Join a mercenary company and see the galaxy.
Kill the bad guys and get paid... a lot!
If you enjoy interstellar adventure, seeing double crossing villains get their just deserts, exotic aliens as both allies and foes, and a huge Galactic Union made real by the imaginations of dozens of leading science fiction authors, then maybe it's time for you to register with the Mercenary Guild, train to operate the latest CASPer mechas, and jump into the Four Horsemen Universe.
Created by Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy, the Four Horsemen Universe (4HU) was a huge hit series in 2017 and continues to grow with new authors and returning scribes exploring the boundaries of this shared galaxy of adventure.
As of spring 2018, I currently have three stories (details below). If you enjoy them, please let me know. Better still, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and tell the publisher. The more people do that, the more I'm likely to be slipping into my CASPer suit again and exploring more of this universe.
The Four Horsemen Universe is published by Seventh Seal Press, and you can find out more information at the publisher's website, where you can also sign up to the email list and receive and introductory short story. Here's the link. If you've signed up to the Legion, you should already have Thrill Addict, which makes a great introduction. If not, then see details below.
Where to start reading
The last time I counted, there were 13 4HU books out, and many more on the way, and that can seem a little daunting. My first 4HU novel, The Midnight Sun, is the 13th, but that doesn't mean you have to read the first twelve to make sense of it. So... where to start?
Well, the good news is that most of the books are standalone, and I wrote The Midnight Sun so that new readers can jump right in with that book without needing to read any of the others first. Just to confuse matters, I then wrote the novelette Thrill Addict as an introduction to the characters in The Midnight Sun. Seriously, though, you can start with either, and then if you enjoy the setting, you can read the others in any order. And if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, at the time of writing, you can borrow the books for free. I myself read the books out of sequence. However, since I got started, things have gotten slightly more complicated. The publisher has an updated official sequence explanation here, but here is my personal field guide to the 4HU books.
'Season 1' is called the Revelations Cycle
This kicks off with novels by the two creators (Mark and Chris) featuring each of the four mercenary companies known collectively as the Four Horsemen (you can see the book covers in the banner above). Further books in the Revelations Cycle add backstory and explore many other aspects of the Galactic Union, such as the Peacemaker Guild. There is a story arc that runs through the background of the initial four books, but only comes to the fore at the end to the novel The Golden Horde. You can see the latest list of Revelations Cycle books on amazon.com here.
'Season 2' is called The Omega War
This series kicks off with A Fiery Sunset, which follows directly from events at the end of The Golden Horde. You don't need to have read any of the other books to enjoy A Fiery Sunset, although I will point out that one of the personal story arcs that ran in the background of some Revelations Cycle stories is twisted into a new direction in A Fiery Sunset. If you started here and then went on to read the earlier books, that may spoil the twist and the earlier books would have a different impact.
The second book is my The Midnight Sun, and you can definitely start with this novel and jump backward if you like it to read the earlier books. It references the events at the end of The Golden Horde, and a little of A Fiery Sunset (though not much as I wrote Midnight Sun first).
For readers (and listeners -- these books are available in audio or coming soon) who want to read the main sequence in the precise order, here it is: Cartwright's Cavaliers, Asbaran Solutions, Winged Hussars, The Golden Horde, A Fiery Sunset, The Midnight Sun... and more to follow soon.
BTW: although I think of The Omega War as season 2, that doesn't mean the Revelations Cycle is done. There are still many stories to be told that sit outside of the main sequence.
You can hear me discussing the series with the publisher, Chris Kennedy, on this Sci Fi Shenanigans Podcast episode.
The Midnight Sun
Join a mercenary company and see the galaxy. Take down the bad guys and get paid... a lot.
Space opera | Military science fiction | Space adventure | Galactic civilization | Aliens
Sisters Sun and Blue are on the run from Earth, operating a mercenary company on behalf of a mysterious alien owner in another part of the galaxy. Many of the mercs are not even human, so when the company becomes embroiled in the repercussions of a crisis on Earth, the sisters have to ask themselves: what are they really fighting for?
This novel is part of the Four Horsemen Universe published by Seventh Seal Press. You can start reading straight away with this story. The characters first appeared in Contract Fulfilled (my story in the anthology: For a Few Credits More). I have also written a personal field guide to the Four Horsemen Universe, which you can read at the top of this webpage.
- The company, Sinclair's Scorpions, was developed by author PP Corcoran and can be found in other Four Horsemen books.
- I was inspired to write some of the swamp world scenes by accounts from real soldiers behind enemy lines in the jungles of Burma and Vietnam.
- My son built the cover art in Lego. There's a picture of it below.
- Many of the characters in The Midnight Sun first appeared in Contract Fulfilled, which was written first and comes earlier in story chronology.
For a Few Credits More
Join a mercenary company and see the galaxy. Take down the bad guys and get paid... a lot.
Anthology | Space opera | Military science fiction | Space adventure | Mercenaries | Aliens
This is an anthology of thirteen novelettes set in the Four Horsemen Universe.
In my contribution, Contract Fulfilled, Sisters Sun and Blue are on the run from Earth, operating a mercenary company on behalf of a mysterious alien owner in another part of the galaxy. The galaxy is a dangerous place filled with double-crossing, treacherous, and murderous beings. The worst of them are other humans. But the Midnight Sun Free Company has a reputation for never failing to fulfill a contract, and it's a reputation Sun and Blue will stop at nothing to keep.
This novel is part of the Four Horsemen Universe published by Seventh Seal Press. You can start reading straight away with this anthology; in fact, it's a particularly good place to start. The characters I first wrote about in Contract Fulfilled appear later in my novel The Midnight Sun. Also look out for the earlier anthology, A Fistful of Credits, which includes an excellent novelette from JR Handley and Corey Truax who worked on the Sleeping Legion series. I have written a personal field guide to the Four Horsemen Universe, which you can read at the top of this webpage.
Contract Fulfilled was inspired by the tales of bounty hunter, Johnny Alpha, that I used to read in 2000AD comic when I was a boy.
After writing this story, I went on to write The Midnight Sun and then Thrill Addict. In terms of story chronology, Thrill Addict comes first.
You can run, but no one can hide from the dark forever.
Novelette | Space opera | Military science fiction | Space adventure | Mercenaries | Aliens
This is a novelette set in the Four Horsemen Universe and featuring the characters in my other 4HU stories. It makes a good jumping off point into 4HU..
The Spine Nebula is a failed sector of space. It's a playground for pirates and smugglers, and a haven for the desperate and greedy – a perfect place for sisters Blue and Sun to hide.
But they've made powerful enemies, and no one can hide from the Endless Night.
The only way out is to fight.
This story is set before the events of Contract Fulfilled in the For a Few Credits More anthology, but was written straight after The Midnight Sun.
It was a little strange to write a story set in someone else's universe and publish it myself. Naturally, I asked permission first.
Thrill Addict is not the only 4HU story to mention challenge coins. In fact, there was a Kickstarter campaign to make real 4HU challenge coins for some of the mercenary companies, including The Midnight Sun Free Company. In Thrill Addict, we learn where the company motto comes from.
This novelette is only available for signed up Legionaries.
Or grab Thrill Addict direct from Instafreebie here. (which might be easier if you have the Instafreebie app).
The Adventures in the Arcane Syndicate have delivered stunning pulp adventure anthologies over the past couple of years. In 2018, they're opening things up to more authors in the Lovecraftian madness that is the Cthulhu Edition. Currently, this is a Kickstarter project that needs backers to be funded and go ahead. Tap or click on the artwork to be taken to the Kickstarter page where you can watch the video that reveals all... if you dare! American backers can choose to have their likeness transformed by eldritch artists into their true forms (?) as Cthulhu cultists or cosmic monsters.
My entry in this anthology is set in Small Heath, Birmingham, England in 1925, on the road where I used to live. I saw many strange sights and often took the train into the city from Small Heath Station. But I never rode it all the way back to Royal Leamington Spa. This story explains why.
The Kickstarter runs until mid-May 2018. Don't be left out!
The Earth... lost. But humanity must survive. Somewhere.
Space opera | Anthology | Space adventure | Colonization | Aliens
'The Light of Distant Earth' is my novelette in this anthology of 12 leading authors, including Amy DuBoff, Scott Bartlett, and Dennis E Taylor, famous for 'We are Legion (We are Bob).
My story follows a desperate colony fleet pushed to the very edge of the spiral arm by implacable aliens. Yet even in the depth of despair, sometimes you can light a beacon of hope.
I’ve enjoyed the Explorations series of anthologies since the first one came out summer 2016. It’s classic space-oriented science fiction adventure with more than a passing nod to hard-SF. The series is loosely script edited by series supremo Nathan Hystad, and written by a range of authors but principally by the new wave of successful indy SF novelists. Like my 'For a Few Credits More' anthology in the Four Horsemen Universe, the stories are novelettes – a size in between short stories and novellas. I think that’s perfect for an anthology set in a shared universe, and I also think it’s a size that suits my writing style.
The anthology was published by Woodbridge Press in 2017.
When I wrote my story, I tried to channel my sense of wonder from reading Arthur C. Clarke as a kid. My story title is a homage via Clarke's novel, 'Songs of Distant Earth'.
Talking of Arthur C. Clarke, I used to work as a book designer, and one of the first eBooks I produced was 'Fables from the Fountain' (2011), a collection of fantastical shaggy dog stories told or set in a fictitious London pub, and very much a homage to Clarke's similar book, 'Tales from the White Hart' (1957). I've not read Clarke's original, but Fables from the Fountain is one of my favorite short story anthologies, and with the likes of Stephen Baxter and Neil Gaiman telling the stories it felt exciting at the time to be involved.
And there's more.
There's the two Reality War novels, and the novella Last Man Through the Gate, all of which are part of the Human Legion Universe. Although I'm proud of them, they weren't intended as military science fiction and so I'm not pushing them. I may rewrite them at some point to fit in thematically with the other Legion novels.
I also have stories in various anthologies, but check the names as some stories appear in more than one. I'm in Total Conflict (I did the cover design for that) and the same story in Further Conflicts (which is an amazing cover and nothing to do with me). I wrote a story called 'Hill 435' for Crises & Conflicts, but if you're a signed up Legionary, you can get it for free so buy the book if you like, but not for that story. Also, Shoes, Ships & Cadavers and a bunch of print magazines from when I was starting out. The very first story I had published was called Themistocles, which won a short story competition in 2002. It was the origin story for the Human Legion. I had another Human Legion Universe story in a print magazine back in 2003, and one in a defunct online magazine in 2005. Neither of those involved the Human Marine Corps – it's a big galaxy!
I published a bunch of stories with Greyhart Press under my own name (many now de-listed while I'm thinking what to do with them) and YA fantasy/ SF stories with The Repository of Imagination under the pen name Crustias Scattermush. I'm still very proud of those.
One of the earliest short stories I wrote (in 2002, I think) still stands the test of time and is my favourite title. Sometimes it's free and sometimes it's 99c. The vagaries of Amazon, but you can see it here.
By the way, when I started being published, I decided to call myself professionally Tim C. Taylor. I added the initial (it stands for Charles) because there were other Tim Taylors who published before me. Unfortunately, a decade later an Australian author started publishing as "Tim C Taylor" without the period. A lot of retailers and search engines think we're the same person. It's just one of those things and I don't think many people buy his books thinking mistakenly that they're mine. Anyway, if you see any of the books on this link then they're nothing to do with me: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TimothyCTaylor (BTW: I'm sure you wouldn't, but just to be clear, I'm pointing out this other author to avoid confusing us; please don't send him abuse!)