Today was the release day of When Eagles Dare (Four Horsemen Tales Book 5), by Seventh Seal Press, Chris Kennedy’s company, written by Doug Dandridge. That would be me. You can find it at Amazon.US and Amazon.UK, as well as all of the other Amazons worldwide. This is my first novel in the Four Horsemen Universe created by Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey, which now includes a bunch of other very good authors. It has been a most successful series, and part of its success is the marketing genius of Chris. Releasing a book at least once a month, often every three weeks, is part of that genius. And that requires more than one author. Actually more than two. I have written six books in a year, so it is possible with two, but is very difficult, as books don’t always come out of our minds and onto the keyboards as fast as we would like. Of course, if the stories aren’t good, nothing else really matters. Anyway, it works for them, and the sales and award nominations appear to back up the method.
I first got involved in the 4HU with the anthology, For A Few Credits More, released at last year’s Liberty Con. The story I wrote for that anthology, With The Eagles, followed mercenary leader Jonah White Eagle and his company on a couple of missions to rescue hostages, and piss off the criminal syndicate who was making a fortune on the people they were taking captive. In the process Jonah and his people earn the enmity of the aliens who run the criminal enterprise. They want revenge. Now, most of the books in the series, as well as most of the stories in the anthology, involve mercenaries in CASPers, the multimillion credit mecha/battle armor suits that even the playing field for humans against much more physically capable aliens. Great idea, and not one I wanted to pursue. I thought about what humans could do without the suits, in situations that required sneaking. Stealth, the art of getting into position, gathering intelligence, and making a kill.
That story was fun, and I considered writing a novel for the 4HU. I talked with Chris a DragonCon 2017, and we agreed I could write a novel, possibly in the main series. From there I went on to my other projects and didn’t touch base with Chris again until around February of this year, the same time I turned in the first book of the Kinship War series to Arc Manor. Unfortunately, even though it finally freed up some time, I had taken too much, and the slot in the main timeline of the series was no longer available. No problem. I told Chris I would come up with something else. I thought of the Fierce Eagle Company and exploring their specialty in a novel. An opportunity to sell a story to another anthology, Tales From the Lyon’s Den, came up, and I signed on for that one about the same time I signed the contract for When Eagles Dare. I came up with the name, among several others, and Chris loved it. It had a resonance with the movie and book that so many people were familiar with, something that would ring a bell. But not exactly the same. I came up with the story, outlined it, and started writing, planning to have it to Chris in a month. Like most plans, things didn’t work out, and I didn’t get it done until three months after signing the contract.
When Eagles Dare follows the Fierce Eagle Company as they perform a mission on a very unusual planet where a criminal enterprise, along with their own unusual mercenaries, are running an operation to harvest the planet. There are intelligent creatures on the world, slaves for the syndicate. Someone has hired the Fierce Eagles to scout out the compound so a force of CASPer equipped mercenaries can come in and take it. Things go bad from the start, and the mercenaries must traverse a number of deadly environments to get to the target and perform the mission. Bad news follows bad news, but Jonah White Eagle and his team have never given up on a mission, and this is not about the be the first time.
There were a lot of novels ahead of it in the queue, and it was first come first serve for publication. Fair, and I can’t fault the method. It works to put out books regularly, but not to release a flood of them all at once. Anyway, here it is, polished, proofed and ready to go. If you like any of my past work, I think you will love this one. I’m asking my readers to go on over to Amazon and pick this one up. It’s available on Kindle Unlimited as well if you have that subscription service.
Will I do another book in the 4HU? I can see it happening, but so much depends on how well this book does. That’s why I’m depending on my readers to give me a boost. While depending on the 4HU hardcore fans to look up some of my other work. One time or part of a greater future effort, I think this is a very good military science fiction tale, one that fans of the genre will enjoy. Now, I’m not going to include an excerpt with this one, but here’s the blurb from Amazon.
The mission Jonah White Eagle and his Fierce Eagle Company had taken was nearly impossible. Land on the middle of a 7.5-mile-high plateau, walk six miles to the edge of the cliff, and scale down the 39,000-foot-high cliffs to the foothills of the canyon below. Nothing to it, right? But then there was the swamp they had to cross, full of large indigenous life forms that thought Humans made good snacks. And the rivers, full of other killers, they would have to negotiate.
And then there were the Xlatan, a race of six-legged killers guarding the target. A relatively new mercenary race, although one more established than the Humans, the Xlatan were supposed to be tough. Maybe not—quite—as tough as the Besquith, but close enough to give a number of other merc races the chills when they went up against them.
The Fierce Eagle Company only needed to traverse the planet, stay alive, and then surveil the operation the Xlatan were guarding to gather intelligence for the CASPer-equipped merc company that was enroute to destroy the operation.
The mission would have been nearly impossible, all on its own. There’s just one more thing, though, that they don’t know. They’ve been set up, and the heavy forces aren’t coming.
Still, anything is possible…When Eagles Dare.