Okay, yes, I realize that NO FOREIGN SKY has only just dropped this past Monday, while the INVICTUS duology won’t be released till this fall, BUT I put a teaser for INVICTUS in the back of NO FOREIGN SKY. I know some of you have noticed that already.
Since I knew I was going to include that teaser, obviously it made sense to go ahead and put in a link to the first INVICTUS book.
THAT meant I needed to go ahead and put both INVICTUS books up for preorder. And THAT meant — given the title of this post, I’m sure you can see this coming — that I suddenly had to come up with back over description.
Initially I cheated: I just put: Add Description Here for both books and completed the preorder process. I did this several weeks ago, maybe a month ago. What could go wrong? I said. No one will notice they’re up yet, I said. It’s not like I’ve mentioned that I’m putting them up. I don’t have to mention that till I’m ready for readers to actually see these books on Amazon.
Well, I underestimated my readers! A few days later, I was startled to see that a few brave, trusting readers had preordered one or both books without ANY book description at all. Wow. I’m flattered, and honestly, how did you even know that duology was up? Maybe Amazon dropped INVICTUS into some inboxes or on some Kindles as a suggestion for various readers. Anyway, I did not expect that.
I immediately wrote back cover description and updated both books. The first book has, I hope, pretty decent description. The second book right now has a very brief description, which of course I will need to expand, but at least it’s got something. I would, as always, appreciate your help fine-tuning both. Therefore:
Every soldier knows there are endless ways to die.
Every Ubezhishche soldier knows there are far worse fates than death.
Sevastien one zero two four, S line third modification, has survived the destruction of his own ship and an enemy station. But he was rescued by the wrong side — by Nalyn Ila, captain of the Elysian destroyer Invictus. Now he’s facing a difficult problem: How to persuade Captain Ila and her people that he is not an enemy combatant. That if there was an act of war, it was committed by her people, not his own.
Sevastien is almost certain he was an innocent bystander of disaster … unless his own people set him up, aiming to get him aboard Invictus for reasons he can’t yet understand. Maybe they did. It’s just the kind of thing Ubezhishche Command might do.
Nalyn Ila is almost certain Sevastien is an enemy agent, placed aboard her ship by Ubezhishche Command. But no one, not her own people nor the enemy nor Sevastien himself, can possibly guess what plans she might have for an Ubezhishche soldier. Even if he actually is an innocent bystander, she may be able to use him to accomplish her private goals. And if he’s actually an enemy agent … that might be even better.
No plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
Especially when you aren’t sure which side is your enemy.
Now that everyone’s secret plans have been revealed, Sevastien suddenly finds that he has to reassess everything he knows about his enemies … and his friends.
Now that you’ve read both descriptions, let me say some stuff.
Sevastien actually goes by Syova. That’s the name his teammates and friends call him, and that’s the name most people (not all) call him when he’s on Invictus as well. That’s not a problem, is it? Everyone will be fine when the first lines of the story refer to Syova and not Sevastien. I mean, here’s the beginning of the story:
Every soldier knew there were endless ways to die. Every Ubez of every line and any description, soldier or not, knew there were far worse fates than death.
Syova stood in a relaxed pose, his hands at his sides, idly calculating odds as he gazed through the transparent hull of his emergency pod toward the Elysian destroyer currently sifting through the distant wreckage of their station and his ship. At the moment, he was inclined to set the odds of death much higher than those of any worse fate. Elysian scanning technology was quite good, so the probability of dying from a pulse burst to the head was probably marginally higher than the probability of dying of radiation poisoning. As emergency pods enjoyed a fair supply of air, both of those possibilities seemed substantially more likely than death from asphyxiation. One never knew exactly how long a pod’s air would last, of course, which made the calculation somewhat unreliable. Still, he’d call it roughly point two, point one eight, and point zero six.
A fate worse than death … he thought he’d pegged the probability of that about right, at something close to point zero two. The senior command staff of that Elysian ship out there wouldn’t subject an Ubez prisoner to anything worse than an ordinary interrogation followed by a brisk execution, no matter how suspicious his presence in this vicinity. He knew every dossier of every senior officer on that ship forward and backward, and he was thoroughly confident in that judgment.
Unfortunately, the probability that they would turn him over to Elysian Admiralty was more difficult to calculate. If that happened, the odds of a fate worse than death would go sharply upward.
The teaser is substantially longer than that, of course, but you can see that the main protagonist goes by “Syova.” The name “Sevastien,” with or without the “one zero two four,” is formal and used by superiors and distant acquaintances and so on. So is that a potential problem or point of confusion? He does give his name as Sevastien one zero two four very soon after this opening.
Also, just some comments:
Although this story is quite different from TUYO, I am deliberately using some of the same tropes and some of the same elements of structure, which I expect you will recognize when you see them. For example, I set up a similar dynamic between the isolated, captive protagonist and the older, powerful captor. This time, the latter character is a woman, and also a pov protagonist, but still, there is this essential similarity.
There are other similarities, which would perhaps constitute spoilers, so I’m shutting up now. I always want to tell you way too much (WAY TOO MUCH) and have to strenuously resist that urge. I guess, having said this much, I should probably at least add up front that no one is a telepath, so don’t think that might be one of the similarities. I’m thinking of other things.
But I will say, INVICTUS is not a space opera. I’m honestly not sure what it is. I do hope readers will generally like both, but compared to NO FOREIGN SKY, this one is much slower paced, particularly in the beginning; and much more about, well, never mind, I can’t think of any way to say anything about certain things without spoiling you.
Once it’s out, I should do a post about SF subgenres and you can tell me where you think it fits, if anywhere.
Regardless of subgenre, this is a story I’ve enjoyed a lot — I’m going to enjoy picking it up again to finish revisions to the back half. I should get to that in a few days, maybe next week.
I hope you enjoy it too!