I thought I was going to finish out this series. Enough people still like it for me to consider continuing, just not more than a book every couple of years. Still, I was thinking of ending it here. But something happened along the way.
I wrote two very long books, two hundred thousand words plus each, back in 2010. They were the first books I had written with the intention of self publishing. Due to many things, procrastination among them, I didn’t start self-publishing until December 31, 2011. For the next nine months I sold a total of forty odd books, not really enough to consider quitting my day job. I did a giveaway for The Deep Dark Well, which must have primed the pump. I gave away over four thousand of that book, which has gone on to sell over seven thousand since. Meanwhile, I had taken the two books I wrote in 2010 and cut them both into two books each, the first two volumes of Exodus: Empires at War and Refuge respectfully. I released Refuge first, in October 2012, thinking it had the most promise. After all, it had the most imaginative story line, about Earth people transported to another dimension where magic, dragons, elves and dwarves were real. It did okay, about three thousand books in the first three months, then went on to over eight thousand in the years since. The second book did almost as well, with little drop off.
I released the first book of Exodus: Empires at War in November 2012, and it took off. By the time I released the second book of the series, in January 2013, it had already sold five thousand books, and went on to hit the thirty thousand mark over the years. Obviously Exodus was the book that was going to allow me to quit my day job. In March of 2013 I did indeed quit my State job, and never looked back. I went on to write seventeen Exodus books, and now am contemplating the end of that series, after five or ten more books.
Refuge, on the other hand, kind of died out with book three, when I removed probably the most important aspect of the story. It was technology versus magic, modern armies versus ancient forces. I think that was the part that appealed to most people, but I had planned from the beginning to lose the tech and go back to basics. The Earth people would have to learn how to use what was around them, including magic. I had planned to introduce new/old tech as the series moved along. Trains, airships, even steam powered guns and artillery. But the next two books fell off too far, too fast. So I introduced the steam tech early. I had planned for twenty books, maybe more, and had developed the story line over a thousand years, since my main protagonists basically lived forever. And some of the evil antagonists as well, including the former SS man Heinrich Stuppleheim. So while writing book 6, which was to be the last in the series, I introduced Heinrich, and realized I could pull his story together and finish it in one book. So there will be more. Not often, but I will try to get one out every couple of years, so that the people who still enjoy the series have something to look forward to.
And now for the excerpt.
King Heinrich Stuppleheim, Heinrich the First, and probably the only, since he was an immortal, sat his throne in the great hall of the castle he had made his own. He no longer had the weapons that had won him a kingdom, defeating the Ellala elves and their red human servants with ease. Heinrich, once a full supporter of the Philosophy of Racial Purity, the doctrine espoused by the Fuhrer, wasn’t really sure what to do with the people of his kingdom. The elves were obviously a superior race, above even humans, with their long-life spans and affinity to magic. Not superior to Heinrich though, with his possibly infinite life span and immunity to any magic they might throw at him. That had surprised their mages, throwing their most powerful spells at him to no affect while he cut them down with impunity.
Heinrich had been a member of the Waffen SS, fighting on the Eastern Front, before getting his transfer to Auschwitz and the vital job of ridding the world of the Jews. Then he had been transferred to the Western Front, the Das Reich Division, the famous Death’s Heads, it in need of warm bodies. He had finished the war there, killing a Wehrmacht officer of his general proportions, and hiding out as a prisoner of war. Free a year later, despite being very recognizable to those he had tormented in the concentration camp, standing two meters tall and thin as a rail, he had worked the system. Having telepathic powers had helped, since with time he had been able to drive the witnesses mad, their behavior erratic enough that they were discounted.
After the war, his freedom won, the soldier had done the only thing he was good at. Soldiering. He worked as a mercenary officer in Africa, taking care of many of the border wars and revolutions that were a constant among what he thought of as the subhumans of the continent. He still thought of them as less than human, but he had changed his mind some as they became the soldiers he led. They may not have been the equal of white people in his mind, but they fought well and were loyal, so he gave them a pass. He still preferred his couple of hundred European and American troops, but if he were to lead a significant force, he needed to have the blacks on board.
It didn’t take long for him to give the Jews a pass as well. He followed them in the news, how they had taken their own country from the Arabs who outnumbered them twenty to one. Then fought a number of wars, always outnumbered, always victories, thanks in part to homegrown ingenuity and tactical flexibility. And their scientists had impressed. From the ones who had developed the Atomic bomb that Germany had proved incapable of producing, to their award winners in physics, chemistry and medicine, he had come to accept that the Fuhrer had been wrong about them as well. They weren’t Untermensch, but Ubermensch, just like the Germans, and if Hitler had enlisted them on his side, especially their scientists, things might have been much different. Or maybe not, since the odds had always been long against the Reich.
The immortal didn’t know what opened the dimensional gate to this world. There were no nuclear weapons used on the small piece of the Sudanese desert his battalion was in, taking down the animist rebels for the majority Muslim government. He had heard later that the closest bomb that had gone off had taken Cairo. It was enough to open the gate that transferred his nine hundred heavily armed troops, along with tens of thousands of Sudanese, and even a couple of thousand Arabic Egyptians, here with him.
It was difficult to look down on fellow Earth humans when they were the only allies one could depend on in this strange world. The mercenaries had cut down everything the natives had sent at him, until the ammo was gone. The Sudanese, with a tradition of swordsmanship, had then come to the fore. The faith of the Arabs and Sudanese had made them immune to magic as well. And Heinrich had found that his psychic powers had amplified a hundred-fold on this world. When the people of the land he was in had rallied against him he had blasted them with mental agony, while charging the enemy mages and shrugging off their magic until he cut them apart with the great sword he had started carrying when his firearms became useless.
“Your majesty,” said the Ellala, Felendal, who had become his steward and liaison with the other people. “General Gor-Shug is here to see you.”
“Send him in,” said Heinrich with a cold smile. He glanced back at his two bodyguards, three meter tall demons that he had called up during a blood ceremony. The red creatures wore the black uniforms of the SS, Death Head symbols on their collars, Swastikas on their left arms. Heinrich couldn’t use the standard magic of this world, but he had discovered that blood magic worked, the power coming from the dying victim and not passing through him.
“My King,” growled the ugly creature who marched into the throne room and gave a slight bow. He wore full plate armor, also in the black that was Heinrich’s favorite color, SS insignia prominent.
At first Heinrich hadn’t known what to make of the Orcs. They obviously were inferior to humans, in everything except physical strength and ferocity. That was enough to make them useful, and the Orcs of the nearby mountains would only serve under a general of their own. So the king had aided Gor-Shug in conquering the other Orcs of the mountains, and they had become part of the army of the Kingdom of Alsacia, as Heinrich had named it. He had become the king of the Orcs using their own traditions, a fist fight to prove who was the stronger. No other race on the planet beat the Orcs in a brawl, but Heinrich, with his superior speed and strength, had beaten Gor-Shug to the ground, and earned the undying loyalty of the savage people, who were now the heart of his army.
“The dwarves of the mountains refuse to bend the knee.”
Heinrich scowled at the Orc, not liking what he heard. He really hadn’t expected the proud warriors of the Grimikin, the Mountain Dwarves, to submit without a fight. Heinrich had conquered many villages of the lesser dwarves, the Dimikin, the forest variety. Those were good enough craftsmen and farmers, but everyone Heinrich had talked to had agreed that the Grimikin were the best metal smiths on the planet. And Heinrich wanted them working to produce weapons and armor for his forces.
“You know what to do,” he told Gor-Shug. “Kill as many as you have to until they submit. But make sure you leave enough of a population to mine and smith for me.”
“They have powerful earth magics,” said the Orc, frowning.
“Then take a regiment of my Muslims with you.”
The Orc smiled, a horrific sight to one not used to them. Heinrich had gathered every Muslim who had translated to this region during the exodus from Earth. He now had over a hundred thousand of them, among them thirty thousand adult warriors who were immune to magic. Those not raised to the sword had been trained by those who had been. As long as Heinrich let them worship Allah they were his. He really didn’t care if they worshiped a rock as long as they fought for him.