Now, Michael and I go way back. Far enough that I don’t always like remembering how far. LOL.
As is often the case, we spent a period of time where we weren’t in contact with each other. Thanks to the wonder that is FaceBook, we’ve reconnected and discovered we’ve each been very busy since last we sat down.
We’ve both become published fantasy authors!
If you’re a fan of fantasy with a healthy dose of military tactics, pick up his book. Great read!
“It may seem a fine thing in song or story to be ankle-deep in the blood of your enemies but in reality it’s slippery, smells bad and is nearly impossible to get out of your socks afterwards.” From the diaries of Engvyr Gunnarson
In Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1482637057) magic, science and technology work hand-in-hand to create a new kind of fantasy world with an underlying logic that makes it as real as a handshake from an old friend. Told with humor and humanity, it is a story of sweeping events seen from a ‘ground-level’ perspective by real people living and helping to shape the unique history of their world.
Engvyr’s father gave up on the miner’s life to move the family back to their ancestral home in the far north. But the journey is fraught with perils the young dwarf has never imagined, and when tragedy casts him in the role of hero, well, what’s a dwarf to do? The events of that fateful journey have shaped and ruled his life, but now Engvyr wants nothing more than to make a place for himself, perhaps settle down and raise a family. But when a new enemy rises in the North he finds himself at the center of the conflict, with not merely the freedom of his people but the fate of all of humanity hanging in the balance… and the habit of heroism is a hard one to break.
“Impressive work, and great fun!” — Greg Bear, Author of Hull 03 and The Forge of God
The description is at the link above so I won’t repeat it here. At the Clarion West mixer last summer I was asked for an ‘elevator pitch’ for this book. I thought a moment and said, “Hard-science Science Fiction set in a medieval fantasy world as written by Louis L’Amour.” That sums it up pretty well but it’s much more than that. In this post I’m going to discuss the stuff behind the scenes, as it were; a look behind the curtain.
The basic premise is that Dwarves and Goblins were created from humans by an evil overlord in the ancient past to work his mines. The Dwarves discovered how to use blasting powder as a weapon and rebelled against the overlord and killed him, freeing both themselves and the goblins. Once free the dwarves fled north through the ‘human’ nations and discovered that Battlemages could detonate their blasting powder at a distance rendering their make-shift guns not only useless, but a danger to them. Fleeing into the deep mountains they established their own kingdom. Determined never to be enslaved again they learn to make guns that magic cannot effect- powerful large-bore air rifles. Fielding elite regiments of riflemen they are able to keep their freedom against the encroaching ‘Tall Folk’ and the Goblins. The ‘Tall Folk’ are unable to match the dwarves technology and military prowess and over the centuries settle into a sometimes uneasy peace and establish trade. This is the world the protagonist is born into.
The dwarves have their own magic, shaped to serve the needs of their creator to help build his evil empire. Their abilities to work stone, metal and wood are supplemented by magic.
The Dwarven and Human cultures in the book have a Norse background, and their ancient tongue is a corrupted form of Old Norse. Nordic values and the values of the Hävamal are woven through their culture. The races share variations of a religion based on this background.
The reason that I liken this to hard-science Science Fiction is the painstaking research that went into the book. I did a lot of math working out the Dwarven technology and the battle scenes in the book. The air rifles are based on solid math and science- they would work in reality (I hope to be able to make one some day!) Guns often work badly in fantasy, because once they are introduced in a world the technology would eventually, inevitably spread until everyone used them. I took special pains to insure that the technology used would be pretty much impossible for the other races to duplicate given the magic, social, commercial and political make-up of the world.
More of this is implied in the story than is explained; this is mostly ‘deep background’ and we took care to avoid ‘data-dumping.’ The information that is conveyed in the story is done naturally as part of the story, in the appropriate places and we reveal no more of this than is needed to advance the story.
‘Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman’ is part of a continuing series that so far includes the novel, a short-story and a novella. I hope that you’ll have a look.