The Vanity of Hope


“A man must overcome his greatest enemy to play his part in the ultimate war.”


1499 A.D. Thomas Ryder is a medieval gamekeeper with a lot on his mind. Where does he belong in the world of Nature? What hope for a lasting peace? When will the aliens make their final move?

Abducted from Alice Holt Forest, along with his fiancée, Sarra Chambers, he is taken to the planet of Heyre and trained by superior beings to be their great king against an undefeated destroyer of worlds.

As his knowledge grows beyond that of any human who has ever lived, his inner world becomes increasingly chaotic. The hyper-technologies of artificial intelligence, bio-machine integration, genetic engineering, and virtual reality unleash unsettling choices and force him to question his true nature. Risking his humanity, he must navigate ancient deceits and embrace the bewitching ways of his new world, or lose Sarra forever.

Inferior to all around him, he is fêted as a savior king by deed of his mysterious connection to a supernatural creature whose background influence points to a greater, more ancient war.

Can Thomas Ryder survive the Great War of mortals and fulfill his destiny as a true king in the apocalyptic war for the Light of the universe?

Experience First Three Chapters

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The infernal light.

Tom lowered his hat against the sharp sun. The once-golden fields of wheat on either side of the road hung beaten and bleached to a white that burned the eyes. His father said it was the worst dry he could remember, and the old folks of the village warned the big dry of 1439, the Devil’s Breath, had started with the same maddening weeks of hot winds from the southeast. A poor harvest meant less money in the village, fewer favors offered with meaner terms—and a shortage of grain over the long winter would cull the weak. Mother Nature was against them. As if there weren’t already too many problems in these alien days.

Captain Jbir searched through the mementos scattered around his quarters. He’d hid it somewhere amongst the gold and jewels so that a sneak would pass over the real treasures and take what could be repackaged and sold on the street. It couldn’t happen on his ship way out here, but old habits were why he’d survived so long. He spread the fine chains across the desk and chose the smallest. After trying several places on his overcoat that it might look good, he set it beside the small lock that once hung around the neck of his first apprentice on Tilas in the glory days.

Tom waved his hat to Sarra as she approached on her bay horse, Ellie. He grinned at her riding side-saddle in a dress. Her happy face jarred with how she was at her mother’s hasty funeral at the church—on his birthday of all days. Dead on Sunday, mourned on Monday, buried on Tuesday in a grave with a banged-up wooden cross. It was a dignified affair, and necessarily quick given the heat.

Marco and Ellie, brother and sister from the same broodmare, neighed and nudged heads as they came together. Her floral frock had a blue waistband and her bonnet had a matching blue ribbon tied in a bow under her chin. She’d embroidered a golden stag on either side of the wide collar. The sunlight glowed in her blonde hair and a wide smile beamed over her face.

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