“Revision Complete” means that I won’t be adding characters, changing scenes, or altering storyline in any major way. (ETA 5/2/17: I lied. I’ve added a couple scenes.) “Edit Complete” (i.e. fine-tooth comb, zero typo tolerance) will be a couple months from now. I’d like to have something finished and ready for the world by Oct. 1, 2017. (ETA 5/2/17: I doubt that I’ll make this date. The book will be ready, but publishing is slow.) We’ll see what I can do.
I’m sending out a finite (fixed but undisclosed) number of copies, even before I shop this out to publishers. It’s an intermediate draft (obviously) and So, to people who’ve read my writing, if you’re interested, please let me know.
Here’s the summary / blurb / trailer for Farisa’s Courage, intended as the first in a series (“The Antipodes”).
The planet is hot. Civilization thrives close to the poles, but the tropics are uninhabitable. Sea temperatures exceed 50°C (122°F), so violent storms make the equator impassible by ship. Deserts broil. Jungles are full of strange creatures like skrums, squibbani, and ghouls. Thus, two hemispheres have been out of contact for thousands of years. There are rumors of a high-altitude path between the two worlds: the Mountain Road. The known path passes through dangerous cities, cursed caves, and a desert reaching 80°C (176°F). No one has made the trek and returned.
State of the World
Humans have won. Dragons, orcs, and elves still exist, but the human world stands at a population over 1 billion. Technological marvels like steamships and machine guns dominate the world. Trains achieve a blistering pace of 25 miles per hour. Plank turnpikes supporting carriages connect the cities. Yet, all is not well. The industrial economy is in decline. Age-old ethnic hatreds are broiling. Cryptic graffiti on city walls suggests danger. Economic inequality and climate change are roiling continents.
The Global Company
The lynchpin of the modern world is the Global Company. The Global Company in the business of… everything, from alcohol to fuel oil to railroads to murder. It began as a detective agency specializing in witch hunts, strike breaking, and bounty hunting. Now controlling 70 percent of the world’s economy, it hasn’t lost its taste for mayhem. It funds pogroms, rigs elections, and topples nations.
Hampus Bell, the largest stakeholder in the Global Company, is its Patriarch. (In addition, he holds political offices, but those don’t matter because the Company won.) Even Bell isn’t safe from his own firm. He faces internal intrigue, bureaucratic incompetence, and the mysterious syr Konklava. Bell seems to be losing his grip on his firm and his own mind. An executive includes a grisly murder in a corporate presentation– and his career thrives. Mysterious suicides by high-ranking officials mount. There are rumors of atrocities by (and within) the Company that even Bell does not know about.
The Blue Marquessa
Magic is real, but people with the gift, or “mages”, suffer from a terrible disease. Known as “The Blue Marquessa”, it can cause infertility, amnesia, insanity– even death. Every spell has a cost. This is a world where everything has consequences. A mage must be careful, for her practice is one that has led many to insanity or early death.
Farisa La’ewind is a smart, good-looking 20-year-old girl “from everywhere and nowhere”. She’s a brown-skinned girl in a snow-white land, a bookish erudite in a dumb war, and a lover in a world where hate thrives. Worst of all, she’s a known person in a society where invisibility is the greatest asset.
She’s also one of the most powerful mages in the known world. She stands accused of two crimes. One, she could not have committed. The other, against Hampus Bell’s only son, she did. This has made her a witch hunter’s prize. With the bounty on her head, she’s literally worth her weight in gold.
26 April ’94
It’s two in the morning. Something awful happened. Farisa can’t remember what. Barefoot and in ill-fitting clothing, she runs into the declining industrial city, Exmore. She believes that she can find safety in “House 139”, but she’s never been there. In the dilapidated outskirts, she encounters cryptic, threatening graffiti. She learns something dangerous. Someone is watching her– and seems to know precisely where she is.
The two most powerful people in the world are drawn into a conflict that neither of them wants to fight. Farisa must avoid Hampus (and his spies) to survive. Hampus must find Farisa or face danger within his own company. The only safe place left for Farisa is… the Antipodes. Yet the Global Company, running out of world to conquer, wants to head South as well. The stakes get higher and higher with every mile, and soon it’s not only Farisa’s fate that hangs in the balance. If the worlds are joined, much more is at risk.
Farisa meets a gun-toting steam-era knight in a leather jacket. She meets a beautiful resistance fighter with a secret past. She purchases Jakhob’s Gun, a trash novel believed to hold coded messages. She fights orcs and ghouls and dragons and even other mages. Her skills develop. She finds love and friendship. As she fights to regain her memory, she learns not only who she is but who she was– and that may be what threatens her the most.