Translation: "The cat's out of the bag."
Well, we tried to keep things under wraps as long as we could, but we've been outed by the sales department at Pocket Books. They recently posted the back cover copy for What Judgments Come, our next novel in the Star Trek: Vanguard series, to the book's page on the Simon and Schuster website:
Operation Vanguard has risked countless lives and sacrificed entire worlds to unlock the secrets of the Shedai, an extinct alien civilization whose technology can shape the future of the galaxy. Now, Starfleet's efforts have roused the vengeful Shedai from their aeons of slumber.
As the Taurus Reach erupts with violence, hundreds of light-years away, on "The Planet of Galactic Peace," Ambassador Jetanien and his counterparts from the Klingon and Romulan empires struggle to avert war by any means necessary. But Jetanien discovers their mission may have been designed to fail all along...
Meanwhile, living in exile on an Orion ship is the one man who can help Starfleet find an ancient weapon that can stop the Shedai: Vanguard's former commanding officer, Diego Reyes.
THE END OF THE EPIC SAGA BEGINS
Yep, you read that last part right: We've begun the process of bringing the Vanguard series to what we hope is a proper and epic conclusion. What Judgments Come, written by me and Kevin and coming in October, is the first of a 2-part conclusion to the series. It'll be followed next year with the seventh and final novel, Storming Heaven written by David Mack, who faces the monumental task of putting to bed the series he helped create.
However, you'll see when you read the title pages that the three of us are credited with the story for both books. We've been plotting this for going on two years now. The series had always been conceived with a beginning, middle, and end, going back to the original "bible" Dave wrote when he co-created the series with then-editor Marco Palmieri. Dave's bible originally included story ideas for six "core" books that would cover the main storyline from beginning to end, with the series concept itself allowing for additional stories if opportunity presented itself.
As the series got going at full steam, the desire to "fill time" with stories not focusing on the central premise never really took hold, aside from various subplots in the different books. Most of those ultimately served either to drive the core story or at least develop certain characters and their relationships. They also serviced the series' other goal of providing "context" to certain key events from the original Star Trek series, and showing how they affected events on a larger scale including things happening in the Taurus Reach, and vice versa. Even the approach laid out in the bible to accomplish these goals and drive the main storyline evolved, pretty much with every book as new ideas came about and in turn fostered even more brainstorming and collaborative evil between the three of us and Marco (and later Margaret Clark).
After Dave wrapped up Precipice, the fifth book in the series, we sat down to plot what would happen next, and the idea of bringing the "show" to a massive -- or as Stan Lee might say, "senses-shattering!" -- conclusion took hold and simply would not let go. I originally pitched the idea that Dave should be the one to write what was to be the sixth and final book, but as we started slinging ideas it became evident that there was more than enough for two books, and Dave insisted that Kevin and I get one more at bat before he capped the series.
(I've sung Dave's praises in this space before, and though he and Marco Palmieri are the principal Vanguard architects, they brought Kevin and me into the fray early enough that we feel a similar sense of paternal protectiveness about the series. Further, they encouraged and in fact demanded that we not simply stick to the series bible, but instead feel free to take things in whatever direction(s) we felt to be natural, exciting, and just plain fun. I'm rather proud that some of our early ideas helped to shape and even radically change the way the series unfolded, which already had a pretty damned awesome foundation even before we typed our first word. That continued as each book grew from collaborative brainstorming by all four of us.)
The idea of ending the series wasn't an easy sell. Both our editor (Margaret Clark at the time), and even the CBS Licensing office weren't on board with the notion at first. Vanguard, we were told, sold well, was popular, and was a favorite of certain folks in the licensing office. Still, they let us make our case: We wanted to end the series on a high note, rather than let it linger for too long. Further, we wanted to be the first to end one of the book series in definitive fashion. We wanted to be able to put the seven Vanguard books (actually eight, now, counting the just-released Declassified) on a shelf, point to them and say, "We did that," and then walk away, proud of our accomplishment. Both editor and licensor finally gave us their respective blessings, and we set to work figuring out how all of the plotlines and character arcs might be resolved.
(For those wondering...yes, we had already been planning this even as I outlined and wrote my Star Trek: Typhon Pact novel Paths of Disharmony, which was one of the driving reasons as to why I was careful not to give away too many Vanguard plot points in that book. Knowing we were going in this direction was actually rather helpful with that, in an odd way.)
So, there you have it. As the tag line says, "The End of the Epic Saga Begins" in October. It's been a hell of a ride these past several years, but we're not quite done yet. Things are about to get really, really crazy in the Taurus Reach.
Buckle up, yo.
- I'm at...:the Manor