Planet of Men: Book 2 of Enigma follows Peter Blackwood as he tries to save his planet Enigma from the lurking dangers of invasion and the alien red cloud. Accompanying him are a ragtag bunch of rebel smugglers as he tries to find and activate the Heart of the Sun before it is too late. Despite his personal struggles and sacrifices, Blackwood has to keep a brave outlook in the face of danger, inventing new, ingenious strategies and tactics to keep the enemy armies at bay.
The starting scene of the book immediately drew me in. The way the author kept lulling me into a sense of calm and then suddenly bringing in the action was startling and always kept me on edge. Peter Blackwood, the protagonist is one of the most relatable protagonists I have read in awhile. He is brave and trying to do his best in the hostile situations he keeps finding himself in. This is not to say that he does not have flaws, because he does. And the fact that we are let in to see him fighting his internal and external demons adds to his wonderful and very real character. He represented a persons desire for freedom and equality, without losing their humanity. I could almost see him as being the male equivalent to Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games.
The female characters in this story were also depicted as strong and inspiring. Both Sachiko Nomura and Lita Sandir were both well fleshed-out characters. Their lives existed beyond being simply narrative tools for the story, and I loved both of their personalities.
The imagination behind the weapons and battle methods used in the story were impressive. I usually find myself zoning out in fantasy fiction books when an extremely complicated and difficult-to-follow action sequence comes up. However, that was not the case here. David Crane is an expert at keeping the reader engaged throughout the scene, while keeping it easy to follow.
The insidious presence of the alien red cloud was also one of the most unique antagonistic presences I have come across in sci-fi. The omnipresent danger always lurking around the corner, catching every single misstep- I got chills at the simple but terrifying reality of the situation. This was a gripping book and perfect for anyone with an interest in science fiction and fantasy.
Pages: 231 | ASIN: B008D535S8
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.
Planet of Gods by David Crane is an exhilarating and intelligent sci-fi adventure set in the depths of space. The protagonist is a man called Peter Blackwood who is on the verge of retirement in the year 3500 AD. He’s looking forward to a relaxing and joyful life away from the stress that marked his earlier years. But those hopes are dashed when he’s suddenly captured and sent to an alien planet via a hyperspace tunnel. The new planet has a social divide and is filled with unrest. Through strange circumstances, Peter finds himself in the middle of all this turmoil. Using his military skills and expertise along with a diverse range of supporting characters, Peter navigates and revolutionizes this strange new world.
What impressed me the most about Planet of Gods is the unique and realistic touch to all of Peter Blackwood’s experiences. Although the novel takes place in a world that is vastly different from our own, the reactions and thoughts of the protagonist are perfectly captured to convey a sense that this character is real. I could picture myself thinking and doing the same things as Peter Blackwood, and that’s a pretty refreshing aspect to find in a book.
Although this is can be considered a dystopian novel, I didn’t find it unnecessarily dark or moody. The story is punctuated by a diverse assortment of exciting missions and varied characters that are constantly cropping up. The author manages to create a hard-boiled science fiction story with a thrilling plot. I enjoyed the rich history of the planet, making it an intriguing character on it’s own rather than just a backdrop.
Peter Blackwood as a character gave me strong Jack Reacher vibes. Both are middle-aged, ex-military men always finding themselves the unlikely heroes of their situation. Although I enjoyed the humanity in Peter’s character, he could be cold and calculating but also empathetic and sensitive. Although I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment in the series. This is an exceptional read that will be enjoyed by any fan of science fiction adventure stories.
Pages: 231 | ASIN: B007FL0KO8
Makers of Destiny is a thrilling novel following Tanya Grey through a post-apocalyptic New America. As a writer, what were some goals you set for yourself with this novel?
This novel is a direct sequel to the book Die To Live Again, in which the main protagonist Tanya Gray survives the global nuclear war, and is changed by the nature’s hidden defense mechanism that is activated as a result of the atomic detonations. I ended the first novel on a positive note, with Tanya being transformed into a new being superior to humans and exposing and punishing the people responsible for the nuclear holocaust. I had several goals when planning Makers of Destiny. The first goal was to show the United States recovering from the most devastating conflict in human history. The second goal was to explore Tanya’s character further as a person, presenting her in this novel not only as a warrior-healer, but also as a diplomat, a wife, and a mother. The third goal was to introduce new challenges and dangers that Tanya must overcome while helping to restore the country and combat hostile social and religious forces considering her species as enemies of mankind.
What were some ideas you wanted to continue in this novel from book one and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?
Writing a sequel is always an interesting challenge. The events in Makers of Destiny take place fifty years after the events in Die To Live Again. After exposing and punishing the members of a secret cabal of some of the most powerful and richest men on earth responsible for the nuclear holocaust, I wanted Tanya Gray to earn some measure of peace and explore her own potential as a member of a new powerful race that would have to coexist with humans. Although changed physically and spiritually, in her heart, Tanya is still human, with very human feelings, dreams and desires. Therefore, I wanted to present Tanya as a spouse and a parent, as well as a very important member of the United States government. In this sequel, I wanted to explore the new ideas about Tanya’s relationship with her old and new friends, as well as uneasy coexistence with humans who do not trust her because of her superior power and intelligence. For Tanya, new challenges arise when a mysterious force form the past awakens to challenge the New America, and fanatical movement against her species threatens the delicate balance. To summon it up, I wanted this story to be just as powerful and character driven as Die To Live Again.
There were so many elements in this story that could be pulled from headlines or history. What were some sources of inspiration you drew from while writing?
I always felt that science fiction must be solidly based on scientific and political facts that define new technologies and new policies that do not yet exist. One of the most powerful sources of inspiration came to me from reading science fiction and post-apocalyptic novels that deal with potential dangers to the existence of mankind. The second source was the solid scientific data about the dangers of planetary pollution, corporate greed, political corruption and advancement of weapons of mass destruction. The third source of inspiration came from my interest in military history from the ancient times to the present day. Human beings are antagonistic species, and managed to find many reasons to turn the hunting implements into weapons of war. Struggle for survival and deep fear of the unknown is embedded deep in our genetic makeup. I wanted to explore this side of human condition when dealing with such things as the end of civilization and its aftermath. The fantastical elements in the novel were introduced to show the power of nature that always prevails against the misguided ambitions of men.
Do you plan to write more novels in this series? If so, where will the next novel pickup?
That is a very interesting question. In my spare time, I am doing some brainstorming in regard to the continuation of the series about the adventures of Tanya Gray. Tanya is a fascinating character that I created and consider as one of my strongest and most enduring protagonists in post-apocalyptic universe. If I decide to write another novel about her, it will likely be the last one in the series, turning it into a trilogy. The story, as I see it will most likely pick up one hundred years after the events in Makers of Destiny. Tanya’s species live for more than 400 years, and during that time, Tanya would gain more wisdom as she witnesses her children grow to maturity and face a world rich with adventure, discovery and danger. There will most likely be another powerful force that would try to lay claim over the resource rich territories and minds of men as well as many colorful villains. The third novel is still in basic stage of development but I want to see Tanya live again on the pages of my new book. Time will tell!
HER ACTIONS ARE THE LAST HOPE FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF NEW AMERICA. . . .
Fifty years have passed since the nuclear war. New America has risen from the ashes and once again becomes the new superpower. But peace and prosperity have come at a great cost. And the new American nation is still divided in the bitter struggle to save it from past sins. New political and religious forces are once again on the move, determined to shape the country’s destiny.
Surviving the Armageddon and the savage Second Civil War, Panther warrior-healer Tanya Gray serves as a presidential advisor. She now has a family of her own and is looking forward to a better tomorrow. But the balance of power is changed when a new ruthless and mysterious force from the past lays claim to New America’s remaining resources. And once again, Tanya Gray is forced to fight to extinguish the flames of a new Civil War.
Makers of a Destiny by David Crane is an enthralling mash-up of dystopian fantasy and a pulse pounding thriller.
The book is set in a post-apocalyptic New America, where Tanya Grey is one of the Panthers. The Panthers are a superior race, with a host of special forces that they intend to use for the growth and development of the other races in New America. However, a national emergency leaves Tanya Grey in the wake of a situation that requires all of her skills and power to fight the antagonists. They are the Neo Spartans, equipped with technological prowess and ruthlessness, they will stop at nothing to take down New America. Apart from this, an increasingly unstable political situation threatens the nation and Tanya Grey’s personal life.
Although this is a sequel to the novel Die to Live Again, reading that book is not required to read and enjoy this book. There are plenty of detailed explanations for all the characters, elements, and creatures. The descriptions of the Panthers’ lives and motivations were particularly fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised if in our own post-nuclear holocaust (I don’t suppose it’s too far) we find ourselves in the company of these creatures. Apart from the Panthers, there were elaborate depictions of new species and animals, like the Hunter leeches. Although these were equally fascinating, I felt that they were a bit lengthy and did not contribute much to the plot.
Apart from these elements, equal amount of focus was devoted to Tanya’s personal lives and the characters that surround her. Her attachments and vulnerabilities made me especially empathetic to her decisions.
While reading, I was struck by the number of antagonistic elements in the book that were comparable to the realities of today. From racism to an endless lust for power that threatens the foundation of humanity, it was not a far stretch for my imagination to conjure up this world. The possibility of technology being used for evil, suppression of minorities, colonialism, and other parallels can easily be drawn between our world and this one. History always repeats itself and it is quite likely that we will find ourselves in a future which echoes our past. This novel provides a perfect and terrifying depiction of such a world.
Pages: 342 | ASIN: B074YH9GJD
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Die to Live Again follows Tanya through a post-apocalyptic future where she must fight for humanity’s survival. Where did the initial idea for this novel come from and how did that change as you were writing?
The idea for this novel was born out of a short story I wrote in my writing group in the year 2010 titled “The Fifth Season.” It featured Tanya and her boyfriend Jack trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, and encountering the mysterious black trees that change them forever. I didn’t know how to end that short story, so I put it back on the shelf, until an idea struck me: why not turn this short story into a full novel? “The result was a book “Die to Live Again,” where only Tanya survives and Jack dies from radiation sickness. His death changes Tanya spiritually, just as the black trees changed her physically, setting her on a journey of survival, discovery and revenge.
This book has a good balance between action, scifi, and introduces some spiritualism. How did you want to balance these ideas in your story?
Initially, balancing action, science fiction and spiritualism was a bit difficult, until I realized an important fact that all three can be well mixed together because of the story’s plot and structure. In my story, nuclear holocaust almost wipes out the human race. The remnants of humanity would be hard pressed to survive the fallout and battle such terrible things as starvation, violence, loss of morality, law and order and disease. The element of spiritualism was necessary, because I felt that after such a planet changing horrific event all religions that we know would be gone and would gradually be replaced by tribalism and worship of the forces of nature. The action part was always there, and the science fiction part was the existence of nature’s hidden defense mechanism that offered the remnants of mankind a second change.
Writing is often a labor of love. What part of this novel did you enjoy writing the most?
I often asked myself what I would do in the similar situation Tanya had found herself in. Sometimes fiction mimics the reality, and sometimes reality resembles fiction. I grew up as a child and a young teenager during the Cold War, where the threat of nuclear holocaust was very real. It remains a threat even today, thankfully on a smaller scale. The part I enjoyed writing the most was the part of Tanya’s encounter with the mysterious black trees and her transformation from a vulnerable mortal young woman into an enigmatic being of incredible physical and mental power. I replayed that scene in my mind many times, imagining Tanya’s suffering and desperation that ends with her salvation. We all love superheroes, and Tanya in my eyes becomes a new kind of superhero but with a human heart.
Do you plan to continue Tanya’s story in other books in a series?
“Die To Live Again” does have a sequel titled “Makers of Destiny,” which takes place fifty years after the events in the first book. The characters who were very young have grown up, and the original characters have either died or are very old but still influence the events in the sequel. In the second novel, Tanya faces new threat from a new and powerful enemy as well as a political and racial conflict that results in one part of humanity changing into being smarter and more powerful than humans. This sequel also presents Tanya not only as a warrior but a diplomat as well as wife and a mother, who will do anything to protect her family in new uncertain times of the Second Civil War.
WORLD WAR THREE HAS BEGUN. . . .
Tanya Gray, a young college graduate, joins the shocked refugees seeking shelter from the approaching nuclear nightmare. They find it deep inside Crystal Temple, a high-tech underground fortress, designed to survive the nuclear fallout. But Tanya soon discovers dark and terrible secrets about Crystal Temple and joins a rebel movement.
Implicated in the uprising against the military dictatorship, she and her boyfriend are exiled to the surface. Moving across the hostile nuclear wasteland, they encounter a country gripped by anarchy and madness. Slowly dying from radiation poisoning, they prepare to meet the end. Then a masked stranger appears, offering them a chance at survival. . . .
Tanya undergoes a physical and spiritual transformation that will send her on a mission of discovery and vengeance. For as the world changes, the remnants of mankind must change or face extinction.
Die to Live Again is a story about Tanya, a young woman whose existence becomes a perpetual question when the world faces nuclear destruction. She is one of the lucky few who survive and for a time she is housed in one of the pre-prepared military shelters. This arrangement does not last. She goes from being a preferred informant for a budding dictator to an outcast, left to survive off the contaminated wasteland. For a while she has Jack, her boyfriend with her. This also does not last as two humans are no match for the unfiltered aftermath of nuclear destruction. Jack dies and she finds herself transformed but surviving. Soon enough Tanya realizes the existence of humanity is under threat and it is up to the survivors to decide what new Earth looks like, this time, with mother nature paving the way.
David Crane combines post-apocalyptic confusion and political drama in some exciting ways in this captivating book. Although most of the action takes place on the American mainland, we still get a glimpse of what happened around the world. This perspective was a very interesting take and political drama lovers will undoubtedly find it engaging. All of this balances well with the friction between nature and scientific input. There is even a religious aspect that is explored. These aspects are the underpinnings of human existence, and I felt that the spiritual inclusion added an intriguing dimension to this novel. The combination of politics, science and religion makes for a possibly overwhelming experience but I felt that it was balances just enough to never become too much. Additionally, although there are several drastic turning points throughout the novel, they are rarely, if ever, predictable.
Although this is a well written novel, I felt that there were some inconsistencies in the timeline, and a few things seemed too unrealistic. I would have liked the buildup and explanations of occurrences to be more robust.
Overall, this is a fantastically engaging novel that I found to be both interesting and entertaining; both things I’m starting to associate with David Crane novels.
Pages: 334 | ASIN: B00FZW20AQ
Swordpoint is a thrilling action adventure novel set against the chaos of the French Revolution. Why did you choose this time and place for your novel?
French Revolution and Napoleonic era always held a special fascination for me since I was a young and impressionable teenager. The French revolutionary period is unique, because it came as a result of people seeking social justice through extreme means and was largely an act of desperation against the over privileged French aristocracy. It was a time of great changes and political turmoil, where ancient royal institution was shaken and then toppled by the will of the common man. It was a phenomenon that shaped the history of the modern Europe and provided the background for this novel.
I enjoyed Vidocq’s character progression and overall development. What were some ideas that were important for you to capture in his character?
Vidocq is the main protagonist in this story and there were several important ideas in presenting him to the readers as a man of intelligence and action. The first idea in shaping his character came from reading his biography, because unlike many fictional characters he really existed. A man in trouble with the law who learns the hard way what it means to be an honest man is a strong idea and it shows in Vidocq’s actions as he navigates though obstacles in his turbulent life on his way to freedom and good reputation. The second idea in shaping his character came from his own decision
in changing his life using his experience as a master criminal to catch other criminals. What can be more exciting than an outlaw trying to catch other outlaws?
You highlight some important historical moments in the French Revolution. What kind of research did you undertake for this novel to get things right?
To be perfectly honest, I initially considered this writing project as too ambitious for me. I have never written a historical fiction novel before, and the desire to make it happen overcame my feelings of fear and doubt. My research was very thorough and it had to be right, because in order to convey the true historical setting of the period, I had to find out everything I could about French Revolution, the early reign of Napoleon, mannerisms, customs, speech, weapons and provide correct dates and the descriptions for every real historical event. It was time consuming, at times exhausting, but ultimately very enjoyable experience.
What is the next novel that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel which is in the first draft stage. It involves humanity in its relationship with an artificial intelligence after an apocalyptic event that alters human evolution on a planetary scale. The novel should be available in about a year’s time give or take a few months for the final polishing. I enjoy writing very much and hope to produce many interesting novels.
David Crane’s historical novel, Swordpoint, transports the reader to late 18th-century France, a country gripped with the chaos, blood, and terror of the French Revolution. The novel will entertain you with its realistic settings, interesting historical references, passionate love affairs, duels, battles, betrayals, and narrow escapes.
Eugene Francois Vidocq was a thief, an adventurer, and a duelist who searched for his place in life with wit, sword, and passionate love affairs. Hunted by the police agents of revolutionary France and later the agents of Napoleon, he is forced to make the most important decision in his life to survive and become a man of respect. To achieve that, he must transform himself into a new man, an outlaw hunting the outlaws in the name of justice. The road to salvation is hard, but for a man like Vidocq, failure is not an option.