Dear Readers,
This is not the end. It’s an end, but there’s still plenty more to tell.

The final book in the Dragonprince Trilogy has been available in e-book form for most of a week now. Within a few hours of its release, it was on the Science Fiction and Fantasy bestseller list at Amazon. It’s already sold nearly a thousand copies, and thanks to my fans who requested Advance Reading Copies, it boasted a bunch of customer reviews from day one.

Unfortunately…they’re not all friendly reviews. Some of them are genuine critiques of the story’s style–“The ending felt rushed” or “This minor character seemed totally pointless” or “I hated the protagonist”–but overall, the resounding complaint boils down to this:

“You didn’t tell the story I wanted you to tell.”

That is agonizing feedback for a storyteller. It’s almost impossible to fix. My readers like my stories because of my style, and part of that style is choosing the boundaries and progression of narratives. When I choose how to tell a story, I always think long and hard about everything that goes into it, and I choose the method that will make the most interesting story I can possibly tell.

In this case, I chose to tell the end of the Dragonprince story from the perspective of Daven’s son Taryn, fifteen years after the events of The Dragonswarm. I knew that would be a surprise to my readers. I hoped it would be a good surprise (and as of this writing, most of my reviewers say it was). I’m certain it was a necessary one.

Because I wanted to tell the story of the Dragonprince. I wanted to tell the story of the boy who rose to power, chose to use that power fighting monsters instead of men, and then followed through on that commitment, whatever the cost. I could have told that story from Daven’s perspective, but as you’ll know if you’ve read the book, it would have been a tortuous and miserable experience.

But I don’t think very many of my readers are frustrated with how I chose to end the story. Mostly, they seem to be frustrated that I ended the story. Maybe it really did take fifteen years before we saw the true conclusion to the story that started when Othin challenged the shepherd swordsman in front of his friends. Maybe the story of the end needed to be told from Taryn’s perspective. But that doesn’t mean I should have skipped straight there. Right? What about all the interesting things that happened to Daven in between?

Some readers have suggested that The Dragonprince’s Heir is really Book Four (or Book One in a new trilogy about Taryn), and they’re going to hold out hope for a real Book Three.

I understand the frustration my readers might have felt thinking that this was the last story I would ever have to tell about Daven. I’m sad to think how few of those disappointed readers will ever make it here to read this. I wish I could have done a better job communicating my long-term intentions, but I will make what amends I can.

I promise you this:

I’m not finished with these characters.

It has always been my intention to develop a separate “Dragonriders of the Tower” series within the fifteen-year gap between The Dragonswarm and The Dragonprince’s Heir. You will get to see Daven wielding some of that incredible power he’d harnessed by the end of Book Two.

You will get to see Lareth convince Garrett Dain to risk his life in an attempt to reproduce Daven’s bonding experience. You will get to see the high-flying, action-packed adventures of the men and women who spend five years battling the dragonswarm until there is not a waking wyrm anywhere in the whole Ardain.

But I can promise this, too:

Daven’s war with the dragonswarm is not the most interesting story I have to tell.

It’s a good one, but it’s just a drop in the bucket. I also have stories to tell of the FirstKing (who built the nation Daven fought so hard to protect), and of the primitive people who first invited evil (and, with it, great magic) into the world.

And Daven’s sons are going to change the world. Among themselves, Taryn, Damion, and Isaiah shape much of the next thousand years (with the help of Caleb’s Order Knights, of course).

I’ve been dreaming up the stories of this world my whole life, and I’d be happy to spend the rest of it writing them down. Before the summer is over, I’ll have another Daven story for you (if only a novella).

This is not the end. It’s just a handful of beginnings. Thank you for joining me on the voyage.

Aaron Pogue

Remnant (A Dragonswarm Short Story)

Some of you may have already seen it in A Consortium of Worlds, #2, but I’ve just released a new dragonswarm short story. Set thousands of years before the events of the Dragonprince Trilogy, “Remnant” tells the story of what happened last time the dragons woke.

You can pick up a copy of the short story for $0.99, or get it with a handful of others for just $2.99 in the anthology. It’s a good deal either way.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s a taste of the story:

Rinuld stood deep in the afternoon shadows, nearly invisible among the summer-scorched pines, and thought, What a waste of a perfectly good virgin. He chewed a short strip of bark, more for distraction than for the deadening effect. Otherwise he didn’t move. He made no sound. He only watched.

She was dressed in rags, of course. No sense sending her to die in clothes that still had another year’s wear in ‘em. They hadn’t skimped on the chains, though. Those were iron links solid enough to restrain a raging bear, binding a girl who couldn’t have seen more than seventeen summers. The cuffs on her wrists and the collar at her neck were so heavy they’d long since dragged her to her knees. She slumped against the scarred cliff face, trembling from time to time, but she made no effort to escape.

The cliff face troubled him. It was dead center on the east wall of the valley, situated to catch the dying sunset rays. There was a section of it scraped bare. Six paces tall and almost exactly as wide, flat and square as a townhouse wall. Man-made. It had been smooth, too. Once. Now it was scarred with long, fierce gouges–living granite torn like paper by razor-sharp talons. Soft gray stone stained black with soot and blood.

And anchors made of steel. Not bronze, not cold-wrought iron, but honest steel. A fortune in perfect steel. Five posts of it, driven deep into the stone, and from those anchors ran five iron chains to bind the skinny, pale girl.

Rinuld knew what came next. It would happen at sunset. Teeth like sickle blades would shear through her wrist-thick bonds of iron. A stomach like a furnace would consume the heavy shackles and the tender flesh alike. A pretty little girl would die, and some stupid primitive tribesmen down on the hillside would think themselves safer for another week. Another month. They couldn’t hope for a season.

And perhaps they would be. Perhaps the beast would overlook the tribe that had left the girl in chains. The monsters certainly loved treasures, and there was not much rarer now, not much more precious than human lives.

He’d seen the offer made before, but no one had survived. Not long. He’d met a thousand tribes in a hundred different lands. He’d seen villages and cavehomes. He’d met heathens and hunters and cowards who hid. It didn’t really seem to make much difference. He’d seen every effort to survive, every deal man had made with the harbingers of cataclysm, and none of it had worked.

The Twin Empires had not survived against the beasts. All the Warlord’s armies had barely held the swarm at bay. What hope was there for a dozen dirty tribesmen with nothing more to throw against them than a chained-up, beaten-down little girl?

If you’re wondering what happens next, I’ll give you a hint: Rinuld decides against his better judgment to rescue her. It’s gloriously brutal.


Last July, I started selling a lot of books. Last December, I started making a lot of money. Not just enough money from the self-publishing that I could afford to quit my day job, but enough that it was costing me money to keep going to work every day.

Still, I kept going to work. There were lots of good reasons (not the least of them fear), but the biggest was this: After three years of working on one major project for the Federal Aviation Administration, I was almost done.

The documentation team for the long-range radar branch of the FAA is a pretty modest group. We had a brand-new manager and two editors with no formal documentation training, plus me. And we were just wrapping up a major overhaul of the vast majority of our radars.

So I sat down at the end of December, decided I could afford to quit tomorrow, and decided to stay on until the end of February, mainly so I could finish up that documentation project and leave the team in a survivable situation.

At 3:45 last Friday afternoon, I finished the project I’d been working on for three years. I sent an email to a handful of my coworkers with some contact info in case they wanted to stay in touch (or buy my future novels), then I dropped off my badge and parking decal and left forever.

(Father in Heaven, I hope it was forever.)

Anyway, Monday morning saw me self-employed. I’ll actually be working as a full-time employee (CEO and head publisher) for my non-profit, The Consortium, Inc., but that doesn’t start until April. In the meantime, I’m nothing but a writer.

I’ve had an awful lot of people asking me how it feels to be free. Some things worth taking into account before I answer that question:

  • It’s only been a week.
  • During that week, I’ve gotten hit with a couple huge unexpected expenses, and watched sales on all my books decline frighteningly.
  • I’ve had a cold. Monday someone asked, “How’s your first day being self-employed?” and I answered, “I should’ve called in sick.”
  • I’m frantically trying to catch up on an overloaded school schedule that I’d been severely neglecting for the last six weeks while I finished up at work.

And even with all of that, I’m loving it. Even with all of that, this week has been among the most productive in my entire adult life, and every bit of it has been worthwhile work that matters to me personally.

  • I published Camouflage (Ghost Targets, #4) this week.
  • I coordinated on cover art for a couple other books I hope to get published in March.
  • I dusted off an old short story that I hope to get rewritten and published in the next few weeks.
  • I read back through The Dragonprince’s Heir (The Dragonprince Trilogy, #3) and wrote several thousand new words on that one, for the first time since last fall.
  • I wrote several thousand words on Faith (Ghost Targets, #5).

That doesn’t cover any of the business-y stuff I took care of, and best of all, I did almost all of it during business hours. Sure, I spent my evenings laying around being worthless because of the cold, but I also watched TV with Trish and read a couple good books and tried out some lame videogames.

It’s been a really great week. And this is just the beginning. Trish started shopping for office space this week. I can only imagine what I’ll be able to get up to once I’ve got a dedicated space and a reasonable routine.

Everything is wonderful. Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.