CURSED BY PROPHECY. CORRUPTED BY POWER.
When Eridani's parents are murdered and their kingdom is seized by a traitorous duke, she plans to run. After she suffers yet another unendurable loss, the lure of revenge pulls her back.
Eridani's brilliance as a strategist offers her a path to vengeance and the throne, but success may mean becoming everything she hates. To survive, she must sway religious zealots, outwit ambitious politicians, and confront bloodthirsty warlords, all with few allies and fewer resources. Yet the most menacing obstacle she must overcome is the prophecy uttered by a powerful sorceress:
Everyone you know and trust will come to betray you.
Eridani's Crown is a 98,000-word standalone epic fantasy novel I like to describe as "the character arc of Breaking Bad meets the atmosphere of Game of Thrones," and which some of the early readers have called "a Greek tragedy masquerading as grimdark fantasy."
This book has plenty of elements that will appeal to fans of traditional epic fantasy. On the supercontinent called the Heart there's swordplay and prophecy, legacy of conquerors past and cults worshiping the forgotten gods. There's an ancient creature its keepers mistakenly think is a dragon, a portal that dispenses dangerous gifts from other dimensions, and a sword forged from the iron alchemists extracted from the blood of a warlord's slain enemies.
But those of you who have read my work know that I haven't met a trope I didn't enjoy subverting, and that this novel will be anything but a cookie-cutter fantasy populated by stock D&D characters. Eridani's Crown features a full-on Cold War fought via economics, politics, and misinformation rather than spears and arrows -- something not typically seen in medieval fantasy. Among its cast of characters is a retired general turned pacifist who convinces kings and emperors not to go to war against one another. There's a storyteller who paints her tales in puffs of multi-colored steam. There's a healer that buys and sells illnesses as if they were precious stones... And plenty more I can't tell you about, because spoilers.
Underneath all the cool fantasy stuff this book is about power, the choices and moral sacrifices people are willing to make in order to wield it, and how we as a society tend to eventually put despots like Alexander, Peter, Napoleon, or Genghis Khan onto pedestals. We assign them monikers like Alexander the Great or Peter the Great, even though any modicum of greatness they might possess was achieved by sacrificing countless lives.
This book was born of trying to figure out what makes someone like Alexander of Macedonia wake up one morning and decide to conquer the world.
And, of course, despots always have an excuse:
"As long as there are innumerable kings and princelings, all seeking glory and coveting the lands of their neighbors, wars will be endless."
-Eridani the Fierce
Samples, and praise for Eridani's Crown
Download and read an unedited copy of one of my favorite chapters. This is an early chapter, so it's mostly spoiler-free. Mostly. (Note: The text has been laid out by me. The actual book will be laid out by a pro and therefore will look a lot nicer.)
Read "Forty-Seven Dictums of Warfare" at Daily Science Fiction. This was published as a standalone short story and is expanded within the novel. Spoilers for Teo, a minor but relevant character, as well as some other minor spoilers.
Here's what some of my favorite writers who read the book had to say:
With a world as intricate as the titular magical artifact and a cast of characters as morally complex as figures from real history, Eridani’s Crown is a nuanced examination of the drive to acquire power and its distorting influence on our ideals. This epic fantasy will have you turning the pages deep into the night and move you in the manner only the grandest of tragedies can.
— Ken Liu, Hugo Award-winning author of THE GRACE OF KINGS
A gripping tale of empire and conquest and the crumbling of good intentions in the pursuit of power. Shvartsman takes all your expectations and turns them on their head.
— David Walton, Campbell Award-winning author of THREE LAWS LETHAL
About the author
I've been writing fiction since 2010 and have had over 120 original short stories published in places like Analog, Nature, Strange Horizons, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Fireside, Galaxy's Edge, and many other anthologies, magazines, and podcasts. My stories won the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award and were finalists twice for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction. You can see my complete bibliography here. I have two short story collections and a novella published, but Eridani's Crown will be my first novel!
I have also translated a number of stories from Russian. These translations have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Apex, Samovar, Amazing Stories, and elsewhere.
I've edited over a dozen anthologies, most of them published via my own press, UFO Publishing, but also by Baen Books, Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick, and Deoorc Enterprises. I'm also currently the editor and publisher of Future Science Fiction Digest, a pro zine with a strong focus on stories coming from outside of the anglosphere.
Publishing a book right can be an expensive proposition. This is my first, novel, a book I spent 3+ years writing, and I definitely want to do it right. That means hiring professionals to handle every aspect of the project.
The gorgeous cover is by Tomasz Maronski, who has illustrated covers for any number of great writers, from Robert Silverberg to Brandon Sanderson. The audio book will be narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark, who has over fifteen years of acting experience in TV, film, and radio. Copy editing, graphics design, interior layout, and all other aspects of production will be handled by equally-experienced industry veterans.
$5,000 will cover most, but not all, of the initial costs. Raising more funds may allow for an offset print run, interior illustration, and other additional goodies that will result in a better book for everyone.
This campaign is to fund the production of the ebook, trade paperback, hardcover, and audio book versions of Eridani's Crown. As such, most of the rewards will feature a combination of these items. However, I also have plenty of other books that I've edited or wrote that are in the mix.
All of the following books are available as rewards and as add-ons and I can try and make substitutions if you want a certain reward tier but already have one of the books that it comes with.
* You can add the audio book to any reward tier for $20
* You can add any of the following books to any reward tier for $10 each.
Other items included with each physically-mailed reward of SIGNED books will include bookmarks and postcards and a special collectible pin depicting the titular crown cast on nickel!
All orders of 2+ books will also include the Future SF-branded string bag:
Thank you very much in advance for any help you're able to provide, be it a pledge to this campaign or sharing it on social media. I can't wait to share Eridani's story!
Risks and challenges
I have been producing anthologies and collections for eight years now, and have a consistent record of delivering high-quality books and fulfilling Kickstarter reward obligations by or before stated deadlines. While there are always risks, I will work very hard to exceed expectations.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)