Every career starts somewhere.
On his first major heist with the company of mercenaries, Raike uncovers a plot to betray them all. Under-skilled and with limited experience, Raike unknowingly has the fate of his whole brotherhood resting on his shoulders as he sets out to unmask the rat trying to bring them down.
Get it now!
Raike has been with his company of mercenaries for three years now. He and his brothers in crime are digging their way into a vault for what is supposed to be the heist of a lifetime. Just as they reach the wall Raike realises that someone within the company is working against them. He doesn’t know who, he doesn’t know when they’ll strike, and he doesn’t know how to unmask them before the trap springs. That’s gotta be quite unnerving for someone stuck in a floodable tunnel, right?
The first three books are set when Raike is in his mid-thirties and has the skills and experience to save everyone’s lives, so this one posed quite a few problems in writing it. One issue with writing in the first person is that Raike needs to be within ear shot of most things in the story, which is fine if he was a lieutenant in the mercenary company, but not when he’s the lowest member there. The only justification was to use Raike as bait and dangle him in front of the bad guys because he was the most expendable one. But Raike is also supposed to be able to fight his way out of problems and there needs to be a formidable opponent, so how is someone with three years of training supposed to defeat someone with twenty years on them? (Hint: by being a cheating, sneaking son of a bitch.)
The way I write books has shifted considerably over the years, and not necessarily for the benefit of my sanity. The first Kingston Raine book was probably the last time I wrote a book ‘correctly’, in that I began with chapter one and wrote everything in order until I reached the final sentence of the last chapter. Then … things started to go awry. I’d get stuck on a particular chapter but I knew what someone else was doing in a different plot line, so I’d focus on that until I got unstuck and I’d go back and fill in the blanks so that everyone was caught up again. Then I got stuck on all plot lines but I knew where they ended up in two or three chapters’ time, so I’d leap over that missing part and fill it in later. The first Raike book was written mostly in chronological order, then I found that this chapter worked better earlier, that other chapter should be moved here to provide the next with a little more oomph, and things got shifted around considerably. From then on, every book started to get chaotic. I’d write as much as I could without breaking the flow and as soon as I hit a section of ‘Raike learns something useful here from someone but I don’t know what or from who’ I’d skip over and write the next bit with the hope of tying it all together in the edit. Since the Raike books involve a mystery, he’d talk to one suspect and move on to another, getting closer and closer to figuring out who the real bad guy is, so as long as I knew how it (more or less) ended I could fill in a lot of the blanks later on. Unfortunately, that involves a lot of head-desk moments, a lot of pacing, and a lot of boring my girlfriend as I tell her of my newest problem, because Raike is here, talking to this guy, and he needs to talk to that guy over there, but the second guy is supposed to tell him information that leads him to the first guy, but I can’t put the first guy after the second guy because of this great big other reason, so maybe I should split the second guy into two guys instead, so second guy 2.1 can tell Raike something that will lead him to the first guy, and the first guy will tell him something that will lead to second guy 2.2, but that’s going to ruin the momentum of the story … You get the idea. So guess what I’ve decided to do for Raike 5? Throw all caution into the wind and write whatever comes first! And by that I mean: I’m not writing the first and last paragraphs of each chapter, since those are the ones where Raike uses the information learned from the first guy to track down the second guy. Instead, Raike just appears in front of the second guy and questions him. Will it work better? I’ll tell you in six months.
With any luck Raike 5 will be out in March, but since I expected The Long Night to be out in August when I first started it, let’s just assume that Raike 5 will be out some time in 2020.