A sweeping adventure from an author with a history degree.
Mike McClellan writes the kind of large-canvas historical fiction that you see on brochures in your local travel agency, and he does it with an oceanic imagination. There’s money and sex and power, clashing egos, loyalty and mutiny, heretics and rebels. It’s a book of epic victories and shattering defeats, love lost and won, life-saving and death-defying acts of survival.
The setting is an alternative Earth roiled by war and conquest that mirrors our own Gilded Age. But this time it’s beserite, not oil, that ignites greed and folly. A young and inexperienced nobleman and scholar, Peter Harmon (think of a Winston Churchill-like naif), joins an expedition to stake his nation’s claim to a global empire.
But when he learns that the staff that will unite his world is located in the driest and most forbidding part of the vast desert, he knows he’s in trouble. It’s there that he’ll meet the Prophet Mamet, a tyrant who rules the Seven Cities and has his sights set on the ultimate prize—a mystical staff of Ram, Lion, and Serpent.
Selena, meanwhile, is unaware that she’s one of the lynch pins in a centuries-old prophecy that will lead to the overthrow of the current government. Thrown headlong into the conflict, she’ll have to use her razor sharp instincts to rally her people in the eye of a gathering storm. With the mythic structure of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and the world-building of George RR Martin’s Westeros, The Sand Sea is the kind of immersive reading experience you can sink into like the relentless sand of the vast desert.