Book Giveaway: Dragon Queen (12/5/2014)

Ziva rammed the throttle wide open and threw the Fer-de-Lance into a tight spin, spitting out countermeasures in a classic tesseract pattern. Her wingman, a second Fer-de-Lance, shot between the incoming missiles and her countermeasure bloom, adding to the confusion, but it didn’t make a difference. The Cobra Mk. III was still coming at her. Somehow it had shot all four of her missiles before they’d burst and scattered their warheads and now the Cobra was firing steadily at her with frightening accuracy. Whatever software it was running was unreal and she wanted it.

The second Fer-de-Lance twisted away. He always did that. ‘Turn and take him head on you weasel,’ she muttered.

A lucky shot from the Cobra punched a hole through the crystal titanium skin over the Fer-de-Lance’s port engine. Several cubic centimetres of ablative armour vaporised and took most of the laser’s sting, but not quite enough. Even at this range, the beam of the Cobra’s military laser was still needle thin. The last vestiges stabbed into the engine’s heart and wrecked a power relay no bigger than a thumbnail. A magnetic containment field, already strained to breaking point by Ziva’s frantic manoeuvring, collapsed and raw plasma at eight million Kelvin erupted through the port engine, scouring everything. Damage control cut in at once, raising a magnetic shield and deflecting the plasma outward. The starboard engine started adjusting to compensate but it wasn’t fast enough. The rogue plasma burst out of the ship, kicking it sideways, rupturing the port engine cowling as it went. The kick was hard, hard enough that it almost knocked Ziva out. The ship started to tumble, frantically dumping heat from the engines and ruining Ziva’s perfect countermeasure tesseract.

Before she could do a thing about it, the two chasing missiles arrived milliseconds apart. Their proximity fuses triggered and both warheads burst around her into a scatter of pinhead-sized anti-hydrogen mines. Invisible and lethal. Two seconds later, the first mine hit and the Fer-de-Lance bloomed in a blaze of energy. Overwhelmed shields collapsed and the ship, missiles and mines exploded together with the gamma-flash of a dying star. That was the thing about the Fer-de-Lance: it was a true thoroughbred of a ship but with so much performance crammed into such a tight envelope that it didn’t have the backups and built-in redundancy of the more robust Cobra. Too many single points of failure.

The other Fer-de-Lance frantically ejected countermeasures of its own and darted behind the radiation burst that had once been Ziva’s ship. Its fusion plume flared as the pilot floored the throttle to get away. He turned and ran. The follow-up salvo of missiles from the pursuing Cobra fuzed on the decoys.

Ziva crashed out of the simulation and slammed the flight panel of the Dragon Queen in disgust. ‘Fuck! Again!’

- o O o -

More beating The Silver Kings into shape this week. On Thursday Elite:Wanted comes out in e-book, but only in e-book so I can’t give a copy of it away until it comes out in paper form later in the year. So since I can’t, this week’s giveaway is a choice between a paper copy of the Elite book if you don’t mind waiting or else a copy of Dragon Queen, whihc came out in paperback a few weeks ago and after which Ziva’s ship is named. You choose!

wanted cover - lo res

Dragon Queen lo-res cover

Usual deal – comment on this post before May 18th and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy of whichever book you choose. Give me a comment with either a cool name for a dragon or a cool name for a spaceship (just for fun – I won’t be using them) and we’ll have a popularity contest: dragons vs. spaceships.

Although, though no one has yet complained about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. I am currently very behind so if you’re waiting for a book from a previous giveaway they’re all in the post.


9 Responses to “Book Giveaway: Dragon Queen (12/5/2014)”

  1. Kevin Pearson says:

    yet another fantastic giveaway!

  2. Jamie says:

    How about ‘Holdfire’..?
    Could be a ship or a dragon i guess…

  3. David Joseph Brady says:

    Very cool looking covers. I like the idea of having a ship (Dragon Class of course), and calling it ‘Unleashed’. You know you’re going to have fun with that.

  4. Paul Walsh says:

    Has to be Dragons over spaceships all day.
    And how about a Dragon who thinks his name is the thing he hears getting screamed at him just before he breathes out -
    Holy Fuuu………

  5. Zoe says:

    The Devourer.
    Terrifying dragon name!

  6. Dan says:

    Ex Aervis

  7. Lee says:

    Spaceship name: The Intrepid Lizard

  8. Theresa N says:

    The Golden Warlock..dragon or spaceship.

  9. Stephen says:

    Jamie won this one.

Leave a Reply