Oh, hello there. I have news!

Wow, it's been a while. Lemme get these cobwebs out of the way...

Hello. I bet you thought I’d forgotten about you. I didn’t, though I admit it’s been a while—my last newsletter went out a whopping SEVEN MONTHS ago.

Whoah, what a year 2020 was.

Well, let’s get the good news out of the way: Book 3, What Rough Beast, has been sent to the publisher and will be coming out in 2022. My guess is it’ll be relatively early in the year, but I don’t have a definite date yet. Rest assured I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

What’s it about? Glad you asked. The short version is that it’s about creating the future, not knowing the shape of that future until it’s upon you. That’s what the title means; as in the first two books, it’s a line from Yeats’ “The Second Coming.”

The long version? Well, here you go:

The Zhen Empire, once wholly united under the Zhen, is in trouble. The Zhen:ko, the ruling caste of the Empire, is barely managing to hold their Empire together. Humans aren’t the only people horrified by what their Empire has done, and civil war has broken out. As Zhen forces turn on each other, planetary populations cower in fear amidst the chaos. War has come to the Empire, and Tajen Hunt, Katherine Lawson, and Liam Kincaid all have roles to play in the outcome, along with their allies and friends.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Shoa’Kor, pilot Tajen Hunt is tasked by his new allies to seek Zhen deserters and try to recruit them to his cause. Once he finds them, he becomes caught up in sectarian conflicts among them that threaten to derail his mission. A murdered Zhen:ko seems to have died at his hands, and if he can’t prove his innocence, he’ll not only fail his mission, but lose his life.

Katherine Lawson is sent deep into Marauder territory in search of ancient Tabran technology. Along the way she’ll learn much about the secretive Marauder society. To complete her mission, she’ll need to gain the trust of the Marauders—and to do that, she’ll have to become one of them.

Liam Kincaid, believing his husband Tajen and his oldest friend, Katherine, dead, must lead the human fleet to safety. As they are pursued across space, he must find the traitors in the fleet who are leading the Zhen to them.

When the three are reunited, they’ll join with the allies they’ve made for the final action of the Remembrance War: the invasion of Zhen:da, the very seat of the Zhen Empire.

So there you have it. Coming to you in about a year. As we get closer to the release, I’ll do some previews, maybe even some giveaways.

I’ll also keep you in the loop regarding my next project. I’m leaning toward another space opera series, but I’ve also got a fantasy project on the line, so we’ll see which is ready to start first.

Until then, stay strong, stay sane, and stay healthy. And as always, if you want to ask questions, you can do so here or by emailing me at michael@mjohnstonbooks.com.

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