Lockstep cover revealed
As befits a book written for a younger crowd, the cover art for Lockstep is by the inestimable Chris McGrath
Here ya go. Risingshadow.net has let the cat out of the bag and posted the cover art for my next novel, Lockstep. Not to be outdone, I'll present it too. Here is McGrath's excellent rendering of Toby and Corva on the planet Wallop:
The novel will be serialized first in Analog, this fall, then hit the stores in hardcover form March 25, 2014. I know that seems like a long time to wait, but there's the serialization--and there will also be a lot of other stuff from me during the summer/fall, including new installments of the Sun of Suns graphic novel, audiobook work, and a major secret project I can't yet reveal.
Meanwhile, am I leaving behind adult hard SF? Is Lockstep truly YA? No, and I dunno. I wrote it in the style I felt the story needed. Tor says it has a sufficiently YA-ish feel to it that it can be marketed that way; the hero is 17 years old, but so was Rue Cassels in Permanence. (By the way, Lockstep is not another Halo Worlds novel.) I don't think my older readers are going to be disappointed by this story, and I've always written with younger readers in mind. (You think the steampunk air-pirates of Virga are just for grownups? Ha!) Anyway, you can judge. Here's the marketing bumpf/synopsis of Lockstep:
A grand innovation in hard SF space opera — a slower-than-light civilization of planets without stars
When seventeen-year-old Toby McGonigal finds himself lost in space, separated from his family, he expects his next drift into cold sleep to be his last. After all, the planet he’s orbiting is frozen and sunless, and the cities are dead. But when Toby wakes again, he’s surprised to discover a thriving planet, a strange and prosperous galaxy, and something stranger still — that he’s been asleep for 14,000 years.
Welcome to the Lockstep Empire, where civilization is kept alive by careful hibernation. Here cold sleeps can last decades and waking moments mere weeks. Its citizens survive for millenia, traveling asleep on long voyages between worlds. Not only is Lockstep the new center of the galaxy, but Toby is shocked to learn that the Empire is still ruled by its founding family: his own.
Toby’s brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. Suspicious of the return of his long-lost brother, whose rightful inheritance also controls the lockstep hibernation cycles, Peter sees Toby as a threat to his regime. Now, with the help of a lockstep girl named Corva, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization.
Lockstep's one of those books I wrote purely for the fun of it, without bothering to think about market. I hope the fun shows through, and I hope you like it.