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Woodpoint, Northern Denion

A small lumber town on the northern edge of the Grandwood, Woodpoint is situated about a day’s ride from Galin’s hidden cabin.  It was a point of interest on Galin’s maps and he was sure to teach Patrin its location and brief history.

No information was irrelevant to Patrin, who would have thought nothing of learning about such an insignificant settlement.  This was in large part due to the setting and ambience that Galin fostered when in Patrin’s company.  Patrin enjoyed his tutelage and never questioned why he was being taught geography and history.

When Galin’s plans later manifest it becomes evident why he taught those particular skills to Patrin.  At sixteen years of age he is sent across the country to deliver special messages to Galin’s supporters and fellow conspirators.  Woodpoint is the first stop along that path.

Patrin of Orlon (maybe)

Galin and Garret speculate that Patrin is from the Orlon region, as the settlement of Orlon itself is too large for Baler to have sacked and kidnapped the then very young Patrin.  As Greater Thing than Thou opens, it becomes evident that the truth of Patrin’s origins lie some seventy years in the past.  He is an old man now, writing about events that took place decades ago.

Patrin’s narrative doesn’t give us any new insight into the human condition, or some grand scheme of life.  Neither he nor the people around him, or the situations that occur in his lifetime, reveal anything we do not already know.  Instead we are shown things we can readily identify with.  Patrin is relatable, he has been through the same things you have.

As the primary protagonist, Patrin delivers his story from the first person.  We see, hear, and experience everything from his worldview.  From the moment he is kidnapped by Baler’s men- because he has no earlier memory- and on through the years as he meets Galin … holds hands with Lena … fights side by side with Xadik … until all of them eventually leave him and at the end of his life he is left with one purpose, one last mission to fulfill.

The Patrin we see here has grown fearful, paranoid.  It may be that he had similar traits growing up in his hometown, perhaps he always this way.  But, I think the more likely scenario is that he developed his paranoia as a means of survival in the camp.  Baler’s men are the rough sort, conniving thieves and brutal bandits.  It would have been necessary, particularly in those early years, for him to develop a heightened sense of awareness.  It is a miracle of character that he came out of the camp so unlike them.  We generally adopt the mores and values of the people we run with, but not Patrin.  When next we find him at Galin’s secret cabin in the Grandwood, he is just an abused boy.  Fearful and paranoid, of course, but not cruel nor spiteful.

Patrin’s experience with Galin justifies the paranoia he developed in Baler’s camp.  It is his frequent lament that the world is out to get him, that there is no good in it.

At the beginning of their relationship Galin is his friend.  They drink tea in the evenings on the front porch of the cabin, listening to the forest sounds and watching the sun sink behind the tree branches.  Patrin also practices swordsmanship with Galin’s warden, a salt of the earth ex-military man named Garret.  If anyone is honest, it has to Garret … surely.

Galin’s plot matures, sending Patrin across the country and eventually to the seat of the kingdom itself- Whitefield.  The things he faced while in Galin’s care has hardened him emotionally.  He was treated cruelly in Baler’s camp, then came to freedom- if not paradise- at Galin’s cabin, and then it was taken away.  Where would that leave you?  It leaves Patrin jaded, and with an edge of bitterness.  What trust he had in Galin has been sapped.  He has become a pawn in the exiled prince’s plan to retake the throne.

Arriving at the palace’s west tower, Patrin is ready to complete his mission and break the yoke of loyalty that Galin has placed around his neck … but the task ahead will prove difficult, even for a cybernetically enhanced assassin.  In the closing paragraph Patrin is no better off then than when we found him.  Xadik presumed dead, and even his faithful steed, Patience, in peril.

As he considers his final words in the story of those early years, the old man Patrin, reflects on the meaning of home: “In my mind I always go back to that time after Emondford. Doing chores with Garret … his calm and steady presence … tea with Galin early in the morning on the front porch of the cabin.  Those few months, spent with them in simple innocence were the most precious to me.  Over the years, off and on, I’ve hidden myself from the world back here at Galin’s cabin, but I can never seem to recreate those feelings … that peace.”

Harmony Book 1: The Rhine

Thursday, December 27, 2018

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The Rhine

   Gerhard Shultz, the first elected governor of Mars, wants what’s best for his people …

   The colony depends on Earth businesses for goods, but Earth is run by an imperialistic United Nations whose regulations and sanctions are overbearing.

   Increasing tensions are only exacerbated by suspicious pirate attacks in the Belt. It is rumored the attacks are the work of the Free Mars Now grassroots movement or privateers paid by the Martian government in defiance of the UN. Recent victims of a pirate attack, Mat and his crew aboard the Sadie, discover evidence that could prove the rumors true.

   With the UN squeezing the colony for every dime they can get, and Shultz looking to better the Martian situation, there are deals to be made. No one knows that better than Apex Mining’s CEO, Alexandria Reinhardt, whose Board of Directors has ordered her to sell their ore to the Martians despite a UN embargo. Her plans are more ambitious than simply ignoring government decrees, though.

   Will the Free Mars Now movement find a way to release the colony from their 100-year lease to Earth? Can Shultz find a way to work with Earth companies without angering their government? Does Mat possess enough evidence to prove Mars’ disloyalty? And … in the past what happens when you push a distant colony too far?

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All Things Ruin

   In the wake of his failed attempt to kill King Halin, Patrin is ordered north to seek the help of an ally, but the increasingly paranoid and distraught young man wants nothing to do with his former savior, the exiled Prince Galin …

   Suffering from damaged tech, disillusionment and despondency, Patrin and Xadik head west toward Lordingport, where there’s a promise of medicine and new orders from Galin. From Lordingport, they begin a two-and-a-half month journey to Valenkept, traveling through the factionalized collections of warlords and city-states that make up the Boarsland. During their journey, they face constant threats, brutal fights, unforgiving elements and murderous cultists.

   Pushing through the many physical, tech and moral struggles that arise along the way, Patrin grows increasingly paranoid, questioning whether Galin truly cares for him or whether he’s just a tool that the exiled prince is using to retake the throne. At the same time, Xadik’s outlook grows ever more bleak, as he comes to believe that everything eventually falls to ruin.

   Will Patrin and Xadik make it to Valenkept and convince King Arbren to back their new assassination plot? Will they make it home? Is there such a place as home?

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Greater Things than Thou

   An orphan is told he is meant for greater things …

   Gray eyes are the mark of those with the Gift: an inherent ability to
connect with otherworldly technology. In a dangerous world filled with
thieves and bloodshed, the Gift can change your entire life.

   Patrin is one such gifted person, and he knows it’s the only reason he’s
alive. As a teenager, rescued from bloodthirsty bandits, Patrin gives his
loyalty to Galin, a deposed Crown Prince, promising to help him seize

   As Galin teaches him about technology, history, and the shifting
moralities of man, Patrin must choose where fate will take him. Galin
intends for him to assassinate the current king, but Patrin does not
know if he can carry out the bloody task.

   With the help of new friends and the beautiful Lady Lena, Patrin will
have to decide between helping one of the few people who have ever
valued him, or forging his own way in a dark and treacherous world.

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