Just a few moments ago I uploaded Exodus: Empires at War: Book 3: The Rising Storm, the much anticipated sequel to my successful Exodus: Empires at War series. I think it will be a very entertaining addition to the series, and one that fans of the first two books will really enjoy. For those who didn’t like the first two books due to the complicated storyline and large number of characters, I am afraid you will not enjoy this one either, as it has the same problems, if problems they are. I love this kind of story, and don’t see a large cast as a problem, especially when telling a story across a huge expanse of space. Book 4 of the main storyline will wrap up the initial phase of the war, and I realize that future books will have to cover a much greater time frame in order to advance the series to the point where I can finish it before I die of extreme old age. For those who want to go right to Amazon, right now, and get the book, be patient. I uploaded it a day ahead of time to make sure that it was there by the official release date, Saturday, May 25th. It takes Amazon up to twelve hours to place a book on their digital shelves. This book was proofread, which hopefully will reduce the number of errors that were legion in the first two books. I am sure there are still some there. I have read books put out by the big publishers, supposedly professionally edited and proofread, that still have a number of typos. I have a theory that it has something to do with Quantum Mechanics. You know, the quantum tunneling of electrons at random intervals, leading to changes in the electron signatures on the media on which manuscripts are stored. Just a theory, but until proven wrong I will stick with it.
I am already working on the next chapter in the Refuge series, and expect to have the first draft finished by mid June, after which I will tackle the third volume of The Deep Dark Well series. By late Fall I hope to have the spinoff novel, Capitulum, about the political climate in the capital of the Empire, and the investigation into the murders of Members of Parliament, finished. In that book I will introduce more of the technology of everyday life, as well as the tech of crime solving, and the methods criminals use to get around discovery. I may also release an already completed, in first draft form, book tentatively titled Soulless, about the possible horrible side effects of matter transmission by nanotechnology. I say tentatively as there is already a very famous book by that name, so I will be searching for something else that fits and still is different enough. And now for the excerpt.
Colonel Samuel Baggett recalled hearing about something call The Wilderness Campaign from the time of old Earth. He didn’t remember much about it, except it was during the North American Civil War of a prespace century. He was sure that whatever it involved it would not be anything like the wilderness that he had his back to.
All night the static in the atmosphere had been clearing as the enemy systematically eliminated the human electronic warfare assets. Some of those assets were too small and dispersed to be eliminated entirely in any time frame less than weeks. Still, the enemy was getting a better look at the ground from space at any time since he had arrived. That had spelled death for more of his forces, including the young Lt. Colonel who had come to his rescue the other day.
This kind of war was totally unlike anything he had experienced on Janaikasa, fighting the Lasharan rebels. Here he was the outnumbered and outgunned force. Here he needed to use stealth and guile to bleed the enemy, while keeping his force alive.
I still have more than six hundred effectives, thought the Colonel, looking over his HUD. Not a lot of heavy weapons, but enough to hit and run for weeks if necessary. And what then? He looked up at the sky, just as he did every morning, hoping to see Imperial assault shuttles landing reinforcements. And what then, he thought in a continuing train. We can’t be the only system these bastards are hitting. We’re probably low on the list of systems to relieve, if there even is such a list.
“All the civilians are into the forest,” said the voice of Sergeant Major Terry Zacharias over the com, bringing a smile to the Colonel’s face.
Zacharias had been in the thick of the fighting the whole way, and hadn’t suffered a scratch. The irrepressible little noncom was one tough and smart SOB, and Baggett was glad to still have him.
“We’ll start falling back to the forest in five mikes,” said the Colonel over the com. And with luck we’ll be under cover before the demon fuckers even realize we’re gone. Not sure how well the civilians are going to do in this here wilderness though, the Colonel thought as he envisioned the forest filled with all those huge carnivores, and even the herbivores that could be deadly just because of gigantic size. They’ll just have to do as well as they can. At least most of them are armed, and hopefully I can use some of them as guerillas.
“We have movement to our front, Colonel,” said the voice of one of the new company commanders, just a platoon leader the day before. “Sounds like rumbling, but different than the barrage.”
“Let me listen,” said Baggett, jacking the gain from his helmet earphones up to max. It was a sound that was unmistakable to one who knew what to listen for. The creaking of metal, crumbling of building fragments underneath. And there were several of them. Baggett looked at his HUD, which was transmitting what the officer saw, and cursed under his breath as he saw what looked like a long gun.
“Those are tanks, Lieutenant,” he said, checking the rest of the front and seeing more armored vehicles just out of easy detection range. They screwed that one up. Should have waited a little longer and just come on when they were ready.
Kinetic rounds started coming down from the sky, most into the farmlands in front of the Infantry positions. Some were falling into the wilderness, knocking down multiple square kilometers of trees at every strike. The ground rumbled underneath, and some cursing came over the com.
“Quiet on the com,” came the voice of the Sergeant Major. Baggett mentally nodded his head. Any signals could be traced, though the probability was remote that any single transmission would. Multiply that probability by several hundred and the enemy would be sure to pinpoint one signal. The best protection was to only send necessary info, and to move after each transmission set.
“What’s this look like to you, Terry?” asked the Colonel over the private circuit between them as he changed positions.
“It looks like a rolling barrage, sir,” said the Top Sergeant. “I think they’re going to come in right after this and roll over our positions.”
“That’s what I thought, too,” said the Colonel. He engaged the general circuit. “All units are to leave their positions immediately. Repeat, leave your current positions immediately, unless you are already in the wilderness. All others move into the wilderness immediately.”
The acknowledgements came back immediately over the com, and Baggett’s HUD showed his men streaming into the heavy forest as fast as they could move. There were still keeping good order and separation, something needed when the enemy could always switch their targeting and hit the forest at will.
Less than a minute after they evacuated their trenches and holes the barrage came down on where they had been. Bright flashes lit the area. The rounds were not all that powerful, less than a kiloton each, but they were striking in mass, and any troops who had been underneath the strikes would have been killed, or at least seriously injured and their suits incapacitated. Rounds continued to come down in the wilderness as well, and Baggett lost about a dozen troopers to the barrage, though the unarmored civilians fared worse. But when the enemy rolled over the Imperial positions with tanks and armored infantry moments later they found nothing living. And enough booby traps that survived the barrage to make their lives miserable.