A Country Among Countries is a political thriller inside of a space opera that’s filled with intriguing characters up against tough obstacles. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did it change as you wrote?
There were two story elements that needed to be accomplished. The first was winding down the incidents at Ganymede, and the second was getting the majority of characters to Mars because of the approaching mid-series conclusion in the next book. It was tough for me, and don’t feel like I’ve told half the story that I wanted to tell in this particular novel. One major events in the story is the rejection of Mat’s ore at A40, thus leading to the decision to go to Mars.
The story is filled with intriguing characters. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Ludwick or Mat. Ludwick because he’s so easy to write, and Mat because of his personal values.
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
Well I did do my research with regards to propulsion, fuel, speed, orbit and gravity. I like novels with ‘real science’ in them, but because it’s fiction you can hedge a little bit. But it is a balance. I believe my audience is educated, and they’ll know when I push the tech too far out of bounds. I just tried to make it as realistic as possible without the benefit of an engineering PHD.
This is book three in your Harmony series. What can readers expect in book four?
Rashomon’s War will conclude this part of the series. The events surrounding Modi’s take over of Mars will likely be quick, and the majority of the story will be found in the resolutions for the characters, and most of those were determined by Book 2, Year of the Child. (psst. then we start again in a new timeline.)
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The Modronovich Incident by RL Dean is a sci-fi mystery set in outer space and told from the perspective of Beatrice, a pilot and wreck driver. She is tipped off about a mysterious case in which the Modronovich, a cargo ship testing an advanced Newtonian drive, went missing. Bea is intrigued by this case and pulls some strings to get a crew on board so that she can take a deep dive to find it. However, after facing endless obstacles and dead ends, she is forced to give it up. Until, a figure central to the case finally appears. Bea is finally able to put together the missing pieces and finds a shocking revelation at the heart of the puzzle.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book- I read it in just a few sittings and found it nearly impossible to put down. Not only are the premise and plot captivating, but the perspective from which it is shown is also perfectly captured. Beatrice is the perfect window into this futuristic world- the secrets, conspiracies, and revelations are portrayed through her eyes. From the first scene itself, RL Dean masterfully creates an air of suspense and tension, without losing me on an overdose of tech jargon.
RL Dean also managed to create strong female characters in powerful positions. They were ready to save the day, irrespective of which situation happened to arise. Their voices were deftly handled for the most part, except for a few questionable allusions to the ‘women love shopping’ trope. Especially Bea, who handled professional trouble and a petulant mother like any real woman do, with exasperation and a determination to bring her life back on track.
Another aspect that I found great joy in were the ‘Harvey Editorial’ snippets at the beginning of each chapter. They offered short insights, dialogue, or debate on the current day affairs of the future. They were funny, quirky, and often harkening back to our very own 21st century. These were everything from a sassy quip on a politician to a gloomy proclamation of the world ending (I guess some things never change).
All in all, this is a rewarding and thrilling read from start to finish, and I would recommend it to everyone.
Pages: 171 | ASIN: B07Z282VB4
In R. L. Dean’s Year Of The Child, the reader is taken through a series of events entangling characters in crime, politics of control, and rogue groups.
The chapters in the book are short which makes it easy to follow the plot. The first character we’re introduced to is Misaki. The Apex plant and Harmony dome had been ruined. The blame had initially been placed on Free Mars Now terrorists. Ludwick Chaserman was an ex-employee of Apex Mining and a hard critic of plant leadership. He had received money from Shanghai Independent Bank and Trust after the dome had exploded and UN Special Security Team had enough reasons to implicate him. Ludwick Chaserman is an intriguing and well developed character, there is something about him that made him likable.
The hunt for Ludwick is akin to following a detective series. Using believable processes and deductive logic to hunt down criminals. Everything is subtle and I became so engrossed in the story. Feeling culpable for sabotage after the destruction, Misaki decided to go to her haven, the Sadie. Tetsuya was one character I cherished in the book. The man had a reputation that preceded him. A former detective, Tetsuya was tasked with investigating piracy. Tetsuya was knowledgeable in many things. His investigating techniques were not unique but enthralling to follow nonetheless. I like how Tetsuya’s mind worked.
R. L. Dean has arranged the content in the book distinctively, in that every chapter focuses on a particular character. This format was fun to read as going through every chapter gave me a new and unique experience.
Year of The Child is a great piece of science fiction with interweaving themes of drama, violence, organized crime, detective stories, power, and aggression. I felt that the characters in this book were exceptional and brought life into this otherwise straightforward space opera. The story is consistently interesting, while the suspense is muted at times, I felt that the plot twists more than made up for it. R. L. Dean’s book shows how complex people can be. Exploring humanity and the desire for control is not black and white.
Pages: 340 | ASIN: B07XF7Z2ZY
The Rhine is an exciting space opera following a dramatic chain of events set off by the Free Mars Now movement. What served as sources of inspiration for you while writing this book?
The Harmony series is based off of a 15 year old TV script that I wrote about Martian independence, the novel form is its third incarnation. That script was inspired by the TV show Babylon 5. I wanted to explore Mars more thoroughly; what is the impetus for the movement for independence, who are the leaders, what is their endgame?
We follow three very well developed characters in this story where their actions intertwine. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?
Mat is the ‘everyman’ or ‘average guy’ that suddenly finds himself in circumstances beyond his control, and in this capacity he is simply ‘reacting’ to what is happening. This was a deliberate design of character. Every one of us can relate to being ‘tossed’ into something that we must deal with- circumstances not of our own choosing. This also works as a forge for our own character, who we really are will come out. I think of all character archetypes, this is my favorite.
While it may be said that the UN (in my story) is the catalyst- their oppression of Mars setting everything in motion- the character of Alexandria is the one that sets the story off. She is my ‘grey’ character; a family woman, yet ambitious. In her case I wanted to explore those traits, how to balance ‘work’ and family. She loves her family, and seeing a world in the grip of government powers that live for greed, she decides to do something about it.
As the Governor of Mars, Shultz is completely dedicated to his people, but as the story progresses we see he’s in over his head. We hear so much about bad politicians, I thought I would shift the paradigm and make a good one.
You’ve built an intricate world in this book, between Earth and Mars and the corporations. What was the funnest part about building this world?
For me it’s the visualization. In a previous review of the book it was stated that I ‘lavish on detail’, and the reason for that is that I just write what I see. If Shultz and Jung are in his office talking, I imagine the office’s sights and sounds and smells. The same holds true for the Sadie’s corridors and cabins, or Apex’s boardroom.
This is book one in the Harmony series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?
Harmony Book 2: ‘Year of the Child’ picks up two months after the events in ‘The Rhine’, opening with Misaki. I expect it to be available by November 2019.
The colony depends on Earth businesses for goods, but Earth is run by an imperialistic United Nations whose regulations and sanctions are overbearing.
Increasing tensions are only exacerbated by suspicious pirate attacks in the Belt. It is rumored the attacks are the work of the Free Mars Now grassroots movement or privateers paid by the Martian government in defiance of the UN. Recent victims of a pirate attack, Mat and his crew aboard the Sadie, discover evidence that could prove the rumors true.
With the UN squeezing the colony for every dime they can get, and Shultz looking to better the Martian situation, there are deals to be made. No one knows that better than Apex Mining’s CEO, Alexandria Reinhardt, whose Board of Directors has ordered her to sell their ore to the Martians despite a UN embargo. Her plans are more ambitious than simply ignoring government decrees, though.
Will the Free Mars Now movement find a way to release the colony from their 100-year lease to Earth? Can Shultz find a way to work with Earth companies without angering their government? Does Mat possess enough evidence to prove Mars’ disloyalty? And … in the past what happens when you push a distant colony too far?
Greater Things Than Thou is an exciting mix of fantasy and science fiction. What was the inspiration behind this fascinating story?
For me the science-fiction and fantasy element was merely an impetus for the main character’s emotional state. The important element for me is the reflection backward. Old man Patrin spends a lot of time looking back on his life, but more than a summary of events he was involved in we instead get his feelings. Patrin is a person that was never able to move beyond the emotions of his childhood.
Patrin is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to explore with his character?
The primary theme that runs through Patrin’s life is loss. I think it’s a feeling that we can all relate to, and for the story to be a success it must be relatable to the reader.
There is some deep world building in this book. What were some driving ideals behind the creation of your world?
The world building technique comes from my youth spent playing RPGs. I was always more concerned with the larger picture, because you can paint many stories in it, depending on government, culture, demographics, and so forth. In this our primary setting is the Kingdom of Denion, with roots in a ‘Great Migration’ that took place in the distant past. That past is very important in upcoming novels, because it also explains the origins of the ‘Gift’.
This is book one in the Blood of the Prince series. Where does book two pickup and when will it be available?
Blood of the Prince Book 2: ‘All Things Ruin’ is currently out, at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and some ancillary sites. It picks up about a week after the end of ‘Greater Things than Thou’ and continues Patrin and Xadik’s mission.
An orphan is told he is meant for greater things …
Gray eyes are the mark of those with the Gift: an inherent ability to connect with otherworldly technology. In a dangerous world filled with thieves and bloodshed, the Gift can change your entire life.
Patrin is one such gifted person, and he knows it’s the only reason he’s alive. As a teenager, rescued from bloodthirsty bandits, Patrin gives his loyalty to Galin, a deposed Crown Prince, promising to help him seize power.
As Galin teaches him about technology, history, and the shifting moralities of man, Patrin must choose where fate will take him. Galin intends for him to assassinate the current king, but Patrin does not know if he can carry out the bloody task.
With the help of new friends and the beautiful Lady Lena, Patrin will have to decide between helping one of the few people who have ever valued him, or forging his own way in a dark and treacherous world.
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His first memories were of his town burning to the ground. He doesn’t remember his parents or where he lived, only flames, death, and fear. Baler, a mentally unstable ‘king’ to his community of bandits, takes him to raise as his own son. In this bandit camp he is known only as boy. On a raid several years later Galin and Garret save him and give him a real home, hone his skills and give him a name, Patrin. A mix of medieval style living and culture with an alien technology thrown in to add a unique twist to the tale of an exiled king recovering his thrown.
Greater Things than Thou by R. L. Dean is well written with each chapter starting out with a sort of monologue / overview from his perspective as an old man. On the surface the setting and time period is that of medieval style though not from standard Europe. There are clear class systems from farmers to royalty. Most technology, for the non-Gifted, is what you would find in Medieval times, horses, carts and crossbows. The world that R. L. Dean has created involves the addition of an alien technology. This technology allows them to heal at remarkable levels and see things within their mind that no one else can see. It increases their intelligence and augments their bodies based on their individual packages and their jobs. Patrin is trying to destroy all remaining tech to prevent further use of it by anyone. The remainder of the story is his life from a small boy to young adult. I really liked the detail that went into Patrin’s thoughts and how he processed everything. How he adapted to each new situation life throws at him, and the technology that is implanted into his body. He is genuinely a character that wants to see the good and morality in all people and do the right thing. He eludes to his oath to Galin as being the cause of his moral missteps and failings later in life. The reader can get a real feel for the people he develops emotions for, Garret, Serin, Xadik and especially Lena. His relationship with Lena is one of young love, the awkwardness of first loves, and highlights the complications of his life thanks to his oath of loyalty to Galin.
As the first book in the series, Blood of the Prince, it is a great introduction to the main characters and how Patrin gets his start in life. Based on the monologues at the beginning of the chapters, I can tell the rest of this series is going to be full of adventures, plot twists, and action. It is a story about loyalty even to a fault, finding your way, and redemption of character. This is going to be an exciting series to follow.
Pages: 283 | ASIN: B077BVF5HT
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