Wednesday, April 30, 2014

EXCERPT: Drake: Emergence by Mike Kraus


Episode 1: Emergence

drake_series_book_1_cover_v1Lost to myth and legend, few believed that dragons were real, and still fewer believed they could ever return. When a covert operation resulted in their release, all the might and power of the world couldn't hold them back. With the world on the brink of defeat, the few who remain must grapple against all odds to combat an enemy that nearly drove us to the brink of extinction once before - and which is about to do so again. From bestselling author Mike Kraus (Final Dawn, Prip'Yat) comes a new, five-book series: Drake: An Oral History of the Dragon War. In what can be best described as "World War Z with dragons," Drake portrays a realistic, scientific history of the emergence of the drakes, and humanity's subsequent battle just to stay alive. The gripping 5-part series will take you around the world, examining the history of the war from all sides: political, military, civilian, scientific and more.

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20130531_mikekrausheadshotProfessionally trained as a Systems Engineer, Mike has been a writer his entire life, spending his summers as a child writing of daring adventures and epic science-fiction exploits in a college-ruled notebook instead of playing video games. That love of writing stayed with him until it finally burst forth in the form of "Final Dawn," a thrilling post-apocalyptic series released in an episodic format that has sold over 70,000 copies and counting. Final Dawn was followed by two other stand-alone books, "Prip'Yat" and "Cold Springs," and Mike's latest work is a new five-part series titled "Drake: An Oral History of the Dragon War." Mike currently lives in Mississippi with his wife and three children and spends his days writing (of course), programming and tinkering on his PC.
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There isn’t a man, woman or child alive today who isn’t intimately familiar with the Dragon War. Though this, the greatest war our civilization has ever known, is still so freshly ingrained in our thoughts and memories, there is still much to be learned. For future generations—and for the completeness of history—it is necessary that a full and complete record be given of the events of the war, or at least as much of one as we possibly can. Many facts and revelations of the war have not been uncovered until now. Many of those that were uncovered in the past have proved to be tainted by lies and the deceit of those who would sooner die than allow the facts about their actions and roles be revealed to the world. Even in this, humanity’s darkest hour, we still suffered, not just from our enemies, but from within. This book is dedicated to the billions who lost their lives during the six years of the war, both civilian and military alike. Through those six years we, our very species, were tested by those who were far more ancient, powerful and intelligent than we could ever have imagined. Yet through it all, we have persevered and survived. The thanks for this survival is not due to those few men who stood in power, commanding millions to their deaths, but to the nameless faces that marched without hesitation into the gaping maw of oblivion, knowing full well of their certain doom. Those who emerged we herald as heroes, and we owe them—and their fallen brothers—our lives and everything we hold dear. As a journalist, I have been intimately involved in this war since the very day it broke out, thanks to the fact that I was attached to the 78th armored assault division on patrol in the then newly liberated North Korea. I was present the day that all hell broke loose, though we did not know at the time that it was indeed hell breaking loose from the bowels of the earth. Over the six years of the war, and the two after, I have spent every waking moment cataloging, researching and interviewing. I have consulted with men and women who were leaders in their fields and those who were at the bottom rungs of society. It is now time to share the full story behind the war, so that future generations may both learn from it and never forget what has been lost. Though all know that the war is over, few realize the sacrifices and dedication that led to the end of it. The many varied cultures that make up the rich tapestry of history on this green earth share as many commonalities as they do differences. Each culture has, for example, its own story of a great flood, stories of lone heroes performing great deeds and stories of gods and of men. Among these stories shared by so many peoples are the ones that speak of terrible reptiles. Some that swam in the ocean, some that crawled on the land and some that soared in the skies above, raining down fire from their mighty jaws. The problem with myths is the same as with stereotypes: there’s often a kernel of truth at their center. You may have to pick and poke and dig to get at it, but you can be fairly certain that something is there, lurking somewhere in the darkness, beneath the tales and the lies that have built up over time. Unfortunately, we poked a hole straight through to the core of one of the most dangerous myths, unleashing the raging kernel that nearly proved to be our undoing. What our ancestors called “behemoths,” “monsters” and “dragons,” we call today “drakes.” They’ve been here for millennia, having last appeared most notably (in Western culture, at least) in the Middle Ages when they tore across the earth like demons from hell. Our ancestors didn’t defeat them, but managed to contain them instead, something that ended up being the single worst mistake our species has ever committed. The leaders of the hive-like organizational structures of the drake species, the queen drakes were crucial to not just the survival and prolific spread of their species, but to the most basic of behaviors of the individual drakes as well. While our ancestors had not been able to successfully kill the queens, the containment of the “brains” of the drake hive mind led to a neurological response in the drones of the various species, making them frightfully easy to dismantle and destroy. So total was the destruction of the species and so well hidden were the queen drakes that, after a few generations, what had been fact slipped into legend and myth.

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