Archive | January, 2017

New Paperbacks!

24 Jan


We Lead, Semper Fi, The Outcast and To The Shores are now available for purchase in paperback form.

We Lead –

Semper Fi –

The Outcast –

To The Shores –

Review:The Fall of the Roman Empire

24 Jan

-Michael Grant

This is a book that everyone should read.

The Fall of the Roman Empire is not a narrative history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire (unlike Goldsworthy’s How Rome Fell (aka The Fall of the West). Instead, it is a look at the stresses and strains on the Roman Empire as it grew older and an analysis of the factors that eventually weakened it to the point it collapsed. And, rereading the book, it is striking just how many of the factors that eventually destroyed Rome are present in modern-day society. Indeed, while our advanced technology is a blessing, it also makes some of the factors worse.

The core problem facing the Roman Empire might be termed the drain on every last sector of society (and the consequent lack of willingness to fight to save the empire.) The rich (and successful) were punished for their success by increased taxes and obligations, while the poor were increasingly forced into effective serfdom (or banditry) as the only way to keep themselves alive. In the meantime, the middle classes – such as they were in the Roman Empire – were squeezed by both sides. All three classes had good reasons to feel that they were being victimised.

This had all sorts of effects that weakened the empire. Powerful landowners became effective aristocratic lords in their own territories, kicking out the bureaucrats, army recruiting officers, etc. Indeed, they had no choice. But it also led to the rise of banditry and social drop-outs, people who chose to abandon society completely. This may well have led to declining birth-rates.

Worse, perhaps, the army was both victimiser and victimised. On one hand, the vast growth in military power proved a constant temptation to officers to make themselves emperors. The army’s demands grew beyond reason, draining more and more money from the state (and its taxpayers). And yet, on the other hand, the ordinary soldiers were starved of money (stolen by corrupt officers) and supplies, something that invariably turned them into legalised bandits. Military service was no longer seen as a badge of honour in Rome, but something to be avoided at all costs.

And yet the army was necessary, because the Roman Empire had failed to solve its race problem. German immigration posed a serious threat to the empire, all the more so because Rome needed the immigrants even as it despised them. German manpower could and did fill the legions, but this wasn’t matched by legal rights. Rome had once been good at absorbing immigrants, when slaves would often work their way out of slavery and become citizens; now, Germans could never escape the taint of being German. The Romans could neither expel them from the Roman Empire nor assimilate them. What makes this particularly tragic was that many of the Germans probably would have happily joined Rome, if they’d been given the chance.

Worst of all was the rise in bureaucracy and government. The Roman Empire had once been a place where a man could rise high, but no more. Now, each citizen was expected to know his place and stick to it. An immense bureaucracy grew up, both draining the empire’s resources and isolating the Emperor from the common people. Corruption spread rapidly, to the point that honest civil servants were regarded as heroes. The bureaucracy was so vast, indeed, that the attempts made by a handful of emperors to weed out corruption were utterly futile. And yet – again – the average bureaucrats were paid so poorly that they had reason to grab what they could.

It was not one of these factors that brought the Roman Empire down, but their effect in combination. The empire was trapped in a whirlpool leading to inevitable destruction. Individual freedom was practically stamped out, ensuring that there would be no attempt to rejuvenate the empire. Loyalty to the emperors declined to nothing, both because the emperors were frequently overthrown and because the emperors were seen as causing the problems. (By this point, that wasn’t necessarily true.) Racial tensions weakened the army, to the point where entire units either went over to the enemy or were accused of doing so. And all the emperors could do was watch, helplessly, as their relative power declined to nothingness.

The early Romans – even after Augustus became the first true Emperor – believed they had a stake in their society. The aristocracy was expected to serve as well as rule. The legions were composed of small landholders, men who fought for the land and city. There were opportunities for advancement for all, even new immigrants (Marius and Cicero were ‘new men’) and the descendents of slaves. Indeed, one’s father or grandfather being a slave wasn’t something bad. There were grounds to admire a man who climbed out of slavery. (And it also served as an escape value for slaves who might prove dangerous, like Spartacus.)

But this started to decline even before Caesar and Pompey. The stubborn city fathers – including Cato – refused to admit that something would have to change. They created a situation where losing meant certain death, causing the civil war. These problems only got worse as the Republic became the Empire and advancement was sharply curtailed. As Rome reached the limits of expansion, the escape value was closed and Rome started to die.

The barbarians might have stormed Rome, but it was the Romans themselves who committed suicide.

These problems are reflected, in many ways, in our own society. On one hand, the rich are getting richer and more powerful; on the other, the middle classes are being squeezed and the poor are being supported by government hand-outs. There is no shortage of bitter irony here – the middle classes believe, rightly, that they are being bled, but at the same time much of the money is being wasted rather than spent to help the poor. The poor can also claim that they’re on the edge – and they’re right too.

In the meantime, the bureaucracy is out of control and the government has lost touch. In the case of the former, the bureaucrats have to justify their existence – somehow – while, in the case of the latter, the political elites have forgotten how to serve. (There is no way this could be said of Cato or Pompey – even Cicero served in the military during the Social War.) We have bred a social class – the political elites – that have no experience of the world outside politics. They have never run a business or served in the military. Is it such a surprise, therefore, that men like Tony Blair and Barrack Obama are so frequently outmatched by Putin? Or that politicians like John Edwards, Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel self-destruct so spectacularly? They do not have the social contact they need to understand the situation on the ground.

It is easy to condemn drop-outs from society, people who take drugs or spend all their time playing video games. And yet, what prospects do they have? It is harder, these days, to get a meaningful job, let alone one with any hope of advancement. A wife and family? Not a hope – these days, one can lose both in a moment. And purchasing a home may be completely out of the question for years, if ever. If it is harder to advance, people stop trying. Indeed, the recent upswing in male suicides may be linked to simple hopelessness. Why bother?

Like I said in The Living Will Envy The Dead, the more you ask your government to do for you … the less it can do for you.

The Fall of the Roman Empire is a shorter book than one might expect, but it is an easy – and understandable – read. I highly recommend it.

Rise and Fall of an Emperor

24 Jan

Just an idea that has been buzzing through my head. I might turn it into a series …

From: Encyclopaedia Imperial.

The oddest thing about the life of Maxim Thrace, founder of the Thrace Dynasty, is that very little is known of his family prior to his rise to power. The records have either been lost or deliberately destroyed during his reign. Trace himself claimed, at times, to be a farm boy, a local aristocrat or the descendent of a pre-space noble family. It goes without saying that none of these claims have ever been proven. What is known is that he was born on Taros, most likely to a freeholder family.

He signed up with the Imperial Marines at seventeen (he would claim, at times, to be fifteen when he took the oath) after an incident involving the son of a local nobleman. His own account of the incident insisted that he caught the nobleman trying to rape his cousin and beat him to within an inch of his life. Knowing that the nobility would not let his act go unpunished, he fled to the city and joined the Imperial Marines. The marines would protect him until he was shipped off-world to Boot Camp.

As it happened, Thrace never went to Boot Camp. (He remains one of the very few people to be listed in records as a marine, even though he never underwent the training.) He was still waiting for his ship – and training with the marines stationed on Taros – when civil war broke out. Even an untrained warm body had to be pressed into service and Thrace had a number of adventures – including being captured by the nobility – before the civil war finally came to an end. Thrace would probably have gone on to a successful career in the marines if he hadn’t made the mistake of punching an officer who arrived after the fighting ended. Instead, having earned some favour from the governor and his former superiors, Thrace was offered a midshipman’s post on HMS Jackson. Realising it was his only way to escape Taros, Thrace took the offer.

His term on Jackson was controversial. He learned fast and well, but rapidly found himself bored. Disciplinary records insist that Thrace was not one to suffer fools lightly. He was eventually sent on a mission to raid pirate ships and locate their bases, a mission which ended with the successful rescue of the Sector Governor’s daughter. This earned him promotion, but it also brought him into contact with Commander Edward Patterson … a man who would prove to be a friend as well as an enemy.

This did not become apparent at once, of course. Thrace went on to take command of HMS Ravage and patrol the neutral zone between the Imperial Empire and the Delphic Union (one of the few peer powers during that time.) Again, he had a series of adventures, ending in a raid across the neutral zone to prevent the Delphic Union from launching a sneak attack on the Empire. He also became friends with Prince Henry, the heir to the Imperial Throne.

Promoted – again – Thrace was sent to Earth. He rapidly found court life boring, a sentiment shared by Prince Henry. Wanting something more for himself, Prince Henry convinced his father to launch an invasion of the Agave, an invasion that would give him a chance to win military glory. Thrace went along as his ‘adviser’ – in reality, the person who would direct most of the space combat.

Unluckily for Prince Henry and Thrace, his father gave him a fleet consisting of old ships, crewed by the dregs of the service. (It isn’t clear if this was an attempt to force his son to learn the ropes the hard way or a deliberate attempt to get rid of a presumptuous heir.) The early stages of the invasion threatened to be disastrous. Thrace, however, devised tactics that would give the invaders an advantage, as well as beating the crews into shape. (Sometimes literally – one of the charges levelled against Thrace during his court martial stated that he had beaten his own crews.) The invasion was a success, giving the Prince lands and territory of his own. The fact that the invasion probably cost the empire more than it gained was tactfully left unmentioned.

In a show of thanks, Prince Henry arranged for Thrace to marry Lady Christina, one of the emperor’s many wards. It was not a match based on love, but they came to an understanding anyway – they had both been shunned by the court, although for different reasons. (Christina’s family had been implicated in an attempt to unseat the emperor – while she’d been a child at the time, no one dared to show her favour.) Their child was born nine months later.

Marital bliss didn’t last, however. Thrace was sent back to the border, where incidents with the Delphic Union were growing out of control. Expected to delay their offensive, Thrace successfully counterattacked and stalled their drive into the empire … despite facing newer and better enemy weapons. Unfortunately, it also sowed the seeds of later trouble – his decision to deny Edward Patterson a command of his own would come back to haunt him during the civil war.

Prince Henry returned to the front, just in time to take nominal control of the offensive into enemy space. (Thrace remained in actual command.) The offensive was successful, but Prince Henry was killed by enemy treachery. (It was often suggested, after the civil war, that Edward Patterson deliberately arranged for the prince’s death, but this has never been proved.) Organising the remains of the Delphic Union, Thrace was horrified to hear that he had been blamed for the prince’s death and recalled to Earth. His wife sent him a message warning that he had been tried and sentenced to death.

It isn’t clear why the Emperor signed the death warrant. On one hand, it is possible he grieved for his son. Prince Henry had been demanding more and more power for himself, but there is no suggestion he ever seriously intended to overthrow his father. But on the other hand, he may well have seen the empire’s most successful military leader (and one who had married into the aristocracy) as a potential threat. The conquest of the Delphic Union had turned Thrace into a galactic hero. The sheer unpopularity of the empire might have prompted someone to try to put Thrace on the throne. (And, in hindsight, it is clear that some of the reports from the front had been deliberately slanted.)

Not the sort of person to put up with this – and believing himself to be the victim of court politics – Thrace instead took his entire fleet back to Earth. A series of running battles followed as the emperor tried desperately to slow his advance, only to watch helplessly as world after world fell to the rogue general. As Thrace seemed unstoppable, hundreds of aristocrats and politicians started to switch sides. Even the discovery of treachery – Edward Patterson had intended to start a full-blown civil war – didn’t stop the offensive. The emperor took poison – Princess Sofia took much of the fleet (and her youngest sister, Princess Tamara) and retreated into the hinterlands – as Earth itself fell to Thrace.

The Imperial Senate declared Thrace the new Emperor and formally condemned Princess (now Empress) Sofia. It was a move they would come to regret. Thrace had a long list of politicians (and uniformed politicians) he wanted to remove. They were purged rapidly, followed by the institution of a whole series of reforms. Thrace had never forgotten how the worlds along the Rim had been exploited, nor how so many of them had eagerly supported the enemy during the war. While the court had planned to load punishments on the colonials, Thrace had other ideas. Any hope of making peace with the court was rapidly lost.

He was not – and never would be – someone at ease with political wheeling and dealing in the Imperial Parliament. It didn’t help that he knew Princess Sofia was gathering her strength to continue the civil war. A succession of Prime Ministers followed, while Thrace tried to prevent the civil war from growing worse. And yet, everything he did only made him more enemies. It was almost a relief when Princess Sofia launched her offensive, allowing Thrace the chance to take command of the fleet and head out to do battle. Unknown to him, the politicians had planned a coup – and, also unknown to him, the colonials intended to head it off at the pass. Earth turned into a war zone as various forces fought it out for supremacy.

Thrace defeated Princess Sofia in a major battle and drove her forces back, capturing her sister. He returned to discover the situation on Earth had turned into a nightmare. Luckily, he was able to use it as an excuse to completely reshape the Imperial Parliament and hammer out a peace and gunpoint. His son would be married to Princess Tamara and inherit the crown, serving as the basis for a constitutional monarchy.

It was just in time. The civil war had grown worse. Sofia, unfazed by her defeat, tried again – this time, launching a fleet directly at Earth. Thrace took command of the defence while his loyal supporters took the empire itself, putting the reforms into place. Thrace met Sofia in battle, where they were both – seemingly – killed. His son became Emperor in his place …

… But did Thrace really die? No one knows for sure …

Updates …

23 Jan

Hi, everyone …

Well, here we are in KL – again. The jet lag was terrible this time, although I’m not really sure why. Maybe we shouldn’t have tried to sleep so much on the plane. And this afternoon the skies opened and rain came tumbling down …

Apart from that, I have finished the first draft of The Zero Blessing and done the edits. I’ve sent it off to the agent, partly to see what will happen. I do have a plan for two sequels – The Zero Curse and The Zero Equation – but writing them will depend on how things go (and sales, of course.)

Sales and reviews of The Sergeant’s Apprentice have been very good <grin>. You can also pre-order The School of Hard Knocks on audio now (due out 31/1/2016).

The next project is The Long Road Home, Book IV of A Learning Experience. I hope to start in February, after we get home.

The Long Road Home Large txt

On the downside, I’m still unsure about the plotline for Wolf’s Bane. I may need to rethink it several times … <sigh>


Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Harry Potter

22 Jan

I make no pretence that any of this is original. It grew out of a conversation I was having with a friend about authorial politics vs. the unavoidable implications of their settings.

One of the fundamental problems with any rational analysis of Harry Potter is that much of the series isn’t rational. Large parts of the Wizarding World don’t seem to make much sense, even when viewed as a quasi-medieval society rather than a variant on modern Britain. The simple fact that magic has remained a secret from the vast majority of Muggle society – even ‘now’ – implies that wizards are both extremely proactive in hiding themselves and extremely rare. These points are both supported by the books.

Let us consider, for a start, the problem of getting nations that have interests in common to cooperate. It isn’t easy, not in the real world. And yet we are told that wizards remain hidden on a global scale – and not just wizards, but dragons, goblins, giants, centaurs and many other outright non-human beings. This requires a degree of international (magical) cooperation that may be the greatest piece of fiction in the series! Indeed, while witches might have been hunted across Europe (with reason, in the series), other societies respected their magic-users and their wizards couldn’t be expected to abandon their traditions and go into hiding without some fairly strong incentive.

This leads to three separate possibilities:

First, there were no non-European wizards, save for the occasional muggleborn. European Wizards followed European Muggles as they swept the globe, setting up satellite communities near Muggle colonies. The handful of muggleborns they discovered were abducted and assimilated. Over the years, these cultures indulged in a little cultural appropriation to give themselves a separate character to their homelands.

Second, European Wizards made a major magical breakthrough (the wand?) that allowed them to invade non-European magical settlements and force them to go into hiding. Groups that agreed to surrender were offered a seat at the table, groups that insisted on fighting were brutally crushed. The British campaigns against the Thugs in India, for example, might have been targeted on rogue magic-users as well as barbaric … well, thugs. Over the years, the newcomers integrated with the original population, a process made easier by the Wizarding World’s general lack of racism (at least racism directed against human wizards.)

Third, there were non-European communities that accepted the European belief that wizards needed to go into hiding and worked to make it happen.

Call me a cynic, but I would bet on either one or two.

Now, coming to the issue of Wizarding Britain.

It is a terrible mistake to assume that the racial and ethnic characteristics of the general population are automatically mirrored in a smaller subset. The Amish, for example, are generally white; British Muslims are (roughly) seventy percent East Asian (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis). By this standard, the Wizarding World would count as a small – very small – subset of the population.

In Harry’s year in Gryffindor, there are ten pupils: five boys and five girls. Assuming this number is matched by the other three houses, there are forty pupils in Harry’s overall year and a total student population (40*7) of 280 at Hogwarts. If we therefore assume that wizards, on average, live around 100 years, we have a rough total of 4000 wizards in Wizarding Britain. The Wizarding World includes a number of others – homeschooled wizards, werewolves, squibs, etc – so we may as well assume that the total overall population is around 5000 in all.

On one hand, there was a major war going on when Harry was born and, proportionally, the losses inflicted on the magical population were probably quite high. But, on the other hand, it’s quite likely that the population of the Wizarding World remained fairly stable for centuries prior to the war. The combination of magical birth control and female emancipation probably played a major role in ensuring that the average birthrate was (barely) enough to keep the population from falling sharply.

Indeed, most of the pureblood families we see in the books have only one or two children (the Weasley family is perhaps the only major exception). Draco and James Potter, for example, were both only children, while Sirius Black had a single brother. I can’t recall any mention of a family larger than three children, save for the Weasleys.

This – and a few other factors – have interesting effects on the Wizarding World.

First, nearly every witch and wizard in Britain goes to Hogwarts. Wizarding Britain is thus more of a large town than a giant community. Everyone will speak the same language. The in-jokes will not change. Culture will be near-universal, with no room for smaller subgroups. There will be very few true strangers in Wizarding Britain. Even if you don’t know someone personally, you’ll know someone who knows them. Indeed, all the students at Hogwarts will probably know everyone in their age group and (probably) two or three years in each direction.

This may not be an advantage. People like Hermione – who has a remarkable talent for putting peoples noses out of joint – may find their reputation follows them after they graduate from school. Something like this may have bedevilled Professor Snape.

Second, most witches and wizards will probably marry other witches and wizards. Non-wizard marriage (i.e. to Muggles) is socially discouraged, even if it isn’t formally banned outright. (Even the Weasleys, the most tolerant pureblood wizards in canon, don’t marry outside the magical community.) Such marriages may not even last, once the secret is revealed. Indeed, the demand for secrecy may well ruin such matches before they can even begin.

What this means is that Wizarding Britain is a relatively small community with a relatively small influx of new blood.

We know from canon that Wizarding Britain is actually subdivided into purebloods, halfbloods and muggleborns. Purebloods must have four magical grandparents – ideally, they should also be able to claim a pure linage going back as far as possible. This actually provides a strong incentive to marry within the community, rather than embracing new (or non-magical) blood. Harry and Ginny’s children will count as purebloods, but Ron and Hermione’s children will not. (Note that Ron is the only known member of his family to marry a muggleborn.)

(The disadvantage of this, of course, is that inbreeding will become a serious problem sooner or later.)

Simple logic tells us, therefore, that there will be relatively little racial diversity amongst the older purebloods. There is no suggestion that the vast majority of purebloods, particularly those of older families, are anything other than white. Nor will there be much ethnic diversity, in the common sense. Everyone who enters Wizarding Britain will have gone through Hogwarts and picked up much of the local culture.

There’s an additional point here that may have shaped Wizarding Britain. Wizards have a huge superiority complex – and, for much of the last thousand years, they would have been right. I suspect that Wizarding Britain’s standard of living was vastly superior to Muggle Britain until comparatively recently. Muggleborns may have had no inclination to rock the boat because they had it much better, amongst the wizards, than they did at home.

How, then, to account for the known non-white characters?

It’s possible that the Indian twins and Cho Chang (the name isn’t actually Chinese) are the daughters of purebloods from India and China respectively. They would probably be counted as purebloods, even if their parents and grandparents weren’t native to Wizarding Britain – I would guess they’re actually second-generation immigrants, given that they don’t seem to be that culturally different to the rest of the students. Dean Thomas is a halfblood – presumably, his mother was black. Kingsley Shacklebolt is the only one who doesn’t seem to fit in – although, again, he may be the descendent of immigrants.

The people who accuse Rowling of portraying an all-white world, without much ethnic and racial diversity, are wrong. The (largely) white population and complete cultural hegemony of Wizarding Britain is an artefact of its social system.

Dealing With The Consequences of Your Own Stupidity II

21 Jan

Read the first version of this post – on BREXIT – here.

If you listen, you can hear the questions echoing around the echo-chambers of the left.

Why Trump?

Why President Donald Trump?

Why did Donald Trump win the election?

What were they thinking?

Over the last few months, I’ve tried to explain why I thought Donald Trump had an excellent chance of winning the election and, after the election, to try to explain why he won. In hindsight, I think that most of my answers were generally accurate. Trump was a fighter, which the Republican base loved; Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate, with so many problems that – in the end – it’s hard to say which one really brought her own. And now, with riots on the streets, I think the average American has good reason to be relieved that Clinton and her cronies lost. What would they have done if they’d won?

But I think there is a more fundamental reason why Clinton – and everything she represented – was rejected. And, in many ways, it’s deeply personal.

If you want to guarantee that I will not pay any attention to you, there are three easy ways to do it:

-Talk to me like I’m a child.

-Talk to me like I’m an idiot.

-Talk to me as though my opinions don’t matter.

The problem with the first two should be obvious. No one likes being treated as either a child or an idiot. This is all the more important when the person doing it doesn’t really understand what’s going on. If someone condemns me for putting my books on kindle, rather than waiting for an elusive shot with a big publisher, that’s a fairly clear sign that that person doesn’t know what they’re talking about. That doesn’t necessary mean they’re trying to deliberately mislead me, but it strongly suggests that their opinions are of limited value.

This problem did serious damage to Hillary’s campaign. If someone believes, genuinely believes, that Trump’s supporters are idiots (or racists, or sexists, or bigots, etc) it undermines their ability to understand how Trump’s supporters tick. Worse, it makes it hard to consider that they don’t consider themselves to be idiots (etc) and that they may have reason to support Trump. For example, if one has no qualifications and no prospect of getting them, they will not support immigration because these equally unqualified immigrants are the competition!

But this leads neatly to the third issue.

An individual Trump (or Hillary) voter is immaterial, in the grand scheme of things. One vote isn’t likely to make much of a difference. But a mass of voters spread across the states can and will make a difference. Hillary did not need to win the popular vote (whining to the contrary aside). She needed to take a majority of the states. In doing so, she had to pitch her appeal to as many states as possible and refrain from things guaranteed to upset fence-sitting voters.

In this sense, calling a vast number of Americans ‘deplorables’ was a colossal own goal.

On one hand, it convinced countless thousands of Americans that voting for Trump was a strike against a woman who had never made any secret of her disdain for the average American (and his intelligence). On the other hand, it called Hillary’s judgement into question. What sort of idiot insults hundreds of thousands of people who might – might – be turned away from Trump? Even a pretence at empathy (as Bill Clinton correctly noted) would have given Hillary a better shot at the White House.

If you are dependent on someone – and politicians are dependent on voters to elect them – it is sheer stupidity to alienate them. Or, for that matter, to convince them that your judgement is basically faulty. And that is exactly what Hillary did.

But the problem goes far beyond Hillary Clinton.

Over the last twenty years, the political elites have grown more and more detached from the populations they rule. And, as the distance between the people at the top and the people at ground zero has grown wider and wider, their decision-making has become increasingly poor, based more on untested theories and an idealistic view of the world rather than what is actually happening. The great unwashed – everyone else, in other words – has become more and more aware of the disparity between what we are told and what we see. For example:

Claim: Minimum wage laws are good for employees.

Observable Reality: Minimum wage laws destroy small businesses and cause unemployment.

Claim: Government regulations and bureaucracy are good.

Observable Reality: Government regulations and bureaucracy destroy small businesses and ruin lives.

Claim: Affirmative Action is good for society.

Observable Reality: Affirmative Action is bad for everyone, particularly the people it claims to help.

Claim: illegal immigration is really no different from legal immigration.

Observable Reality: illegal immigration is a crime that goes unpunished.

Claim: Identity politics are an important part of social justice and therefore good for society.

Observable Reality: Identity politics are tearing society apart.

Claim: If we don’t provoke our enemies, they won’t attack us. And when they do attack us, its somehow our fault.

Observable Reality: Weakness invites attack.

I could go on, but why bother? All that really matters – now – is that a growing number of people are no longer listening to the elites. Why should they?

Trump’s ‘surprising’ election is merely the latest stage of an ongoing rebellion against the political elites. And part of the reason this rebellion is underway is because the political elites have failed. They have lost their grip on events, to the point where they have become both self-interested and unable to even comprehend why others might disagree. Their mistakes – and their complete refusal to admit they were mistakes – led directly to the election of Donald Trump.

This is not the time to insist that Donald Trump is not a ‘legitimate’ president. Trump won by the rules. Nor is this the time to demand that the rules be changed to handicap any future challengers. This is the time for the elites to get out of their gated communities and get back in touch with the rest of the population …

… Or resign themselves to permanent irreverence as the world goes on.

OUT NOW– The Sergeant’s Apprentice (Schooled In Magic XI)

7 Jan

Sergeants Apprentice Cover

The Nameless World Goes to War!

The necromancers have finally resumed their assault on the Allied Lands, sending a mighty army across the Desert of Death and into the Kingdom of Tarsier. Countless farms, villages and towns have already been destroyed as the host makes its way northwards, striking deep into the kingdom’s most vulnerable lands. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, thousands more will be killed when they are sacrificed for power. If the necromancers win the coming battle, it may be the beginning of the end …

When Sergeant Miles invites her to join the coalition force, Emily reluctantly accepts. The necromancers have to be stopped, even if it means taking time off from school to serve as the sergeant’s apprentice. But with arguing aristocrats, reluctant soldiers, fearful civilians, shadows from her past, a dangerously-sane necromancer and treachery in the ranks, stopping the invasion may cost Emily her life …

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