Thus far, all of my work fits into different parts of a continuous timeline. The following writeup shows how each story and series fits into the tapestry I'm weaving. If you want to read the entire epic chronologically, this page gives the order in which the books can be read. Each series does, however, stand alone, so reading them chronologically is in no way necessary to get the big picture. Please note that the books within each series are meant to be read in order, and do not necessarily stand alone.
Note on terminology: The terms leythe and mythe can be used interchangeably, and refer to an energy field that permeates the entire universe. The terms come from two different cultures on the world known as Aion, each with its own language and traditions surrounding the manipulation of this energy field. The term leythe comes from the Westlands, where the energy field was studied scientifically and a leythe-based technology was developed. The term mythe comes from kingdoms of Skanda, in the east, where a tradition more like magic than science arose, complete with the requisite rituals, secrecy, and control.
1. The Pre-Human Era
Aion is an earth-like planet located many light years from Earth. In the extra-dimensional space humans call jump space, some worlds lie very close to one another, regardless of physical distance, and sometimes, when the currents of the mythe move in certain ways, the Veil Between Worlds becomes thin enough that the creatures of one world can pass to another. Sometimes the thinning of the Veil is such that the passage can be made without the travelers being aware that it has occurred. Other times, the transition can be so violent it can leave a man sick, mad, or dead.
At various points during the course of Earth’s evolution, the Veil separating Aion and Earth within the mythe was thin enough that there was a free exchange of genetic material between the two worlds. Over the course of time, the forces of evolution and the influence of the mythe, which is much stronger on Aion, altered and shaped those creatures sometimes subtly, and sometimes dramatically, so while some of Aion’s flora and fauna are similar to those found on Earth and other human worlds, others are very different.
The first human colonists arrived on Aion with a ship too crippled to continue its journey in search of a habitable world. Aion was capable of supporting human life, and the colonists breathed a collective sigh of relief and went about making it their home. This home proved to be both strangely familiar and frighteningly different. Though some of the plants and animals were very much like those they knew, the colonists found themselves affected by mind-altering natural phenomena unlike anything their science had ever seen. Some of the humans were sensitive to these phenomena; some could even manipulate the alien energies that ebbed and flowed across the land like the currents of a great ocean.
The discovery of crystals within the earth that could be used to focus and amplify their abilities to manipulate the energy field that soaked their world excited some and terrified others. The colony became divided, one faction arguing for funneling their limited resources into developing a technology that might help ensure the colony’s long-term survival, the other counseling against it, fearing the potential destructive power of this new technology. This difference in opinion led to the eventual division of the colony.
Those who wished to embrace this new power moved west, where rich veins of leythe-stone lay close to the surface. This group developed the traditions, culture, and technology that gave rise to the Realms of the Westlands. The people of the Westlands embraced the leythe in all its manifestations and worked to master its mysteries. Eventually, their activities influenced the natural balance of the leythe enough to catch the attention of the creatures that lived there.
One creature in particular was fascinated by the humans. Curious, it took human form and walked among them. It watched them struggle to survive the leythe-storms that periodically swept the land, and observed their clumsy attempts to harness the energies of their world. It knew their chances of survival would be greater if they could only access this power more easily. It gave them a gift, altering them subtle ways that allowed some of them to access ever deeper levels of the leythe. These changes proved heritable. With their enhanced abilities, the people of the Westlands discovered stronger and deeper veins of leythe-stone. As time went on, they initiated breeding programs that selected for only the most powerful — and sometimes lethal — abilities.
Human Frailties, Human Strengths and Human Choices are two loosely connected stand-alone novels that take place early in this time period.
The Kingdoms of Skanda
Those who counseled against harnessing Aion’s natural energy crossed the mountain range to the east, known as the Dragon’s Spine, and formed what would become Skanda. They called this natural phenomenon the mythe, and forbade its use. As the years passed, living on a world soaked in the mythe caused more and more children to be born in tune with it. Power untrained is a dangerous thing, and eventually it was conceded that these powers must be embraced, if only to train those who were born with them. A rigid system of laws was put in place, ostensibly to protect the population. Training in the use of the mythe was strict, and rigidly controlled. Experimentation was forbidden and the penalties for breaking the law were severe. A Council was formed to oversee the use of the mythe in an attempt to control those born with the power. Eventually, the Kingdoms of Skanda came under the control of the Wytch Council.
The Wytch Kings series takes place in the Kingdoms of Skanda, and covers the beginning of the long, devastating conflict that would later be known as the Wytch Wars.
Wytch Kings, Book 1: Burn the Sky
Wytch Kings, Book 2: Blackfrost
Wytch Kings, Book 3: Shadowspire
Wytch Kings, Book 4: Dragonwatch
Falkrag (Book 5)
Askarra (Book 6)
4. The Wytch Wars
The Wytch Wars began as a series of conflicts within Skanda, after the kingdoms of the north formed an alliance and broke with the Council. Eventually, the whole of Skanda was reunited under the rule of the first Wytch Queen. Not content to rule over Skanda alone, she turned her eye toward the Realms of the Westlands. The series of conflicts that resulted was brutal and protracted. The Westlands used their leythe technology, and the Wytch Queen called upon the powers of the mythe. There were no winners, only losers. The survivors of Skanda retreated to their homelands, east of the Dragon’s Spine, and the survivors of the Westlands drew back west of the Sea of Dreams, separated by a wasteland warped by the destructive energies that had been unleashed there.
When the survivors began to rebuild, it was carefully, and with a deeper respect for the power that had nearly destroyed the world.
The Westlands: Rise of the Church of Wraxis
In the Westlands, use of the leythe was prohibited. The Church of Wraxis came to power and a wytch hunt ensued. As the lands that had been razed began to heal, the realm of Azhan, where the most gifted of all leythari had built many of the weapons used in the Wytch War, became a target of the Church’s wrath. Feared and reviled for their role in the war, the people of Azhan were forced to flee their homeland. Most fled to the barely habitable, sparsely populated wasteland that would later become the Middle Kingdoms. Not satisfied with chasing the people of Azhan from the Westlands, the Church sent troops into wasteland to destroy the fledgling settlements they found.
The Ajhani Clans and the Middle Kingdoms
Thus began the Ajhani tradition of moving from place to place, never settling anywhere for long. Clans—extended family groups—traveled together in caravans, and eventually became the backbone of the trade and communication network that allowed the growth of the Middle Kingdoms. The wandering clans helped rebuild the lands between the Sea of Dreams and the Dragon’s Spine, following regular trade routes, carrying letters and messages from settlement to settlement, and providing entertainment, as well as an opportunity for trade. As the years passed settlements became cities, and territories became kingdoms, but the Ajhani continued to wander, belonging to no land and every land.
The Tovashi Domains
East of the Dragon’s Spine, where the Tovashi Domains arose from the ashes of the Kingdoms of Skanda, the Wytch Wars had taught some bitter lessons. It was agreed that there would be no kings, only lords, and that inheritance would no longer be based upon one’s power over the mythe. The lords would accountable to the Tovashi Council, upon which all of them would sit. The founding leaders also agreed (with varying levels of enthusiasm) to abide by the Binding, a law that prohibited possession of or research into weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, the weapons left over from the Wytch Wars could not be unmade, so they were buried, locked away, and (mostly) forgotten.
The stand-alone novel, Leythe Blade, and the Kingmakers series take place during a time when the Middle Kingdoms have spread from the Sea of Dreams to the Dragon’s Spine. Leythe Blade takes place seven years before the events of Khalshir, the first book in the Kingmakers series.
Kingmakers, Book 1: Khalshir
6. The Age of Darkness
After the Tovashi Domains were united under a High King, there followed a time of peace. But the cat was out of the bag. During the turmoil described in the Kingmakers series, some of the lords of the Domains had rediscovered the ancient artifacts prohibited by the Binding, and began to research ways to build newer, better weapons. This was first justified by the need to defend their borders against the growing threat posed by the ambitious King of Tallin, who sought to unite the Middle Kingdoms under his rule.
Eventually, Tallin turned its eye to the rich lands beyond the Dragon’s Spine, and war broke out. This time, the effects were not just contained in a relatively small area. The fabric of the mythe itself was warped and twisted, and many areas of the planet became uninhabitable. Those who survived the war itself then had to contend with mythe-storms that swept the world, killing many more. When the dust — and the mythe — finally settled, the survivors were those who had some natural ability to manipulate the mythe — a large proportion of whom were descended from the ancient realm of Azhan — the Ajhani clans. The Ajhani gathered in the places where the mythe was the least warped, the places where the land could still support human life.
7. The Coming of the Sky People
Now the Ajhani clans live a nomadic life, following their herds across the plains and guarding the ruins, where some of the artifacts that devastated their world still lie. It is their sacred duty, given them by the Dragon Mother herself, to see that these artifacts do not fall into hands that would misuse them.
It is at this time that the Federation discovers Aion…
The Guardians of the Pattern series begins some 30 years after the Federation discovers Aion, which they name Lyra. When the initial survey results indicated that the planet contained rich veins of shaalinite, the mineral upon which most of the Federation’s technology was based, nothing as inconvenient as an indigenous population was going to stand in the way of stripping the planet’s resources. The Federation declared Lyra a restricted world and secretly awarded the mining contract to Tri-Mech Industries.
Guardians of the Pattern, Book 0.5: Facing the Mirror
Guardians of the Pattern, Book 1: Psi Hunter
Guardians of the Pattern, Book 2: Gremlin's Last Run
Guardians of the Pattern, Book 3: Ghost in the Mythe
Guardians of the Pattern, Book 4: Wildfire Psi
Guardians of the Pattern, Book 5: Eye of the Storm
Guardians of the Pattern, Book 6: Closing the Circle
Guardians of the Pattern Bundle, Vol. 1 (Books 1-3)
Guardians of the Pattern Bundle, Vol. 2 (Books 4-6)