I have decided to de-publish Children of the Empire. It will no longer be available on all platforms in a matter of days.
Children of the Empire is an odd one for me. I had the idea for it years ago. I think it was The Forever War by Joe Haldeman which planted the seed of the idea. About 3/4 through that book, the soldiers (I think, this is all from memory) have some kind of force shield which stops anything travelling over a certain speed. In order to get through it, the natives use arrows or metal darts or something that travels at subsonic speeds.
I knew about halfway through writing Reclamation that [spoilers]I wanted the Kaygryn Empire to win the war for the Milky Way, [/spoilers] and the Kaygryn Empire's use of personal force shields was a way of setting up an new, more baroque, Dune-esque galaxy in which swords and other melee weapons were necessary because ranged weapons had become obsolete.
Rather than write an entirely new canon and build it from the ground up, The Art of War trilogy seemed like a convenient springboard to launch this new universe. But actually I came to dislike the connection with the old "UN-iverse". I found writing the book a slog, and lost all motivation about 2/3 of the way through.
I took a few months off with the intention of completely shelving the idea, but I loathe leaving things unfinished and I had a second wind a little while later. However, I still felt writing the book was a bit of a grind. I think especially the Ansovald storyline suffers for this; it loses coherence towards the end, and it isn't suspenseful enough. The ending itself is rushed, and all storylines end in cliff hangers of one form or another. I personally hate it when a story ends in a cliffhanger (Hyperion, by Dan Simmons, was a masterpiece until his horrendous non-ending almost completely ruined it for me) so I'm not sure why I chose to do it. I think I just wanted the story done and published.
The point is, I've never been completely happy with Children of the Empire, despite the fact that I think it contains some of my best writing and most interesting, engaging characters. If I were to do it again, I would set it in its own universe and probably rewrite most of the last third. It also probably needs to be about 20-30,000 words longer.
The upshot of all of this is that I've taken the difficult (but in my mind, correct) decision to de-publish it. On numbers alone, COTE is one of my lowest-selling books (hardly surprising, given it's the sequel to a trilogy), so this shouldn't affect many people. For those of you who have read it: I apologise profusely for disappointing you. Please treat the book as non-canon. There will be no rewrites or sequels in the mid-long term future. I'll not say never because, as I've said above, I actually really like the first 2/3 of the book; but best to assume it is completely dead and buried.
Any questions or comments please feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, thanks for reading.