Published: December 5th, 2016
First they flew their mysterious sky craft through the skies of Barit. Then they started attacking. Finally, they began to raid.
Garek's one year of duty as a guard walking the walls of Garamundo was extended to two when the sky raiders appeared. Two long years away from home and his lover, Taya. When he finally returns, the town is empty. While Garek was protecting Garamundo, the sky raiders were taking their victims from his hometown.
Taya can't bear looking into the night sky. All she can see is Barit, her home planet. Impossibly, the sky raiders have brought her and their other victims to Shadow, the planet that shadows her own, and looking up makes her aware of everything she's lost. Garek is out there somewhere. She knows he'll look, but he'll never find her.
She and the other captives have to find a way to escape. Without the food and clothes the sky raiders bring them from their raids on Barit, they'll starve on the almost barren wastes of Shadow. And when they've given the sky raiders enough of what they want, that's exactly what the sky raiders will leave them to do.
What Taya doesn't realize is she'll have some help with her plan. Because Garek isn't giving up on finding her. And he's even more resourceful than she could ever have imagined.
Nothing is going to keep him from Taya. Not even space itself.
My Roots Are Showing
My latest novel, SKY RAIDERS, the first book in a new space opera trilogy, is in many strange ways a return to my writing roots.
While I wrote fantasy and even time travel novels before I was published by Simon & Schuster in 2011, my first published books were all historical novels.
I've always been a voracious reader of historicals, fantasies and science fiction, and I've always felt that they sit together comfortably because they are all, to a greater or lesser degree, true escapism. I find it as challenging, technically, to write a historical scene as a science fiction scene, needing to draw on the world I'm working with and its rules to create something believable. In historicals, this means research and in science fiction or fantasy, this means the rules and backstory I have made up.
As I worked on the Sky Raiders series, with SKY RAIDERS the first novel, and it was only after a while that I realized I was writing a novel that easily mirrored the invasion of Kwa-Zulu Natal by the Victorian Empire that I'd written about in my historical novel DAUGHTER OF THE SKY, as it was about a planet, Barit, invaded by aliens who were far more technically advanced.
|"Antenna hilt" Hallstatt 'D' swords, from Hallstatt (Wikipedia)|
Another fun tradition I incorporated was the Viking Clap – although it isn't exactly the same in Sky Raiders, the inspiration definitely comes from this. (Those who want to see it in action, performed by 100,000 Icelanders on the triumphant return of the Icelandic soccer team after a big win during the European Cup, can check it out here. The Viking Clap wasn't actually invented by the Icelanders, it's from Motherwell in Scotland, but whoever is doing it, it's awesome to watch. And staying with Iceland, I also used their real women's Day Off, which happened in 1975, where over 90% of Icelandic women took a day off and didn't do any work to protest their lower pay (60% of what men were earning) and the general inequality of women in the workforce. Laws were passed the following year guaranteeing gender equality in the workforce (the Day Off literally shut the country down for the day) and although true change was a little slower, Iceland does now have one of the highest levels of gender equality in the workforce in the world.
I think it was inevitable that my years of writing historicals would find a way to touch my science fiction work, and I had a lot of fun, and gave a lot of thought, to the use to which I put my historical background. I think fictional cultures with some basis in real culture, however much of a mix they are, make for a more believable, more interesting world, and I hope my readers think so, too.
Michelle Diener is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Class 5 series. She writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction and lives in Australia with her husband and two children.