About this project
The Saga of the Iron Dragon will be a trilogy of books consisting of:
- Dream of the Iron Dragon
- Dawn of the Iron Dragon
- Voyage of the Iron Dragon
Each book will be at least 300 pages in length.
The background for the Saga of the Iron Dragon is an interstellar war between humans and an alien race. The story is set primarily in northern Europe during the early tenth century. The Saga combines elements of hard science fiction and alternate history.
It is the year 2245. After a decades-long war with an alien race known as the Cho-ta’an, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable and the human race has been driven to the brink of extinction. Humanity survives in a handful of colonies scattered across the galaxy, connected by hyperspace gates. Things look dim for the human race when the crew of the scientific survey ship Mae Jemison comes into possession of an incredibly destructive "planet-killer" bomb left behind by a long-extinct alien race. With this weapon, the human alliance could threaten to destroy the Cho-ta’an homeworld, changing the balance of the conflict.
But as the Mae Jemison approaches a hyperspace gate to deliver the bomb to the alliance command, it is fired upon by a Cho-ta’an vessel. The Cho-ta’an missiles damage the Mae Jemison and the gate. The Mae Jemison goes through the damaged gate and the crew find themselves near Jupiter, the Cho-ta’an ship close behind. The gate the Mae Jemison came through appears to have disappeared, and the crew eventually determine that—due to a fluke warping of spacetime caused by the damaged gate—they have somehow traveled back in time to 885 A.D.
Stuck 1300 years in the past, its engines damaged, the Mae Jemison is powerless to deliver the bomb to the human alliance. While the rest of the ship's crew remains in cryosleep, a small landing craft, captained by female engineer named Stena, is sent to Earth to fabricate a part needed to repair the Mae Jemison's engines. The craft is intercepted by the Cho-ta’an ship and shot down. It crash lands in a snowy, mountainous region and the crew is beset by a band of people wearing primitive clothing and wielding weapons made from iron and wood.
Stena's crew barely escape, and their landing craft is torn apart. The newcomers finds themselves embroiled in the local politics, and soon join a group of locals fleeing the tyrannical rule of a king named Harald Finehair. The group settles in a desolate, treeless island they call Iceland.
Under constant threat from the power-hungry Finehair and in hiding from the Cho-ta'an who are scouring Earth in search of them, the crew works with the other settlers to eke out an existence in this harsh new land. But Stena is not content merely to survive. Knowing that humanity's future depends on repairing the Mae Jemison, she determines to complete their mission.
Thus begins a decades-long effort to build a craft capable of returning to the Mae Jemison—a ship that will come to be known as the Iron Dragon.
Book One: Dream of the Iron Dragon
Stena and her crew crash land in Norway, flee to Iceland and form a new settlement. Stena hatches her plan to build a craft capable of returning to space. Will her dream be the nascent settlement's salvation—or its doom?
Book Two: Dawn of the Iron Dragon
We rejoin the settlers several years into the Iron Dragon project. The difficulty of their task is impossible to overstate: the crew must essentially turn a small Viking settlement into a modern, industrialized city, with the ability to manufacture hundreds of precisely engineered parts to exacting standards. They will need to mine vast quantities of coal, iron, aluminum, copper, and other minerals; build immense facilities; and refine nearly a million gallons of rocket fuel. And they will need to do this while avoiding the attention of the Cho-ta’an and fending off the attacks of Harald Finehair and other Viking jarls.
Even in a large, industrialized country, building a spaceship is no mean feat – and in one of the most desolate, backward countries in Dark Age Europe, it is almost certainly impossible. The only advantages Stena has are the technological know-how of her crewmates, their isolated location, and the indomitable spirit of the Norsemen.
Book Three: Voyage of the Iron Dragon
After nearly forty years of gradual progress marked by several near-devastating failures, Stena’s small army of Norsemen has finally built the infrastructure needed to build the components of the spaceship, and have educated hundreds of the settlers in mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc. to operate the machinery. They’ve designed the ship and as long as they can keep resources flowing and stave off any interference, it seems that they will be successful in their goal of building a spaceship capable of reaching the Mae Jemison.
But with the rapid change in Viking society come new challenges, and Stena now must deal with rebellious factions within the settlement as well as threats from foreign raiders, Cho-ta'an agents and the powers of Europe—who have become very interested in the new technology that has been appearing on the continent lately. It will take all of Stena's political acumen and willpower to balance all these threats and get the Iron Dragon launched.
The books will be released approximately one every six months, starting from the day the project is funded. So the release schedule is:
- Dream of the Iron Dragon + map: October 2017
- Dawn of the Iron Dragon + gazetteer: April 2018
- Voyage of the Iron Dragon: October 2018
I will do my best to get the rewards to you as quickly as possible. The thumb drives and letter openers will be sent out in October 2017. Physical books will go out approximately two weeks after the ebooks are sent. You will receive your books at least two weeks before they go on sale anywhere else.
Money raised through this Kickstarter will go toward research, editing, cover design, marketing and printing costs. Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
I've written fourteen novels and run six successful Kickstarters. All of my Kickstarters have delivered as promised.
This particular project is rather special to me, as it's an idea I've been bouncing around since even before I wrote my first novel, Mercury Falls, in 2009. I even did a whole bunch of research (on both Vikings and building spaceships) a few years ago, in preparation for writing this.
Several publishers have expressed interest in the idea, but they want me to write Iron Dragon as a single book, rather than a trilogy. Unfortunately, the idea is just too big to be contained in a single book. I mean, I could write a single, 900-page-book, but I'd have to take a year off from everything else to do it, and with the rate that traditional publishers work, you'd have to wait two or three years to read it. It makes a lot more sense to deliver it in three installments, over the course of a year and a half. You get the book faster and I get paid faster. It's like one of them win-win deals.
Aside from serious health issues or acts of God (meteor strike, Viking attack, etc.), I don't see any reason I won't be able to deliver as promised on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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