David Drake

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer

RCN

RCN Series

WITH THE LIGHTNINGS (Baen/1998)
LT LEARY, COMMANDING (Baen/2000)
THE FAR SIDE OF THE STARS (Baen/2003)
THE WAY TO GLORY (Baen/2005)
SOME GOLDEN HARBOR (Baen/2006)
WHEN THE TIDE RISES (Baen/2008)
IN THE STORMY RED SKY (Baen/2009)
WHAT DISTANT DEEPS (Baen/2010)
THE ROAD OF DANGER (Baen/2012)
THE SEA WITHOUT A SHORE (Baen/2014)

The RCN Series

Baen ad. This isn’t a marketing site, but this was too neat not to run as news.

The Sea Without a Shore

Cover artist: Steve Hickman

The Sea Without a Shore involves Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy as private citizens on a mining colony which is in rebellion against its homeworld.

Their missions are to help unofficial interests on Cinnabar–but since on the one hand those interests are Daniel’s political powerful family and on the other Mistress Sand, the Republic’s spymaster and Adele’s other employer, the business isn’t wholly unofficial.

Some problems can be worked out by calm reason. Others can be cleverly finessed. But a few are best handled by going in with guns blazing. Daniel and Adele have the tools to proceed in all of those fashions.

The Road of Danger

The Road of Danger

Cover art: Steve Hickman

AUTHOR’S NOTE

I use both English and Metric weights and measures in the RCN series to suggest the range of diversity which I believe would exist in a galaxy-spanning civilization. I do not, however, expect either actual system to be in use in three thousand years. Kilogram and inch (etcetera) should be taken as translations of future measurement systems, just as I’ve translated the spoken language.

Occasionally I think that I don’t really have to say that in every RCN book. It’s obvious, after all, isn’t it? But there’s a certain number of people to whom it isn’t obvious. They’ll write to “correct” me, and that gets on my nerves. continue reading…

What Distant Deeps

What Distant Deeps

Cover art: Steve Hickman

I’ll start out with what in my days as a lawyer we would call boilerplate: I use both English and Metric weights and measures in the RCN series to suggest the range of diversity which I believe would exist in a galaxy-spanning civilization. I do not, however, expect either actual system to be in use in three thousand years. Kilogram and inch (etcetera) should be taken as translations of future measurement systems, just as I’ve translated the spoken language.

I really wish I didn’t have to say that. I’ve learned that I do. continue reading…

In the Stormy Red Sky

In the Stormy Red Sky

Cover art: Steve Hickman

I learned with the first book of the RCN series, With the Lightnings, that I have to explain that I use English and Metric weights and measures as a convenience to readers, not because I think the same systems will be in use three millennia hence. To me, that went without saying. Here as often, I was wrong.

There are many snatches of song in this novel, as generally in my work. They’re all my paraphrases of real music ranging from The Handsome Cabin Boy to the Carmen Saeculare of Horace. I do this for my own amusement–but people do sing, and I think it gives the work resonance to use pieces that people have sung instead of pieces that I’ve invented. continue reading…

When the Tide Rises

When the Tide Rises

Cover art: Steve Hickman

The genesis of my RCN novels was Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful Aubrey/Maturin series, set during and after the Napoleonic Wars. It therefore won’t surprise many of you to find a number of plot points common to O’Brian’s last novels and When the Tide Rises. This is a case of convergent evolution, however, rather than direct borrowing on my part: we’re both working from Lord Cochrane’s memoirs of service under the revolutionary governments of Chili (sic) and Brazil.

Jack Aubrey and Daniel Leary are supporting independence movements as agents of their governments. In reality, the British government threatened Cochrane with prosecution if he accepted the Chilean offer, and the British warships which Cochrane encountered during his operations against the Spanish empire baulked him at every possible opportunity. continue reading…

Some Golden Harbor

Some Golden Harbor

Cover art: Steve Hickman

I’ve based the setting of Some Golden Harbor on political and military events taking place during the early 5th century BC in Southern Italy (Aricia, Cumae, and the Etruscan federation). All right, that’s a little obscure even for me, but I found the discussion of Aristodemus of Cumae in an aside by Dionysius of Halicarnassus to be an extremely clear account of the rise and eventual fall of an ancient tyrant.

There’s more real information here than in the lengthy, tendentious, and generally rhetorical disquisitions on Coriolanus (a near contemporary, by the way). I suspect that’s because Aristodemus is unimportant except as a footnote to Roman history, whereas Gaius Marcius Coriolanus provided one of the basic myths of Rome. The real Coriolanus and the real events involving him are buried under a structure of invention, but nobody had a reason to do that in regard to Aristodemus. continue reading…

The Way to Glory

The Way to Glory

Cover art: Steve Hickman

The general political background of the RCN series is that of Europe in the mid-18th century, with admixtures of late-Republican Rome. (There’s a surprising degree of congruence between British and Roman society in those periods.)

Major plot elements in The Way to Glory, however, come from the 19th century. Those of you who know some American history may note echoes of the Somers Mutiny, and if you’re really well-versed you’ll understand how greatly I simplified the details of political factions both in Washington (Whigs, Democrats, and the intimates of President Tyler whose own party had repudiated him) and in the US Navy. Real history is a great deal more complex than anything I could make up. continue reading…

The Far Side of the Stars

The Far Side of the Stars

Cover art: Steve Hickman

One of the problems when you’re writing of either the past or the future is ‘How much should I translate?’ I don’t mean simply language: there’s a whole complex of things that people within any society take for granted but which vary between societies. (But language too: I had somebody complain that the Arthurian soldiers in The Dragon Lord talked like modern soldiers. My reaction to this was that I could write the soldiers’ dialogue in Latin, but the complainant couldn’t read it; and if I’m going to translate into English, why on Earth wouldn’t I translate into the type of English the same sort of men speak today?) continue reading…

Lt. Leary Commanding

Lt. Leary Commanding

Cover art: Steve Hickman

I’m using English and Metric weights and measures throughout Lt. Leary Commanding, as I did in With the Lightnings.  I wouldn’t bother mentioning this, but the decision seems to concern some people.  I’m doing it for the same reason that I’m writing the novel in English instead of inventing a language for the characters of future millennia to speak.

I’d like to note for those who’re interested that the orders in Chapter Nine are a close paraphrase of those which sent the frigate USS Congress to Hawaii in 1845.  Here as elsewhere, I prefer to borrow from reality rather than invent it.

–Dave Drake

Lt. Leary, Commanding. RCN Series. 2000, Riverdale, NY: Baen. 432 p. 0671578758. $24.00.
————– 2000, New York, NY: SFBC. 432 p. SFBC 05840. $11.98.
————– 2001, Riverdale, NY: Baen. 556 p. 0671319922 (pb). $7.99.
————– 2008, Newark, NJ: Audible Frontiers [Audiobook]. 16 hours 28 mins.[Available for download from Audible.com]