By the end of 2009, I had already decided that I was going to publish The Voyage of the Minotaur myself. I had three fairly popular free books out there– His Robot Girlfriend, and the two Eaglethorpe Buxton stories. So I thought, what I really need is a prequel to distribute free that will drive interest for The Voyage of the Minotaur and subsequent books.
Brechalon was a difficult task, because I was trying to set up what would happen in a year or two before the action really starts. Two of my main characters were at this point fairly uninteresting children and a third was in prison. I decided to focus on the others, so I had the Iolanthe-Terrence-Yuah story line, the Iolanthe-Zeah story line and the Augie story line. In addition I followed Zurfina into the prison. Those decisions brought out a couple of other weaknesses. The most interesting thing about Terrence is his drug addiction, but I couldn’t show too much of it without giving it away, and the most interesting thing about Zurfina is her magic, and she was in an anti-magic prison cell. In the end, I was pretty happy with the story, though I don’t think it does much more than hint at what really is to come in The Voyage of the Minotaur.
One of the big inspirations for Augie’s part of the story, as well as the battle scenes in The Voyage of the Minotaur was the movie Zulu starring Michael Caine and Stanley Baker. I think Augie and Terrence probably owe a lot to the characters in the movie (loosely based on real military heroes.)
Of course, it hasn’t been nearly as popular, even given it’s free, as His Robot Wife or Eaglethorpe, but I have had more than one person tell me they’ve read The Voyage of the Minotaur because they first read Brechalon, so it is serving its purpose.
I really like the new cover. I designed the covers for the series myself, so I take all the blame or credit such as there is.