Steel Reign: Flight of The Starship Concord by Braxton Cosby begins with an intriguing and haunting scene. The protagonist, Steel Reign is expressing his regret over a massive mistake that he has made. Just from this singular scene, it is clear that he will go to any means to bring back his lost sister, Olia. She is aboard the ship Eclipse and involved in a treacherous game under the space pirate, Forge. Reign does not have the means or credits to find her. His sole plan to acquire an artifact and exchange it for credits has fallen through. He keeps having to devise Plan Bs to reach his sister. Along the way he manages to acquire a ragtag bunch of friends and colleagues: nerdy Gifford, the novice Stink, and Sereas. On top of these struggles, he is also combatting the deadly virus DX that has practically taken his eyes.
Steel Reign: Flight of The Starship Concord manages to hold a quick-paced, thrilling tone, as Reign is thrown from one dangerous situation to another. The prologue also returns in a more meaningful way later in the story as Forge’s sick game becomes clearer.
Throughout the story, a lot of different species and creatures kept cropping up. At first it was a bit jarring and difficult to keep up with, but the descriptions were so fun that I couldn’t resist being drawn in anyway. Take for example the Donthras that are described as being “multi-sexual” and “open to trying anyone and anything” Although there was an underlying intense tone to the story, the moments of levity were perfectly captured and made me laugh out loud.
Reign himself isn’t infallible though- which I personally love in an action/adventure protagonist. So often they seem to fall prey to being all around superhumans (see: Jack Reacher, Stephanie Plum) but Reign knows his strengths and weaknesses. He even manages to acknowledge that he was the brawns in the sibling relationship and Olia the brains. The pair has had a difficult upbringing but share a very sweet and strong relationship. I felt immediately sympathetic and connected to Reign whenever he reminisced about his sister.
Steel Reign was a solidly entertaining novel- a strangely perfect amalgamation of science-fiction, revenge drama, and ensemble comedy. It hit all the right spots for me and was a great weekend read.
Pages: 337 | ASIN: B082S82S8P
Planet of Gods finds Peter quickly embroiled in dangerous political games instigated by powerful aliens on a far flung colony. This being the start of a series, how did you develop the idea behind this series and is that different from writing other novels?
Planet of Gods was my first professionally published science fiction novel featuring a protagonist who becomes a stranger in a strange land forced to participate in a game designed by a powerful and enigmatic alien intelligence. The idea for the series actually came from my fascination with the comic book superheroes who are born with or have acquired superhuman abilities as a result of an accident or a laboratory experiment. In any story, superheroes always interact with ordinary human beings without whom their story could not be told. Considering all this, I had an idea: why not place an ordinary person into an extraordinary world where he will not only be forced to fight for survival but become a symbol of resistance mentioned in the centuries old prophecy. By giving my protagonist a military background, I wanted to present him as a man with a sense of duty and honor as well as a person who is vulnerable physically and emotionally, because he is after all an ordinary mortal in an extraordinary situation.
I enjoyed planet Enigma in this book and it’s rich backstory. How did the idea for this planet start and change as you wrote?
Working on Planet of Gods was a great fun. Not only because I had an interesting idea for the book but also because I had managed to see it through to completion with the help of a team of dedicated professionals. Planet Enigma had to be a believable, yet fascinating world, which in most ways resembles planet Earth but falls under an alien influence. I designed the mysterious and immensely powerful alien red cloud that is made of evolved pure energy and which is virtually immortal. I thought that such powerful intelligence could have monitored human activity and expansion into space for centuries before deciding to conduct its on unique experiment on a planetary scale. As I was working on Planet of Gods, I wondered what would happen if half of the humans captured by the red cloud were given extraordinary powers and the other half remained ordinary human beings? So I gave these enhanced humans called Overlords the inhuman powers of accelerated healing, ability to fly at will, generate deadly plasma bolts and be immune to old age. When I placed Peter Blackwood into this world populated by these remarkable beings, the stage was set for an adventure designed by the alien red cloud to test the limits of human potential in matters of love, war and desire for power.
This is book one in your Enigma series. Where will the story go in book two?
Planet of Gods has a sequel titled Planet of Men. This is the last book in the series, but I hope it will present an entertaining conclusion of these two volume series. In the second book, Peter Blackwood becomes a powerful symbol of resistance against the rule of tyrannical Overlords and is helped in his task by the men and women who populate a mysterious Freedom Island, the only place on planet Enigma where Overlords cannot go because there they lose their powers and become ordinary human beings. The second book features Peter Blackwood’s new and old friends as well as powerful and vindictive enemies, who will stop at nothing to destroy him and prevent the change of their society. In the sequel to Planet of Gods, Peter Blackwood would be finally able to complete his mission and fulfill the centuries old prophecy and find a place where he could finally live at peace and earn his happiness. I hope my readers will enjoy the second book and follow Peter Blackwood on his final extraordinary adventure on a faraway planet.
Professor Peter Blackwood, a former Space Marine turned scientist, looks forward to retirement on a paradise resort planet.
A powerful alien intelligence in the form of a vast red energy cloud cuts Blackwood’s plans short, snatching him from the hyperspace highway, and catapulting him light years away to a remote planet in an unexplored region of space.
With his ship damaged and unable to escape, Blackwood encounters a distant human colony on planet Enigma, a world controlled by the red cloud and populated by mortals and powerful overlords—immortal human beings with godlike powers.
When Blackwood’s desire to escape is replaced by his intense scientific curiosity, he becomes a player in a dangerous socio-political game designed by the red cloud. It’s a game Blackwood cannot afford to lose—for on his shoulders rests the destiny of millions of people.
The amazing story of DragonMan was born at the dawn of the 21st Century, when the world, about to change forever, watched in disbelief as four passenger airliners crashed, not only into buildings and a field in Shanksville Pennsylvania, but into the American certainty that the horrors of the outside world could not touch them at home. It was into this world that a new kind of superhero emerged, one for whom the lines between good and evil are blurred.
Is he friend? Or is he foe? No one knows for sure. What they do know, however, is that as a friend there is no one better.
Dark Times follows Natascha as she’s caught up in a deadly plot orchestrated by dangerous mastermind criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I wanted to create a plot that has its roots in many corners of the world. A plot created by mastermind criminals, who all have their own different agendas work together towards their greater common goal. I also wanted to show that normal people like you and I can stand up against injustice, even on a global scale, and that anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself.
Natascha is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that you wanted to explore with her character?
Natascha is just an “average” person. It is easy to identify with her character: a loving wife, mother of a child, working two jobs to make enough money, for example, at one point she is even worrying about the cost for new tires for her car. She is not a trained killing machine without feelings and unlimited access to weapons and money. She is very emotional and draws her strength from the love for her family, but she also knows that she has to rely on herself in order to survive. She is struggling emotionally from all the horrible things she had experienced before and is not immune to PTSD. All those attributes make her a more “likeable” character, and people find it easy to identify with her.
What draws you to the action adventure genre and makes it easy for you to write in this space?
I am a fan of the action adventure genre, but I find many stories belong more in the world of Fiction. I can not identify with a “one man army” with unlimited access to different resources, such as weapons, intelligence and money who does not suffer emotionally after a mission. My personal background and experience allows me to create realistic characters.
Dark Times is a novel in your EuroSec Corporation series. What can readers expect in the other book in your series, Thin Ice?
THIN ICE was actually the first book in the series, published in 2012. In THIN ICE, we meet Natascha for the first time and learn how she and Nick came together on board a research vessel in the North West Passage, where they are being framed as terrorists in a plot orchestrated by greedy politicians and mercenaries.
Relieved for no longer being framed as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Natascha has only one wish – to live a normal life with her former bodyguard Nick and their daughter, but her daily routine as part time Marine Biologist for the London aquarium and secretary for an elite security company takes a lethal turn when she takes part in another scientific expedition.
This time, her discoveries do not only lead her into a flooded mine underneath a century old abbey, but also to a decades old secret the clerics don’t want unravelled.
Just when Natascha thinks she is a step ahead of her enemies, she realises that the abbey’s secret is only a small piece in a puzzle orchestrated by criminal masterminds – and that her past has caught up with her.
Determined, Nick and his friends from EuroSec follow her trail from London to the Aegean Sea back to Monaco and the Mediterranean Sea. To rescue Natascha, they have to solve the puzzle fast, or dark times will be ahead of them.
Duty and Betrayal is a political thriller following the intertwining stories of international spies and war criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
I suppose the inspiration initially came from my childhood, listening to my mother and grandma describing their experiences of living in London during WWII, and in particular, the fear engendered toward the end of the war by Hitler’s so-called VI and V2 “vengeance weapons.” They were in effect jet propelled rocket torpedoes, capable of killing thousands of people at the press of a button, and technically, way in advance of anything the Allies could counter.
Jack Stein and Spencer Hall are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some ideals you wanted to explore with their characters?
Since the war Stein and Spencer’s lives had moved on inexorably, just as their world had moved on around them. But whilst they had their own agendas, their own remits and loyalties to their respective organisations (the CIA and British Intelligence), at heart there existed between them a kind of unwavering, undying bond and trust that can only ever be truly borne out of fighting for your lift in the midst of battle side by side.
I enjoyed the history and backstory used in this book. What research did you undertake to get things right?
I spent a year, or more, researching the background, not only the technical stuff, but some of personalities involved, including former Third Reich experts like Wernher von Braun, who eventually worked on the Apollo mission. I guess it’s an often forgotten aspect of WWII, that post-war, both the US and Soviet rocket programs coveted the expertise of their respective former Third Reich scientists and engineers. Many of whom found themselves at the heart of what would ultimately become known as the “Space Race.”
Everyone has a different agenda when a former Nazi scientist and a current NASA rocket expert arrive in 1960s London for a conference. International spies and war criminals alike are still looking to settle old scores from World War II.
Monitoring the conference are Spencer Hall of MI5 and Jack Stein of the CIA, top agents who became fast friends while fighting side by side for their lives. They’ve been called to protect their nations’ vital secrets, but one of them harbors his own plans for revenge. Meanwhile, Bernard Zimmerman, the NASA scientist, wants everyone to forget his past work with the Third Reich so he can create a new life in America. Unfortunately, both the Soviets , Mossad, and the Germans remember him all too clearly While Stein will stop at nothing to protect him, his loyal friend and intelligence source, Spencer Hall is consumed with a personal vendetta.
Ariawyn the elven princess of Lathai, daughter of Queen Aramaris, and last of the line of the Demon Queen. It is said that Lathai must be ruled by someone from the Demon Queen line or else the land will be destroyed. The problem however, Ariawyn does not want to rule. She feels unprepared and unfit to rule a kingdom she has not spent any time in since she was a child. Ariawyn does the only thing she thinks she can, she runs away. Her cousin Luthitan and Rune plan to take over the Lathai throne, not believing in the curse of destruction if Ariawyn does not rule. The magic, deceit, and mystery surrounding all will lead to a bloody end. Can Ariawyn save the kingdom she was born to rule.
Camryn Daytona brings to readers a new take on the elves and dwarves races in her novel The Last King of the Mountain. This is the first book of the series and sets up an epic tale that will capture the interest of fantasy readers new and old. In the first few pages you may feel like this is a retelling of the same old stories we all know of the battle between elves, dwarves, and the mortal races. After the first chapter or two though you see Camryn Daytona’s unique perspective come forth. It is nice to see some common trends among the races that fantasy readers have grown to expect but the overall story line and plot is unique. Ariawyn’s back story is filtered through the main story line and you learn more about her past and how she ended up sheltered in Ellahil rather than Lathai where she is to rule. The novel is long, over 400 pages, but it is not filler or overdone long monologues. All the descriptions of the cities and details about Din Mehidnar are used to enhance the story line and move the character development along. Nothings feels like it is added just fill pages, Daytona is careful about adding the right amount of detail at the right time to keep readers interested and asking questions.
My favorite parts of this novel were watching Ariawyn go from the persona of a shy quite teenager that wants nothing to do with responsibility into a strong woman ready to take back her kingdom. Siveril is a close second to me in character development. He is a cranky sorcerer that is blind with a soft heart for Ariawyn but you don’t understand why untill you get through the novel. Illimon is another character that goes through huge growth through the novel, and I’m interested to see how he develops as the series continues. I didn’t find the politics of the novel overwhelming like some fantasy novels do, nor is the magic so absurd that you can’t realistically engage with the characters. This is a great beginning to a quest for returning Lathai to its proper ruling with dark moments and light moments that will leaving you smiling.
Pages: 399 | ASIN: B07YQF1Q5J
The Warramunga’s War is a book that follows the Australian Army’s advances in the Middle East and Egypt. The main character, Jamie, is saved by an officer Jacko, who’s half aborigine warramunga. The book leads the reader through an adventure with Jamie and Jacko in the forefront, as they conduct counterespionage and work with real historical figures. They form a close friendship and work together to solve various missions. During their stay in Cairo, Jack and Jamie manage to work against German spies and continue the war effort onto their home turf after their job is done in Egypt. Jacko’s skills come into play near the final leg of the duo’s journey, needing to track down two wartime German Agents in West Australia.
The author describes events in vivid detail throughout the book. Greg Kater ensures the reader is taken through an action filled adventure full of twists, turns, and suspense with lighthearted moments throughout to provide moments of respite. One of these moments was at the beginning, where Jamie was unconscious and had a humorous moment with Jacko and a French nurse. The author also shows ample character development with our duo, showing how they evolve both in strength of friendship and their synergy with each other. They grow as friends and evolve to become better soldiers as well, and this evolution was something that was consistently interesting to me. I felt the part where Jamie develops a romance with someone added depth and emotion to an already well developed character. They seem to gain some level of experience from who they work with as well. Speaking of those people, the author’s level of dedication to research shows as well, with many areas being accurately described. The people he represents in the book are true to their original character and accomplishments.
While I enjoyed the narrative and the characters, I felt that the pacing, was inconsistent and sometimes abrupt. There is a part in the book where we’re zoomed into the future, which threw me off. Other than that small issue, The Warramunga’s War is an amazing read which shows a lot of spirit and has a unique take on old events.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B07NJZFVJX
Realm follows young Roxanna as she becomes the wife of Alexander the Great and is swept away by history. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional story?
I have wanted to write her story since I was sixteen and first saw Roxana mentioned in a history book about Alexander the Great. A professed history geek, Alexander has always fascinated me, but it was her story I wanted to tell. She lived beyond him, saw the breakdown of power, and in the end was a victim of his conquests and fame. She was forgotten by history, but I believe her role in his life, and the war of the generals, was important. I wanted people to know that Alexander was married to a woman who I am sure had to have remarkable fortitude and courage to not only travel with his army, but survive his generals.
Roxana is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?
She developed out of years of study of Alexander. This was a man who had women, the powerful daughters of kings, diplomats, and wealthy men, thrown at him, but he never married any of them. He took the hand the daughter of a mere chieftain, and instead of setting her up in a palace, as was the custom, Alexander took her with him across the world. I wanted to highlight her strength and intelligence, qualities he must have admired, but also show her powerlessness in a world where women had no voice. She must have been frustrated at not being recognized because of her sex, but I wanted her to rise above her limitations and influence the most powerful man in the world. I do not subscribe to the fact that she was a non-essential wife as many historians believe. I wanted to make her a unique woman who could have changed the course of history.
I enjoyed the portrayal of Roxana and Alexander’s relationship. Was their relationship planned or did it develop organically while writing?
The ups and downs in their relationship were built around the history of his campaigns, and how hard it must have been for her as a woman loving a man and competing with his army, his generals, and his other lovers. I also had to factor in how women were treated in ancient Greece, along with Alexander’s great respect for women. The rest developed organically, but like any relationship that goes through great hurdles it either gets stronger or falls apart. I like to believe theirs got stronger. After all, Alexander died when she was seven months pregnant with his only heir. It was also nine months after the death of his dear friend Hephaestion. For me, it was obvious he turned to her in his grief, and that told me a great deal about where they were at his end.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is a thriller and the first in a new series, called The Secret Brokers. It is about Dallas August, a man who runs an organization of elite spies for hire who steal secrets and sells them to the highest bidder. He is blackmailed into going on a mission to steal an important secret from an unsuspecting woman and ends up in the middle of a war between two powerful kingpins. The Secret Brokers releases 4/7/2020.
A WOMAN UNLIKE ANY OTHER, SHE WILL CONQUER THE UNCONQUERABLE AND BE LOVED BY A MAN WHO IS WORSHIPPED AS A GOD.
Based on a true story.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain–is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.