Book Spotlight – Prelude to Sorrow – Sci-fi

Title: Prelude to Sorrow

Author: Andrew p. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Main character descriptions:
Marcus Brutus. General of the 9th Legion and Field Marshal of the combined taskforce.
Samuel Pell. Captain, Royal Marines and commander of the Special Forces contingent.
Jake Rixton. Captain, U.S. Cavalry. OIC of the mounted brigade.
Gul Shaní:  Deputy Magister of the Senatum of Arden.
Psi Calen: Chief Scientific Advisor of the Senatum of Arden.
Va-ákil: Supreme Magnate of the Kresh (Horde).
Altás: Prime Catalyct – Battlemaster – of the Primus Host of the Kresh.
James Houston. Turncoat and murderer. Onetime officer-in-command of the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Rifles. Now a Horde changeling.


The task force dispatched from Arden to eradicate the Horde menace failed, and for those few left alive, the tenet by which they have survived for so long resounds as never before.

Fight or Die!

Now marooned, out of time and out of place, the survivors lick their wounds and struggle to recover while the Horde gathers their strength for a final strike that will change the course of history forever. The fate of the galaxy – and more – hangs in the balance.

But fate, it seems, isn’t done with the Ninth, and our heroes find themselves forced to mount a last-ditch attempt to end the threat once and for all.

Will the darkness be vanquished, or will our heroes’ efforts finally signal the beginning of the end of their adventure?


Brief Excerpt 250 words:

A deafening cry split the heavens and boomed across the savannah. He looked up and saw what could only be a huge bird in the sky, roaring a challenge that twisted the fabric of everything he held dear and caused every other living creature lurking around the watercourse—both friend and foe—to flee in mutual panic.

Instinct took over, and the entire clan stampeded back through the reeds in a mad dash toward the welcoming protection of the jungle.

The alpha risked a quick glance over his shoulder at their nemesis.

Wings as voluminous as clouds and pregnant with fulgurous discharges blotted out the sun. A monstrous beak and unbelievably large talons blazed like a furnace, searing his eyes and baking the ground where they passed.

Morbid dread froze his heart, and as he watched, the awful thing belched fire and cleaved in two. While the bulk of its mass fell on prey to the northeast, the vehemence of its thermogenic gaze continued on toward his troop, shrieking of death and retribution.

He screeched, and the tribe increased its pace.

Moments later, he could hear his family crashing into the undergrowth. He had no doubt they’d be paying scant heed to the thorns scratching at their faces or the twigs yanking out divots of hair.

Safe now?

His concerns were timely.

Thunder pealed and the ground shook. A sweltering exhalation swept by, igniting leaves, bushes, trees, and exposed fur alike.


Why should readers buy this book?
The story of the “Lost” 9th legion of Rome has been a matter of conjecture for centuries, as well as the subject of countless works and two major Hollywood films. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the truth of their disappearance was explained here, in all its bitter glory?


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Book Links


Amazon UK


Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and criminal law graduate, he is the creator of the internationally acclaimed IX Series and Hell Bound & Hell Hounds (novels forming part of Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.


Character Interview Number Twenty Six – Lex Fox – Sci-fi/historical

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s)

Lexington Fox – but everyone calls me Lex.


Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was a first lieutenant with 1st Platoon, 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Rifles Cavalry, under the command of Captain James Houston. Originally from Boston in Massachusetts, I enlisted on my twentieth birthday, July 3rd 1855.

I must admit, I enjoyed serving as an army officer, and the only thing that blighted my life were the circumstances leading up to my death in 1860…on earth, anyways.

Our unit was selected to complete a special mission on behalf of Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln. Little did we know at the time that our commanding officer’s cousin–Governor Sam Houston of Texas–had arranged the entire thing to support his conspiracy among a number other southern state governors to form their own breakaway confederacy.

Anyway, our supposed task was to escort Princess Inuck-Shen, daughter of Chief Blooded Chin of the Blackfoot tribe, into the Bitterroot Mountain range in Kalispell, Montana. Once there, we were to hand her into the safe custody of her husband-to-be, Snow Blizzard, self-styled Chief of all Cree nations.

It was doomed to failure, for if the wedding went ahead and peace between the plains peoples was forged, it would have strengthened Lincoln’s position in the House, especially against those dissidents who didn’t like the way the war of attrition with the native American peoples was developing.

As it turns out, Snow Blizzard was in on the plot too, and together with a number of other tribes–AND Captain Houston and his ever present lapdogs–he set about hunting us down in an attempt to wipe us out. Of course, the blame would have been put squarely on those tribes sympathetic to Lincoln’s agenda.

It looks like Houston got his way, and I often wonder if our great nation ever split as he intended.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.

A cross between Brad Pitt and Jude Law.
Would you die for those you love?

I didn’t get much choice. Although I died doing the job I loved. My father was a colonel in the 2nd Company 1st Mounted Rifles, and like him, I have a strong sense of duty. Dying for what you believe in is the greatest way you can honor those you serve with, and the great nation we strive to protect. In my case, I’ve been given a chance to do that all over again on Arden.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strength lies in the fact that I have a strong sense of honor and duty. Give me a task to accomplish, and I’ll always strive to complete it to the best of my ability.
As to my weaknesses? Perhaps, it’s trusting others to have the same high standards I do. My presence here on Arden proves there are too many dishonorable backstabbers hiding behind a uniform…and that’s not right.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why

Hey, I’m only twenty-five and I’m in the saddle for most of the time. But now we’re on Arden? Who knows, there are a surprising number of women here. They’re tough. Strong. That’s because they’ve had to learn to adapt and survive. I can’t think of a better kind of person to settle down with. So we’ll see… J

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?

Yes I can. I was nine at the time, and my own father was on leave from the army. We went to visit his brother, Uncle George, out at Fort Smith in Arkansas. While we were there, a huge group of Plains Indians came into town to trade. It was the first time I’d ever seen any of the Native American people up close, and I found them fascinating, and much friendlier than I was led to believe they’d be.
As a treat, my family went to watch them hunt horses. I saw some of their braves chase after a colt on foot. They kept running and running. It was incredible. I thought, one day, I’ll get to work with people like this and hopefully learn something of their traditions. They were so free, and in harmony with their surroundings, it made me appreciate how much we could learn from them.

Do you have any phobias?

Men without honor. I won’t have them in my company.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I can bend my thumb back until it touches my wrist. An absolutely useless skill if ever there was one. Oh, and I can lasso a fly at twenty paces.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

As I’m sure some of the other guys have already said, Arden is a beautiful. It’s like earth in many respects. Vast sweeping grasslands. Mountain ranges. Forests. But the colors…how can I say this. They’re off. Just when you start to relax, this place reminds you it’s not really home, especially when some of the critters jump out to say hello. They’re not used to humans, so they’re not afraid of us.
Only last week, my patrol were taking a break and enjoying a coffee, when this woodpecker type bird swooped down, perched on the rim of my cup, gave me a “who do you think you’re staring at?” look, and then proceeded to wash himself in my beverage!
I couldn’t believe it. Even when I tried to shake him off, he just kept at it until he was good and ready. Then he jumped down, took his good time preening his feathers, and flew away without even saying thank you. That’s Arden! Shame the Horde spoil it!

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?

As you can imagine, travel is difficult because of the Horde. Thankfully, we’ve got a large supply of bullets to keep them at bay. I love riding out into the Sengennon plains. It reminds me so much of Oklahoma

Name and describe a food from your world.

This is probably getting quite boring for you, as I know you asked some of the other guys this question. But, everyone – and I mean everyone – loves the rhobexi. God, what a taste. However, I also enjoy provat. It looks very similar to our sheep, and tastes like pork mixed with beef.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)

There’s no real politics here. We’re all survivors, and most of us are from one form of military service or another. That’s spilled over into our everyday way of life. It’s strange really…there’s a disciplined aspect to the way things are done, but, everyone is entrusted with the responsibility to fulfill their respective duty. So in one regard, everything is quite relaxed. I like it. If it wasn’t for that idiot, Houston, I think everybody would be happy.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?

I come from the nineteenth century. From what I’m told, I lived at a time leading up to a technological explosion on earth…but I guess I’ll never know now. Anyhow, as you can imagine, coming here is like living in a dream. We stick to our own group and methods, especially when we’re out on patrol, but once were back in Arden, wow! It’s like the best of both worlds…My particular favorites are the food dispensers that can serve multiple meals all at the same time, and the sickbay. Life in the saddle can be quite hard, and it’s a refreshing change to be able to heal the niggling injuries we pick up in a matter of minutes. Awesome in fact. J

Anyway, thanks for asking me about my life. You must come and visit once we’ve got the Horde under control. Things will be much more relaxed then and perhaps I can show you around?


Bye for now,



Author notes:


Book(s) in which this character appears plus links


The IX


Author name:

Andrew P. Weston

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Amazon Author Page:


Character Interview Number Twenty- Five – Marcus Brutus

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s) Marcus Brutus

Age: Thirty-three.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I was the Triari, – Prime Centurion of the First Cohort of the Ninth Legion of Rome (Hispana), until death took me in the bleak Highlands of Caledonia. As the highest ranking officer to survive, I received a field promotion to General, something I would have preferred to earn by merit. However, by Pluto’s grace, I appear to have impressed those in power, here on Arden, for I was promoted onto their council with the rank of Sub-Commander.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. I am not concerned by appearances. However those from the centuries ahead of me, tell me I look like a cross between Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas, whoever they are? Hopefully they were warriors of high repute?

Would you die for those you love? Of course. My love for Rome and for my brothers is without peer, and rightly so, for the life I led did not leave room for a family. Now we are here and building new ties, we must begin again. Life is precious, and so are those we fight to protect.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? My strength lies in the fact that I never give up, no matter the hurdles I might encounter. Only the strong survive, and I am determined to outlive any who would endanger our safety.

As to my weaknesses? Perhaps it is also my resolve never to give up? I must learn to come to terms with the fact that much now rests on my shoulders. I have more to consider than just personal pride and resolve. My decisions affect others, and the future of an entire new race. Inevitably, this will mean I have to learn to walk away, and come back to fight another day.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why Besides the Legion, my best friend, Flavius Tacitus, is the closest thing I now have to a true brother. He was Decurio of the Legion – what you would call the cavalry officer – until his transference here. Now he serves as my second-in-command.

Unbelievably, I also find I am developing closer ties to some among our former enemies of the Iceni tribes. Cathal MacNoimhin and Searc Calhoun in particular. They are fierce warriors, who, despite their uncivilized ways, have a strong – if somewhat strange – sense of honor. I was astonished to discover how skilled  they were in battle, and the fact that they would fight to the death, rather than let a man die alone. Remarkable!

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I’m from a long line of warriors. As a boy, I was brought up on honor and tradition. One of the first things that made a strong impression was how people treated the former soldiers of the First Legion Germanica following their disbandment for cowardice during the Batavi revolt. They became pariahs within our communities, outcasts who were shunned and forced to live as outcasts in the wilds.

I vowed that when I grew up, I would never shame my family in the same way. Death before dishonour! Strange, how I ended up keeping to those tenets, only to discover death was only the beginning of my adventure.

Do you have any phobias? Cowards. I hate them with a passion…along with those who refuse to carry their own burden.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I’m a rather good cook…even if I do say so myself. Years in the field help you make the most of limited ingredients, and it’s true to say, an army marches on its stomach. If you don’t learn to make even the blandest of foods appetizing, well, you won’t last very long. You ought to see what I can do with worms, garlic and eggs!

Apart from that? I love gardening. It must be something to do with enjoying the peace and quiet of watching what you’ve planted grow before your eyes. (A most welcome distraction from endless conflict).


Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

As I’m sure you’re already aware, Arden is a world situated a long, long way from Earth. On the far side of our galaxy in fact. (I have learned of such things after I arrived here).
A strange place, for it reminds me in many respects of Gaul in high summer. Endless plains, sprawling forests, and rich wildlife just begging for the hunt.

My dream was to retire to Gaul one day and start a family.

It looks like I might still get to do that, although many millions of leagues away from my original choice.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Travel is difficult because of the demon Horde. Nevertheless, I seize whatever opportunities I can to take Starblaze, my horse, for a run. He’s a fine stallion of impressive Arabian stock. Black as midnight, with a white sigil upon his forehead. Trained for battle and as surefooted as they come.

I know some among our colony like their hover crafts and other futuristic devices, but I prefer the feeling of being connected to my mount as I journey out into the plains surrounding Rhomane. It reminds me I’m alive.

Name and describe a food from your world. Everyone loves the rhobexi here, a fine and robust animal with a taste that reminds me of venison. My personal favourite, however, is yithan. Its appearance resembles that of a gazelle, or particular varieties of mountain goat back on Earth. Tastes the same too, and is particularly fine when roasted over an open fire.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) The form of government here is currently what you’d find in many military regiments, although much more relaxed. A necessity as we face an everyday battle for survival. But in the past, it appears the Ardenese people had a system much like we used to find at home.

From the viewing devices I have witnessed, they had a Senatum, magisters and prefects. Even their main cities posses a similar ring. My men have often wondered if the Ardenese people ever used their vast flying machines to swim the stars to seed distant worlds with the concept of culture and politics. Earth among them, perhaps?

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? I come from the first century, so everything here stretches the imagination. For example, I am only able to converse with you now, due to the presence of tiny mechanical devices in my blood. I have been told such things are called, “Nano-bots”. They saturate my system, and allow me to learn at a vastly increased rate, and enhance my ability to communicate in different languages – Ardenese and English included.

It seems like magic, to me? Things I cannot see, or feel, working away inside me to produce tangible differences. But there you go. I suppose we must accustom ourselves to such changes, for there is no going back.

Now we are here, the one thing I can’t do without is Starblaze. He reminds me of who I am, and where I yearn to be.
Thank you for asking me about my life. I’d love to assist you further, but must be away to oversee the Legion as they go through their drills. Modern or not, this society needs warriors who can fight. Men with spirits of steel. And now we’re here, I must ensure the Ninth remains the backbone of their new, emerging army.


Good day.


Author notes:


Book(s) in which this character appears plus links


The IX


Author name:

Andrew P. Weston

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Amazon Author Page: