What comes after…what…in the Prides of Sol series?
Book 1. Children of Danu
Book 2. The Grim War
Book 3. Prides of Sol
Book 4. Scimitar, Retribution
Book 5. Scimitar, Evolution
Book 6. Redeemer of Worlds
At the middle of the story arc for the entire series, getting to the end seemed an improbable goal. The first three original books were somewhat like bursts of detail in short and widely separated timelines. The fourth book created an encapsulated thread that ran through the previous three. It took me to a point where I had to consider style and format for future works.
I like writing character-driven stories. In the original Nepenthean Solution, Baylor stole the story away from Weber. I didn’t plan it that way, it just came about. Solar Archangel gave a lot of characters equal play, but a new one seemed to capture my interest, leading to her lead role in Prides of Sol. She died there and that was the end of that…until….
Children of Danu became a single point of view, single plot-thread experiment that was hard to write, but in the end, defined the story arc for the series. That brought me to uncharted territory. Where to go next and how to get there. All my older characters were paired off except for Weber and Wozniak. I was thinking of jumping directly to the Oo’ahan response to Human/Vithra success in the Milky Way. But that plan skipped over a wealth of story line, namely that same success and whodunnit. I thought it best to go back to the previous format of compressed sub-stories (books) that highlight detailed struggles. Instead of jumping forward twenty-five years, it made more sense to portray what happens on Earth after Irwin and Adela reached Danu.
In Prides of Sol, light-cruiser skipper Jennifer Giles became a character of interest (at least to me). Originally in Prides of Sol, this enigmatic persona was hardly developed at all. In the later version, along with the fine-tuning necessary to mesh Prides of Sol to Children of Danu, I added an entire chapter to give Giles a history and a likely destiny, along with a handle like Adela’s “Witch.”
The plan then was to take this flawed, quirky persona who is holding her life together by a thread and tell her story. It begins in the immediate aftermath of the conflict at Apogee Station. This story takes place several years before the Danua become involved in the conflict, when Earth is standing relatively alone. Scimitar: Retribution, now book 4 of the Prides of Sol series.
At least one reader mentioned being lost and distracted by the opening in Children of Danu. Like: Where the heck am I and what happened to the universe I knew in the first three stories? To help a tiny bit without giving it all away, Solar Archangel drops hints near the end, and Prides of Sol develops those hints a little bit more, even to naming the construct that lives in the sea on Danu in the final pages. If I’ve done this well enough, folks might say when opening Children of Danu, “All right, about time we get to this!” instead of “Where the heck am I?”
That was the goal anyway. It works better with Children of Danu as book 1 instead of book 4. To add further confusion (and hopefully dispel it here), A Nepenthean Solution and The Flight of the Solar Archangel were enhanced and combined into a single work called The Grim War, that now being book 2.
As the Scimitar story was too big to fit in one volume, it became two. Retribution and Evolution. At the end? Jennifer Giles: What are you? What does she become? Redeemer of Worlds charts the course to the end of that question and to the end of the series. It’s hard to write an ending to anything, but this conclusion felt immensely satisfying to me.