Everything Begins to Fray
Shortly after her abilities were revealed to two worlds in 1919, Lady Emily began making public appeals to save the children of the savages. She believed it was the British Empire’s duty to send troops to rescue those genetically-enhanced innocents, so that they could be spared lives of slavery and given the chance to become contributing members of civilized society –– just like her.
Twenty-five years later, civilization appears to have done exactly as Emily wanted… but her view of civilization has changed, and her methods of calling for change have become far less benign. Despite Sir Julian Byng’s best efforts, the policy that integrated Champions into British and American society was imperfect, and after the revelations of Quinn’s camp in 1943, the Lady who demanded the assistance of the British Empire appears to seek its destruction.
Such can be the way of history: the best intentions can give birth to the bloodiest wars.
Like Emily herself, I didn’t foresee events turning out this way. Back in 2008, while I was drafting her appeal in The Frontier, I imagined that once the Newfoundland Regiment figured out the Martians, the future of two worlds would be full of adventure led by gallant, genetically-enhanced heroes. I guess I was partly right. But one of the joys of writing books like these is that when you follow your characters honestly, you’ll often realize your plans were naive, and that their story lies on a different path.
I didn’t count on Emily’s change of heart –– honestly, she let me down as much as she failed everyone else. Fortunately, the dawn of 1944 sees many good people standing against her madness, but it is a battle that will have immense costs… all starting with Fray.
Launching on Sunday, January 1, 2017, this novella is admittedly arriving late. We’d planned to release the 1944 season in 2016, but a variety of circumstances led us to alter the schedule. Fortunately, the delay allowed for the addition of one new story to this year’s lineup, so instead of five novellas we’ll have six: Fray, Innocents, Vows, Bedlam, Torngat, and Epitaph.
As a little penance for our tardiness, we’ve decided the first installment is on us: Fray will be available for free in the ebook format, just like The Count, Sins of Mars, and Twenty-One Days In May. I should also mention that, though Alex is on the cover, Elspeth Cornish and Nancy Wake lead this story –– along with Brian Horrocks, and the ever-welcome HMCS Sackville (who celebrates the 75th anniversary of her commissioning into the Royal Canadian Navy today!) and her crew.
It’s high time that these fine characters got a story of their own… I just wish it could be a pleasanter one.
The battle against Emily, her followers, and her entire view of civilization truly begins now.
Welcome to 1944, as everything begins to fray…