Blood & Iron is my first story in Privateer Press’ realm of the Iron Kingdoms, and what a boisterous introduction! While vaguely familiar with the world and the games (both their Iron Kingdoms RPG and their Warmachine games are set in the same world) I didn’t know the details, and let me tell you, there was a steep learning curve. It took me about a month of reading their source books to really get a grasp of how things work. The Iron Kingdoms, for want of a better descriptor, is “high-fantasy steampunk on steroids,” complete with magic, firearms, monsters, and really, really big warmachine robots called “warjacks.”
Not exactly the setting I’m used to.
And not only was this a first for me in the Iron Kingdoms world, but also a first in that I was to write a story with one of their iconic characters, Phinneus Shae, as my protagonist. This was, perhaps, even harder for me than the new setting. If you’ve read my work, you know that I’m a character writer. My characters are real people, and they tell the story. It took me a while to grasp exactly who Shae was, what made him tick, what his life conflicts were, and how to work all this into the story. In the end, it took a lot of editorial input to get it right, but I think we finally hit the mark.
The best part of doing this story was cannons! That’s right, full broadside, twenty-four pounders blasting metal, wood, and flesh from close range. All of my years of enjoying the Patrick O’Brian novels came into play, and let me tell you, I had a blast (pun intended) bringing it to life.
So give it a read and let me know what you think. You can download a free PDF sample of the opening scene from the Privateer Press site for a taste. I always appreciate feedback, and I would love to hear from those who play the Iron Kingdoms game: Did I hit the mark with the world and characters?
There may be more Iron Kingdoms stories coming over the horizon soon, so keep a weather eye peeled!