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NEW: Turmoil on Kregen by Alan Burt Akers

Turmoil on Kregen by Alan Burt Akers, book 52 and the last volume of the Dray Prescot series is now available from good ebook stores everywhere, including Amazon (for Kindle), iBooks, Smashwords, Google Play Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble (for Nook Books), or read it with a Scribd subscription.

The blurb:

Volume fifty-two in the saga of Dray Prescot of Earth and of Kregen, and the second book of the Spectre Cycle.

The undead monster called the Spectre has been destroyed. Princess Didi’s fine new city of Gafarden no longer suffers under the threat of the animated corpse. Didi herself lies seriously injured in Zandikar in the Eye of the World, lovingly tended by her cousin, Princess Velia. Ulana Farlan, the governor of Didi’s province of Urn Vennar, has been removed from office. Now the rogue and schemer Nath Swantram, Nath the Clis, rules.

But the Spectre, dead and animate, is about to terrorize Gafarden again as Tralgan Vorner, the wronged Elten of Culvensax, seeks vengeance on those who betrayed him. Within Vorner the Spectre lives.

Includes a glossary to the Spectre Cycle.

For more info, please see the Turmoil on Kregen page on mushroom-ebooks.com.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michael Sutton December 10, 2014, 3:54 am

    Thanks to Martyn’s great efforts at Mushroom, we come to both a happy and a sad point. We got the last of Ken’s Prescot books published. I thought it was a good time to talk about my old dom, and I saw Ken as a friend at the end. I know this is high blasphemy, but the comradeship at the end meant more to me than the Prescot books, even though they were wonderful.

    We had fun, writing letters back and forth. I had proposed that with the Internet and the emerging Acrobat PDF standard, we could probably electronically publish Prescot. Ken jumped at the chance, and sent me a manuscript. I got criticized, somehow I was encouraging Ken to “return to his fannish roots”, where I saw merely a SF writer actually exploiting a new technology. Seeing where it could go.

    So we published Ken’s books in Acrobat version 1, the first full length novels
    to be probably done with that method, under Savanti Press. I wanted to be innovative, I thought we had a chance with this new fangled human interaction technology to perhaps make Ken a “cult classic”. As a series it had struggled mightily in the mass market, Elsie Wollheim had written me about Don’s passion with it, but poor sales. We did some fun stuff, the Gdoinye would often fly and torture the unwary on the website. A small gimmick, but a lot of hilarity. Ken remarked the Gdoinye was far harsher with his punishments for failing its tests than he would have -ever- been. But he was amused by Krun! We did vector maps, we had his short stories, we had a few other ideas like supplements. I thought we could build it up over time, make it a fan experience, more than the books.

    I had the pleasure of visiting Ken twice in Royal Tunbridge Wells, where he was staying at the fine Halliwell establishment. It had been a hotel during the war, so only fitting that Ken would end up there. A last respite before shipping out at they say. I think he made the sunny uplands, and not the Ice Floes of Sicce, I’m sure of it. The Halliwell has a small flat for visitors at the rear of the home. They took a fine and delicate care of him, he was the star attraction. It’s funny, the first night I had dreamt of a beautiful woman sitting on my bed in a pink satin dress with full skirts. The staff said “oh, that was Mrs. Halliwell.” She always looks after her guests. I’m sure she offered Ken an arm and a smile on the way out.

    But the stroke had taken so much. Ken showed me where he had had the first event, in midword on page 11 of Book #53. Sadly never finished. He said by the time his son Larry realized what had happened and had the fire brigade break down the door of the flat, the paralysis was permanent. His right side was
    gone. Ironic that Book #38 would cover this topic in detail–“Cabbage” indeed.

    Ken was an organic writer. What he meant by that was he was the first reader. His prolific outpouring of books was only possible by him literally experiencing the story first hand, and he would basically one-off the story onto type written pages, sans punctuation. Absolutely amazing. For an era before word processors, this was an incredible talent. Ken was a far better writer than anyone gave him credit for.

    I sat down with him to record a tape called the Secrets of Kregen. I actually kept the secret of that “secret” tape. There was nothing substantive on it. The stroke had made him unable to type. He said without that, he could not experience the story, and there was no way to pull up anything from his memory or subconscious. I specifically asked him about Tele Karkis. He said if allowed to type, he could precisely give a history of Tele, or any character on Kregen for the last twenty years or so. Who had met, who he had adventured with, all the close scrapes. But all that was gone, alas and alas.

    So I asked him about others finishing the story, or at least going on. He said that originally, like many writers, he was closely jealous of his work. But over time, he said he mellowed quite a bit. He said he was actually flattered that anyone would consider writing in his Universe or for his characters. He said it probably wasn’t that clever starting a series that would take three lifetimes to complete,
    Prescot was that expansive, and ambitious. I discovered that, when I realized a scheme he had talked about in Book #8 isn’t realized until Book #50. Prescot finally made it to Schan, the other side of the planet. Would he spend fifty more books grappling with the “Others?” Another strange bird had made its appearance in the skies of Kregen. He had intended to close up the “loose ends”, he’d talked about the plot accelerating as more and more threads converged, but he needed more time than his failing body would give him.

    He was more concerned about people learning the craft of professional writing. Ken was a professional, through and through. He loved Prescot. He said Prescot was completely him, other than being big, strong and brave. He confessed that all his life he had made cowardice a religion. I don’t think so, Ken bore his illness well and struggled bravely to the end. But being a pro, he wasn’t going to write without being paid. He said several times he had resigned himself to never writing another word about Prescot and Kregen, until the Germans approached him in a little cafe in Brighton during Seacon. He confessed to me that perhaps he had taken it a little easy in his latter years, he had a little twinkle in his eye, doing more gaming than writing, enjoying life with the mates.

    He thought I could write, he had read my letters and small pieces, and the Gdoinye replies. He encouraged me to embrace the craft. He was amused at my supplement to Book #1, talking about the impending doom of Zim of Antares. He said he had never thought of that, he just liked the colours, and the anti-Barsoom aspect, but it was a great part of the story. He said a good SF writer runs with whatever he has. He showed me his portfolio of ideas, how he took clippings and photocopies, and turned that into parts of the story. He stole the Prescot logo from an apparel shop in the heart of the Wells. Amusing. He explained how “Total Fem” evolved into Todalpheme, one of his Kregish in-jokes.

    So although with his illness the family took control of his works, and Savanti Press was no more, I thought I would take a stab at some organic writing. I wanted to throw out some of the writing ideas that Ken and I had talked about in my two visits and interviews. I’d write him a full length pastiche in his style. Partly I wrote it as a Christmas present, to thank him for all the joy over many years. I thought that if I could give him some of that amazing feeling as a teenager to see the next Prescot installed propped on the shelf, to perhaps hold
    a mirror up for him, it would be worth whatever followed. Partly it was to illustrate where I think we could have gone with the series. I knew I would take some shots from his family, it would probably upset them. I dubbed it Prescot #54, to salute the stroke and #53, and it adds up to nine, the sacred number of Kregen.

    So in #54 in threw in every idea I could think of, every ludicrous thread ending, every concept we talked about. He’d said that for every mystery solved, you need to create two more, that is how you keep the readers coming back. He wanted everyone to understand he did not know the answers himself, until that point of the story when he wrote about it. At some point Prescot would be left alone by the Star Lords. Would his destiny go beyond theirs? How could we end the series satisfactorily for the fans, yet leave that writer’s “hook”? That the road goes every on? Could Prescot be called upon for one last herculean task, at the end of a long career.

    As a result, Star Lords of Kregen was born. I blew up Zim. Kregen needed to be moved in a hurry. Prescot encountered Ryder Hook as a method of cross-marketing his other series. He even runs into the six characters from the Scorpion Crown, an RPG adventure Ken and I hoped to create, leading to more role-playing adventures on Kregen. Ken was a huge Tunnels&Trolls gamer, and wanted something better than the Beneath Two Suns adventure that had come out years ago. I also put forward the idea of a Grand Cycle, so Prescot and co. could start a fresh set of adventures across the Universe, as the lifeboat Kregen
    acquires fresh races. I wrote it in six weeks, using the organic style that Ken had
    talked about, channeling Prescot.

    I knew it would irk the family. Larry is a good family man, a great son to his Dad,
    but had inherited no particular writing talent. Pamela made a point of criticizing it on how poor it was english-wise etc. etc. I had already figured that would be the outcome. All that missed the point on what Ken and I had talked about in being a writer. Ken many times talked about how his turgid prose had often been brutalized by editors. When he mentioned control, it meant that he was very careful in the early books, keeping both the writing and the storyline very tight. He got a little sloppier with the plotting and the sprawl of the series in later books, I got that sense from publishing the few manuscripts I did. I thought he wrote beautifully, given the swashbuckling nature of Prescot. He said the colour was in the words, or ought to be. He had always stayed true to the cadence, tone and beliefs of someone born in 1775. That was my minor contribution to the later retranslation of the missing manuscript.

    Just before I clambered back on the plane for the last time at Gatwick, I called Larry to mail back the flat keys I had forgotten. He confessed that his Dad had absolutely loved the book, reading whole passages to the family over Christmas. Larry wasn’t going to tell me. I was okay with that. I hadn’t expected feedback. I knew that I wouldn’t see Ken in the flesh again. More strokes and his other ailments would finally take their toll.

    All Ken had said to me was it needed more. He wanted more. Read the rest of
    the books to #52, and perhaps flesh it out to a trilogy. He got it, the family didn’t. He really wanted to pass on the writing torch to future generations, that meant a lot to him at the end. No, #54 was not a masterpiece of english prose, I could probably recraft it to be a lot better read now. But it was true to the writing ideals that Ken and I had talked about. Was it -the- answer? No, it was -an- answer, one of several possible outcomes to the story. That was the point, not even Ken knew where Prescot would go without writing about it. That was the true secret of Kregen. Ken knew I had committed no egregious sin as a writer.

    So could I rewrite Starlords of Kregen into a trilogy? Probably. Mayhap as the
    old sailor would say. I’m retiring shortly from the day job, so time I will have. I will leave that up to the fans. It might be interesting to see if we could have a fan-vote on where to go with the series, even talk to the family about it. The point is is it generates interest on the Internet, and is a marketing point for Ken’s works. He wanted his family to benefit from it, his sole legacy to them. It remains a great story. I’d like to see it get optioned for a movie, if we had had the funding that John Carter of Mars received, I think an amazing adventure could have been told. Prescot and Kregen still remains to my mind the finest planetary adventure of the genre.

    So farewell my Old Dom. Thank you for all those years of inspiration for a troubled teen. My Opaz shine on you. I will join you on the Astral Plane someday, and perhaps we will go rip-roaring on an adventure together–Hai Jikai! And a brass toc on the onker on the right!