Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Gates of Hell

It's August.  Between summer vacations and diversions...and working on finishing Crimson Worlds VI for its September release...I haven't been posting much here.  I thought I'd start giving some sneak peak at things I'm working on.  That will include some non-Crimson Worlds stuff, but for today I thought I'd post a little glimpse at something coming out late in September.

When I released Tombstone I said it was the first of a conceived trilogy of novellas, each providing backstory on a major CW character.  Bitter Glory was the second, released last month.  I want to thank all of you for the strong sales and great reviews (so far).  Bitter Glory takes a look at Augustus Garret in the years before Marines.

The third prequel is called The Gates of Hell, and it follows General Holm as he fights one of the toughest battles of his career.  I'm targeting a late September release, but for now, here's a preview (it's small...I may post a little more in a few weeks):


The Gates of Hell

Excerpt from the memoirs of General Elias Holm, Commandant, Alliance Marine Corps:
Persis.  It was…it still is…a major Caliphate sector capital.  The system is also a choke point, with half a dozen warp gates leading to almost everywhere worthwhile in Caliphate space.  It was a massively valuable piece of real estate, crucial to the Caliphate, which is why we were there.  The Second Frontier War had been raging for more than a decade.  Dozens of worlds lay in ruins, the battlefields where the Superpowers fought their never-ending struggle.  The scale of operations, like the colonial holdings of the Powers, had grown enormously in the years since the previous war, and ten years of all-out effort had all the combatants on the brink of economic collapse.  The fleets were worn down, new construction unable to keep pace with battle losses.  The ground forces had savaged each other in a hundred battles, and the few surviving veterans had been pushed to the breaking point.  Something had to give…the war had degenerated into a stalemate, and the invasion of Persis was designed to break it.
The operation was General Worthington’s brainchild.  It was an audacious undertaking, by far the most ambitious planetary assault ever attempted up to that time.  But no one had ever called “Viper” Worthington timid.  His perfectly planned and executed lightning strikes had brought the Alliance back from the brink of defeat early in the war.  At Persis, he would launch the most daring assault of his career, and it would win the war for the Alliance.  That victory would not be without cost…in blood, of course…but also in disillusionment and despair.
As a Marine you plan for anything…anything but being abandoned by your own government, left to die at the hands of your enemy, written off as the price of an advantageous peace.  The fight on Persis was brutal, hard on everyone who served there.  But it became a nightmare for the Marines of the 3rd Battalion…the men and women it was my privilege to lead during those fateful days.
Marines stare into the gates of hell every day…it’s what we do.  But on Persis, we went through those gates…and we came out on the other side.  At least some of us did…