Radko’s War

            Owens looked up from the sand table – displaying the Vimy Ridge again, green circles flashing over the railgun and missile batteries.

            “Weapon stations reporting green, Commander.  Blowing mag clamps in three… two… one…,” a soft thunk echoed through the ship, and a small green icon appeared hovering over the holographic ship.  “Mag clamps disengaged – we’re free-floating, sir.”

            “Pilot, get us away from the station!”

“Heading, sir?”

“Just get us to as safe a distance as we can manage without engaging the reactor,” he said.  “Cortez, report.”

            “We’re… There’s… no one else.”

            “What?”

            “There’s nothing but static, Commander.  I’m not… I’m not even getting distress beacons.”

            Distress beacons were automatically triggered as soon as lifeboats were launched from any vessel.  Their absence meant that either nothing was wrong, or no one had survived long enough to launch a boat.

 

“Radko’s War” tells the story of  a devastating invasion by an alien armada of unknown origin, cutting a bloody swath through human-controlled space.  The story unfolds through the dual perspectives of Lieutenant Commander Finn Radko and the crew of the HMCS Vimy Ridge, the lone ship to survive the initial attack, and Sergeant Freyja Sigurdsson and her small garrison on the mining outpost of Von Daniken’s Landing, who find themselves facing a siege by the alien ground forces.

Commander Finn Radko and the crew of the HMCS Vimy Ridge, lone survivors of the greatest massacre in human history, begin a perilous journey through the mysterious attacking armada in the desperate hope of preventing another catastrophe.

Undermanned and unprepared for battle, Sergeant Freyja Sigurdsson and her garrison scramble to man their defenses as the unthinkable unfolds: an invasion. Marching through the blowing snow, an alien horde; their identity unknown, their capabilities devastating.

As the galaxy burns, Radko and Sigurdsson face the destruction of all they know and love, and must pull together a coalition of unlikely allies with the fate of humanity resting on their shoulders.

One ship against an armada.  Thirty soldiers against an army.

The future of the human race hangs in the balance.

The trade paperback version (available here and here) clocks in at 284 pages and began as a four-page outline in 2003.  It was a story idea I kept coming back to, revising it, adding to it, making notes about changes, and when I finally decided to enter my first NaNoWriMo competition in 2013, Radko’s War was the story I decided to tell.  I came out a winner that year in more way than one — not only was I certified winner of NaNo, but I had also completed the first draft of a novel.  I spent the next three years rewriting and editing and now, finally, it’s exactly where I wanted it to be.

On the science fiction spectrum, Radko’s War is military scifi, closer in spirit to Battlestar Galactica than to a fantasy scifi like Star Wars.  As military scifi, it does contain a fair amount of violence and death, and as such I’m not sure I would recommend it to anyone under the age of sixteen.  Of course, you’re free to make your own judgement on that.

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