Title: Marshal Law (Book One)
Author: Adam D. Jones
Available as: paperback, e-book, kindle unlimited
Marshal Law is a fantasy story that takes place on a frontier world. An oppressive regime rules the land, patrolling the endless desert with ruthless sandships, but the frontier finds the strength to fight back when a rugged band of survivors discovers a forgotten source of magic.
If you enjoy Stephen King’s THE DARK TOWER series or Brandon Sanderson’s ALLOY OF LAW, then you’ll be right at home with MARSHAL LAW.
Q & A Interview With Adam D. Jones
This is a fantasy novel…but it’s a little different. Tell us about that.
Marshal Law is a fantasy story, but it looks like a western. It takes place on a world with two suns, which makes most of the planet a dry desert. So it’s a magic story set in a frontier world.
How does magic work in this frontier world?
Strange stones can be found deep underground, and there are various ways to coax power out of them. Some use these stones to build powerful machines, but there are rumors of men using them to perform wondrous deeds.
What’s your favorite part of Marshal Law?
The characters. I love the setting, the picturesque western scene, the dual suns and endless deserts, but the characters who fill the story really stole my heart. Early on, our hero meets a scientist named Dawn who’s run away from the Republic. She’s a genius who can turn the villain’s machines around and make concoctions that do amazing things. Really fun character. Then they meet a boy named Raine who’s on the verge of a breakthrough. His whole life he’s believed he could revive the old magic, even though no one’s ever taken him seriously.
Tell us about your protagonist, Marshal.
He just wants to enjoy his quiet life with his wife and kids, but good stories never let anyone get away with that, do they? Marshal has to leave his family to fight the war, but he ends up playing the role of a father figure to the motley crew that gathers around him, holding them together while they battle to save the frontier.
Is Marshal Law the start of a series?
I’ve got three books planned. The sequel, “Desert Raine,” should be available in the spring. It’s coming along great. Marshal Law does a good job of setting the stage, so in the sequel our characters can further explore the magic and the machines and really push the boundaries of what they know about their world.
Sounds like Marshal Law is a story with a unique setting. Is it similar to any other books?
Anyone who likes Stephen King’s Dark Tower series should find themselves right at home. Same goes for Sanderson’s Alloy of Law. It’s fun to be writing at a time when fantasy stories are finding new settings, because, even though there’s plenty of steampunk books with magic thrown in, I can feel like I’m writing something new and not always following another author’s trail.
Did you have to do any research to write about this new world where your story takes place?
A little. Most fantasy stories don’t require research since we just tend to make up whatever we want, but I really loved the idea of a planet with twin suns. I did just enough research on binary star systems to make sure the idea would work. Apparently, two suns would probably make the planet a very dry place, so most of Marshal Law takes place in a desert environment. Only a few spots on the continent benefit from nicer weather. Grass and trees are a rarity enjoyed by the wealthy and elite, but Marshal’s revolution may change all that.
And how can people buy Marshal Law? What formats will it be available in?
It’s live on Amazon as a paperback, an e-book, and for anyone with Kindle Unlimited. Check it out!
About The Author:
Adam D. Jones, M.A., is an author, anthologist, and medieval historian from Paris, Texas. Outside of the Marshal Law trilogy, his publications include historical essays, board games, a well-reviewed collection of short stories (THE LOST LEGENDS: TALES OF MYTH AND MAGIC), and an upcoming epic fantasy series called THE LAND WITHOUT KINGS.
Keep Reading For An Excerpt Of Marshal Law!
Marshal trudged across the pier toward the looming ship and tried to not to think about his orders. He uncrumpled the paper and scanned the neat handwriting again, praying he had misread something, but the words were as hopeless as before.
He stepped on the gangplank, hanging his head, when something along the boardwalk caught his eye. Marshal froze, one foot still planted behind him on the dock.
A woman made her way along the pale, wooden beams, looking out to the ocean with a smile warmer than either of the setting suns. She turned his way for a moment, glancing at Marshal with her coffee-colored eyes, before returning her gaze to the endless waves.
His thoughts returned to his orders, which promised to take him a long way from here. He wouldn’t be traveling on one of the Republic sandships, the steel behemoths that crossed the desert with their strange alchemical engines, but on a normal sea ship, the kind bursting with sails, rope, and rigging. The waiting ship bobbed up and down in the water, moving the gangplank in a beckoning pattern under the toe of Marshal’s boot while the woman on the boardwalk set down her travel bag and leaned against a post.
Sometimes, you have to take risks, came his father’s gruff voice.
Marshal stepped off of the gangplank, stealing a glance at the pair of officers waiting for him on deck. They still hadn’t noticed him, so Marshal made his way along the pier, then straightened his shirt as he headed toward the civilian side of the docks. He shoved the crumpled paper into a pocket and clasped his hands behind his back.
She turned toward him when he came near, tilting her head to take in his tall, stocky frame. Women did that sometimes. Marshal felt his stomach clench tighter with every step.
“My name’s Marshal,” he said, smiling just enough to look confident. It was a mystery to him how other men managed to talk to women so easily, but starting with his name seemed like a safe opening move.
She extended her hand and Marshal stared at it. During that long moment of hesitation, he felt his confidence abandon him, and he nearly turned back. Everyone always wants to shake hands.
“Ah…” He fiddled with both hands, still hidden behind his back.
“I’ve already seen your hand, Mr. Marshal.” She kept her hand out. “I noticed it when you were nearly on that boat.”
“Ship,” he corrected, regretting how arrogant it sounded. He reluctantly extended his right hand.
It didn’t hurt, not since he was a child, but he still hated to see the deep scars running from his fingers up to his elbow, because they always reminded him of the look on his mother’s face when he’d fallen in front of that wagon wheel. The bones had healed, thanks to the doc’s bucket of healing salve, but the deep cuts had hardened into scars. Marshal knew enough to be thankful he was in one piece, but just once he wanted to meet someone new without having to wave his ugly hand at them.
“I’m Erianthe.” She squeezed his hand in a greeting. “You know, no one’s perfect, Mr. Marshal.”
He already liked how she said his name.
“What brings you to the sea?” Marshal had heard of people starting conversations this way. He was prepared to bring up the weather if this failed. I may have a bad hand, but I’m gonna play every one of my cards.
“Never been.” She gestured toward the water. “I’m from up north, where it’s all trees and grass. For five years, I worked, scrimped and hid away my coins, just so I could see this for myself.”
They turned their attention to the ocean while Marshal frantically searched for something else to say. “And what’s next?” he finally asked.
“I’m out of coins. Tomorrow I go back home. Maybe I’ll work and save some more.” She sighed. “Then see something new in another five years.” Erianthe glanced at his right hand, and he realized he’d been trying to push it out of sight. “Don’t be ashamed…not of that, anyway.” Her eyes rested on the military insignia stitched onto his vest. “Marshal…is that what people call you, or is it your rank?”
He smiled. “It’s both.”
“And you don’t mind? Isn’t it a little strange to be known as a military rank?”
“Why shouldn’t I be proud? No one from my village ever got to be an officer before. And I lead thirty men.”
Her eyes grew sad. “Do you work against the Lodi? Is it true you send them to camps and force them to work in the capital?”
“No!” He blurted it out before he could think. “Not me. I’m a man of—” Marshal shut his mouth so quickly his teeth hurt. He set his jaw and turned away from her, tightly gripping the boardwalk rail.
You’re a stupid, stupid man, Marshal. And you’ve got a really big mouth. Only moments ago, Marshal had been desperate for something to say, and now he’d gone and said too much.
The woman inched closer, speaking low. “I’ve heard whispers…that some soldiers secretly help the Lodi? Show them how to escape?” Her eyebrows rose, waiting for his response.
Marshal huffed. If people in the northern cities knew that a few Republic officers were secretly helping the Lodi, then Marshal could assume everyone on the continent had heard. Just a matter of time before the Sovereign himself is knocking down my door to put me in chains.
“I suppose someone might do that. Not anyone I know.”
“Of course not.”
A smile danced in Erianthe’s eyes, telling Marshal his secret was safe. They stood next to one another and watched the waves, and Marshal felt the muscles in his shoulders relax while he listened to the sea. Only after spilling his secret to this woman did Marshal realize how much he’d been wanting to talk about it.
Erianthe, eyes closed, stood against the wooden rail and leaned into a growing gust of wind that spread her hair out in every direction. She glanced at Marshal through scattered locks and laughed at herself, and Marshal realized he was laughing along with her. Apparently, all I needed to do was stop talking.
Nearby, a captain leaned overboard and rang a bell to get everyone’s attention. “North coast! North coast! Last call!”
“Isn’t that where you’re going?” Marshal asked. “You should’ve boarded already!”
She turned her head toward the ship. The final passengers hurried to board while sailors untied the gangplank from the deck, preparing to take it up. “I’ll have to find another job when I get home. And there’s no one waiting on me. But I don’t think I have a choice.”
I know how you feel. Marshal thought about the military ship and its long shadow. So far, his missions against the Lodi had been simple, transferring prisoners or finding their hidden settlements, and with a little creative paperwork he’d always managed to help the Lodi get away.
But Marshal wouldn’t be in command this time. His job was delivering orders to a group of superior officers who would watch his every move while they led the crew. And, if the rumors were true, the crew was preparing to wipe a Lodi settlement off the map. All they needed was the coordinates.
Coordinates written on a scrap of paper in Marshal’s pocket.
Marshal clenched his fist, felt the scarred fingers pressing into each other while rage built up inside of him, and he promised himself his orders would never reach the ship, no matter what he had to do.
Not to mention, I’m not going to spend the rest of my life just daydreaming about this woman.
The cynical side of him wondered if Erianthe could be a spy, sent to root out a Lodi sympathizer, but he couldn’t make himself believe it. And the confident leaders of the Republic had never bothered with subtlety and espionage.
Marshal fished the note from his pocket and uncrumpled the paper, looking over it one last time. “Erianthe, I don’t want to get on my boat either…and I’ve got enough coins to get us both somewhere else. Maybe somewhere neither of us have been.” Her forehead gathered lines, and Marshal realized he’d been too forward. “Nothing crazy. Just one trip. Somewhere close.”
“Just one trip…” Her eyes wandered.
While she considered the idea, Marshal unshouldered his pack, set it down, and glanced behind him. No one on the Republic ship was looking his way. He unbuttoned his military vest and held it over the railing, and Erianthe’s eyes widened when he dropped it into the water. They both peered over in time to see an incoming wave grip the vest and drag it out to sea. Feeling a bit lighter, he wadded up the paper that held his orders and tossed it out to the next wave.
Marshal lifted his pack and slung it over his shoulder. “Help you with your luggage?”
Erianthe’s mouth had fallen open, but she regained her composure and picked up her travel bag by the wooden handle. With her free hand, she pointed a finger at Marshal. “Just one trip, Mr. Marshal.”
He shrugged. “Just the one.”
Turning their backs to the Republic ship, they strolled toward the civilian piers, where captains stood atop their high-rising decks to bellow out final destinations and boarding calls. Beyond them, the twin suns blended into the dawn, their pink outlines barely visible as they neared the horizon.
“Won’t someone come looking for you?”
“Let ‘em look. Sometimes you have to take a risk.”
My name is Marshal, he mused, and I am a man of peace.