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The Darbas series

I often thought of the views from Shining Rock Wilderness when imagining the highlands of Gwynyr. (Janet Edens photo)

I wrote my first novel, the sci-fi/fantasy hybrid The Key To Darbas, in 2003. It made it to the brink of mainstream publication in 2005 before the editor who recommended it was laid off in a purge and the publishing house shuffled off to bankruptcy.

It was a terrible experience (the publishing efforts, not the writing), and it wasn’t until I left my newspaper career in 2008 that I found the distance to look at the manuscript again. I saw things I liked and plenty I wanted to rip out by the roots. Which I did.

The result is two shorter novels, beginning with The Madness, which introduces The Darbas Series through the intertwined stories of Rialta, (the brilliant but conflicted Lady of Gwynyr), Pete Tuckard (Darbas’ ambassador to the Gheraldic Court), General Barney Alt (the iconoclastic Gheraldic commander of a Clydish Regiment) and long-suffering Sergeant John Tera (an enlisted psychic suspended between two routinely incompatible worlds).

In the second novel, Sioboeth, Rialta and Alt’s unlikely uprising faces annihilation on the battlefield and betrayal in its most heartbreaking guises as the conflicts set in motion in The Madness find resolution. Future novels in the series, should the original pieces be published successfully, will complete the arc of Rialta’s life, connecting past to future on an enigmatic planet.

For several months in 2009 I ran an experiment in developing a community-based approach to the licensing of copyright and offered an earlier version of the novel for free as an e-book and PDF download. As of the fall of 2010 I’ve shut down that experiment and begun pitching The Madness to traditional agents and publishers.

Anyone wishing to read The Madness or Sioboeth should email me at dan@danconover.com.

In the summer of 2010 I also began writing a stand-alone prequel to The Madness and Sioboeth under the working title Chene. In late August a computer crash and a corrupted hard drive cost me three months of work. Chene is currently on hiatus while I devote my attention to finding an agent.

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