for the series.
Boiled down, we're into the 'Freedom To The Galaxy' mode here, a heroic struggle to overthrow a tyrannical dictatorship against hopeless odds. I could easily have placed this in a completely new setting, but as I've mentioned before, I didn't really see the need. The Triplanetary Universe was always conceived to allow me to tell a variety of stories, and I suspect that if I was to attempt to reinvent the wheel, I'd essentially end up repeating myself – and given that, I might as well make my life a little easier and use the established setting.
What I have done, then, is carve off a portion of space for a 'pocket empire', crammed between the Confederation and the Lunar Republic – and a few seeds for this are in 'Into the Maelstrom', so watch out for those – and set that up as the 'Star League' and the 'Halo Worlds', a half-dozen star systems to use as the setting for this new adventure. There are a heck of a lot of stars in close range of Sol, and more being discovered all the time – especially the hard-to-find brown dwarves. Already, I must admit, certain elements of the background have been rendered inaccurate by recent discoveries, and I've had to make a few soft retcons to make up for it.
I've got four more days of preparation before I launch into the new series, and I can't wait to get started on it. That's always true with any book, but somehow this one feels right. Keeping it as a contained storyline is also important – twenty-eight books, and this will only be my second contained series. Writing an on-going storyline is a completely different challenge, and one that I enjoy, but there is a certain satisfaction in bringing a storyline home. As I said, currently this one rests at five books, and I anticipate the final book in the series being out in October/November. The first three titles are currently, 'Blood of Patriots', 'False Flag', and 'Here Spartans Lie', though as usual, all of these are subject to change...