2010-03-25: MilSciFi.com interviews Marshall S. Thomas, author of
the military science fiction novel, Cross of the Legion, book five in the
Solders of the Legion series.
MilSciFi: "Welcome back. Please tell us about
your latest novel."
Marshall: "Thank you, Mike. Cross of the Legion is book five of the
Soldier of the Legion military science-fiction series. The series consists of six books: Soldier of
the Legion, The Black March, Slave of the Legion, Secret of the Legion, Cross
of the Legion, and Curse of the Legion.
The first five are now in print, and the last one, book six, will be
published very shortly. There is also a
full-cast, unabridged audio CD of the first book, produced by Timberwolf Press.
The dialogue is read by 22 voice actors amidst wild sound effects and distant
spooky music. It's quite a production,
and is regularly broadcast over XM Radio.
In book five, Cross of the Legion, the war-weary Legion trooper
Thinker is forced to abandon his family when his old friend and comrade Tara
goes missing during a raid by the alien Omnis.
His lover the sorceress Moontouch predicts a titanic struggle to the
death for the future of humanity. The
spidery Os, skilled telepaths with superior weapons and a taste for humans,
have long been the scourge of the known universe, yet as Thinker hunts for Tara he discovers there is a terror that even
the Omnis fear. An ancient killer is coming for everyone, human and Omni alike,
and the only chance to stop it was obliterated more than two thousand years ago."
MilSciFi: "What inspired you to write this
Marshall: "Book four, Secret of the Legion,
ended with Thinker breaking rocks in a Legion stockade, vowing never to involve
himself again with Tara.
I couldn't leave him there, and I wanted to show that you cannot avoid
your fate. By book five, Cross of the
Legion, Tara was a high-ranking Legion official and
once again in need of her favorite attack dog Thinker."
MilSciFi: "Will the ending of book five lead
directly to the opening of book six, Curse of the Legion?"
Marshall: "In Curse of the Legion, six years
have passed since the harrowing events described in Cross of the Legion. The galactic situation appears to have
quieted down, but it is only the calm before the storm."
MilSciFi: "Could you please tell us a little
something about book six."
Marshall: "Curse of the Legion will be in
print very soon. With the hated
totalitarian System on the verge of collapse and the dreaded alien Omnis
observing an unexpected truce, veteran soldier of the Legion Thinker has
finally found happiness with his wife Priestess in a cozy home raising his
children and teaching new Legion recruits. It is a dream he never thought
possible, a haven of peace and comfort. It is also short-lived, as a savage massacre
of Outworlder settlers on the Outvac planet Fortuna leads the Confederation of
Free Worlds to an all-out war with the Gassies world Asumara. Only everything is not as it appears, and
soon the Legion finds itself fighting for the survival of its civilization
against a shadowy enemy willing to do the unthinkable to destroy ConFree.
What do you owe the future, and what do you owe the past? In this the final book of the series, Thinker
is confronted with terrible dilemmas involving duty, loyalty, love, death,
courage, and the survival or extinction of his civilization. It is all up to him – and he knows if he
fails, billions may die or be cast into slavery."
MilSciFi: "Does each book in the series stand
alone, or do you need to read the series from the beginning?"
Marshall: "I've written these so that a
reader can pick up any of the books and enjoy and understand it. That said, it is a series and will be more
satisfying if the series is read in order.
The characters grow and change, and the green trooper Thinker of Book
one is quite different from the confident and experienced Thinker of Book six."
MilSciFi: "When you started, way back with
Soldier of the Legion, did you have an overall plan for the series, or did each
book evolve on its own?"
Marshall: "Truth is, in the beginning I just
wanted to write a satisfying, action-packed military science fiction book with
memorable characters and a good story-line.
That was Book one, Soldier of the Legion. Once I accomplished that, I thought 'but what
happens next?' I found I couldn't stop
writing, and I enjoyed taking my characters along on more adventures. I thought it would end with Book five, but no
– there was more to say. That's when
Curse of the Legion was born."
MilSciFi: "Is there a planned end to the
series? Or will it continue as long as the idea is there?"
Marshall: "Book six, Curse of the Legion, is
the final book of the series."
MilSciFi: "Please tell us a little about your
Marshall: "Ridan Publishing is just terrific. It was created last year by Robin
Sullivan. She was tired of dealing with unresponsive publishers
and decided to open her own publishing company.
It is rapidly earning a good reputation with very high quality work, an
unbelievably author-friendly contract, and a growing list of talented
authors. I met Robin and her husband
Michael on the SF convention circuit and signing on with them is the best move
I've made in a long time. Michael is a
fantasy writer who is also a very talented artist. He does the covers for the Legion series."
MilSciFi: "Do events in the real world, past
or present, inspire your writings?"
Marshall: "Of course. I've always been
interested in history, international affairs, and the rise and fall of
civilizations. I was raised overseas and
later worked overseas and have been exposed to a wide variety of peoples,
viewpoints and experiences. My
internationalist outlook was forged in a strong appreciation for my own
country's history and culture."
MilSciFi: "Do you have any other projects in
Marshall: "I'm planning an anthology of the
Legion series with character summaries and illustrations, galactic historical
reviews, Legion training manuals, starcharts, ConFree and Systie handbooks and
propaganda, science and weapons directories, etc. This should be of interest to readers who
have enjoyed the series."
MilSciFi: "Do you have any upcoming author
Marshall: "Yes, I'll be attending Ravencon in
Richmond, Virginia April 9-11 2010, Balticon in Maryland on May 28 to 31 and FantaSci at the
Chesapeake Library, Virginia on June 26."
MilSciFi: "Thank you, for your time."
Marshall: "Thank you for the opportunity!"