by Myke Cole
But there are monsters too, and judging by the reviews and interviews, these get much less attention. I see this as a good thing. I put a lot of work into my humans, and I’m happy they’re taking center stage. It’s their story after all.
But I put a lot of work into my monsters.
I mean a lot of work. In the SHADOW OPS universe, the powers that be believe the Great Reawakening is due to a thing they call “planar orbital theory.” The Home Plane (our world) and The Source (where magic comes from) orbit one another. Every millennia or so, they come close enough that magic bleeds through the barrier between the planes. A very limited number of people have Limbic systems that can channel it, and they come up Latent. Wackiness ensues and you get the story you’re reading in CONTROL POINT and FORTRESS FRONTIER. A Portamantic gate is necessary to move between planes.
But there is another theory circulating in military intelligence circles, that there are rare “thin spots” in the planar fabric that allow fauna to occasionally wander across. Those rare instances of Source fauna spotted in the Home Plane gave rise to every medieval bestiary ever written, not to mention the Lochness Monsters, Bigfoots and Chupacabras of the Cryptid world.
Is this theory correct? Let’s take a look at three beasties you meet in the first two books:
- A tall, black feathered bird who can emit sonic booms when alarmed.
- A hyena like creature that mimics human voices.
- A two headed, horned snake.
If those sound like a bittern, a leucrota and an amphisbaena, that’s not an accident. All the monsters you meet in the SHADOW OPS series are taken from primary source historical texts, from the goblins and giants to the Apache mountain gods. The three creatures listed here are all out of bestiaries by Pliny the Elder and Isadore of Seville. And if you track the temporal distance between their writings, you’ll find a rather interesting time gap. Ditto for the ancient Greek Physiologus, and the Vedas that tell us the earliest stories of the naga.
This is what I love most about the epigraph system I use at the top of each chapter in each book in the SHADOW OPS series, they give me a chance to show the reader a little of the huge amount of research I did to build the world of the story. Most writers are forced to hide all the great work they do for fear of expository diarrhea, but I was lucky enough to hit on a way around that. The fact that so many people have responded positively to the epigraphs makes me insanely happy.
So, is oribtal theory correct? Look at the sources and do the math. I did.
As a security contractor, government civilian and military officer, Myke Cole´s career has run the gamut from Counterterrorism to Cyber Warfare to Federal Law Enforcement. He´s done three tours in Iraq and was recalled to serve during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Myke´s debut novel Shadow Ops: Control Point released from ACE in January 2012, the first in a trilogy of military epic fantasy. A fast-paced, dynamic, fun read, it´s gotten great reviews and notices. The follow up Shadow Ops 2: Fortress Frontier released January 2013. He´s an accomplished D&D player who managed to wrangle some big fantasy authors into a recent game at a Con. Find Myke online as @MykeCole on Twitter, via Facebook or his website at www.mykecole.com.
We have the privilege of giving away a first edition mass market paperback copy of Myke’s latest novel, Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier. All you have to do is comment and tell us why you like military fantasy and what you’d like to see more of. We’ll pick a winner at Random and ACE will mail you the book. So, thanks for stopping by and be sure and check out Myke’s fine work! –Bryan