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David Drake is one of the major bestseller authors in the American Military Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. Since 1979, he authored and co-authored more than a hundred books, and published many more anthologies and short stories. He worked in collaboration with many writers such as Eric Flint, Karl Edward Wagner and S.M. Stirling.
A Short Bio
David Drake was born on September 24, 1945, to a middle class family in Iowa. David was an avid lover of the written word from a very young age. When he was only two years old, way before he learned to read, he fell in love with a poem from The Big Golden Book of Poetry, “The Chickens”. He liked it so much, that he insisted that his parents read it to him every night even though he knew it perfectly by heart. When David was ten years old, he read his first science fiction novel – The Angry Planet by John Keir Cross – which astounded him both in its ingenuity and its seriousness. Even though it was intended for children, the book dealt with sensitive subjects like war and death.In 1967, David graduated the University of Iowa, majoring in History and Latin, and moved to North Carolina to enter Duke University Law School. However, David’s studies were interrupted in 1969, his second year, when he was drafted to the US military and sent to fight in the Vietnam War.Drake cites his service in the Vietnam War as “The greatest single influence on my life”, and then goes on to add “I wish that weren’t true, but it is.” He actually spent most of his time in Cambodia, as he finished his military training just in time for the invasion of Cambodia in 1970. If not for the war, David says, he wouldn’t have written so many stories about soldiers, battles and the military. As a result, his stories often hold a very cruel mirror to life, describing in great details all the atrocities done by human beings in order to win a war. During the war, he saw a lot of death and pain caused to soldiers and civilians. Some of his books deal specifically with these tender subjects.He lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina, with his wife Jo, whom he met at a young age when studying at the University of Iowa. Together they have one son, Jonathan, born in 1973. David was one the initiators of a small press company called Carcosa, along with fellow writer Karl Edward Wagner.
David Drake’s Best Known Novels and Series
David Drake’s novel Redliners tells the story of the Strike Force Company C41, with their commander Major Arthur Farrell. The company has seen a lot of war, and each of its members deals with their own painful memories. They are no longer fit for battle, but nor do they fit to lead their civilian lives again. When their last mission goes wrong, it becomes their responsibility to protect civilian lives and risk their own like they never dreamed before.David says about Redliners “…What came out in Redliners broke twenty-five years of, well, something…” Refering to his own experience of fighting against a larger than life enemy in Vietnam and Cambodia. He says many people with PSTD (Posttraumatic stress disorder, sadly common among war veterans) have read the book and said it helped them a lot to deal with the pain. Dealing with these touchy subjects is why Redliners is one of Drake’s best and most disturbing novels, some would even go as far as to considers it Drake’s masterpiece. David himself says that in Redliners he was “writing over his head” and that the process of creating the novel had helped him to deal with a lot of stress and trauma he had since the war.
The “Hammer’s Slammers” series is one of David Drake’s best known works. First book of the series was published in 1979, with the same name as the entire series, and is a collection of short stories following the missions of a mercenary armored tank regiment in a fictional war in the 30th century, and their captain Colonel Alois Hammer. David says the series is very much influenced from his own experiences as an interrogator with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Vietnam War. The series contain purely Science Fiction themes like advanced technology and weaponry.
The series contains 10 books, the last one published in 2002, and four anthologies. It has been adapted to many board games and role playing games, and has enjoyed a very loyal fan base over the decades since its first book.
Lord of the Isles
Lord of the Isles is a series of fantasy novels David began in 1997 with the first book – Lord of the Isles. The series tell of an archipelago known in the books as The Isles, and its inhabitant, specifically four young children from a small village in one of the isles. The books deal with one of the children, Garric or-Reise, and his claim to rule the entire archipelago. In the series world you can find many fantastical elements like magic and parallel realities. The series is 9 books long, but is usually divided into two parts – The first six books are called together Lord of the Isles, and the final trilogy is called Crown of the Isles.Garric or-Reise is just a young boy from a tiny town by the seaport. His destiny is changed forever once he saves the life of a mystical sorceress from the ancient past called Tenoctris. Through the first book, he finds out he is the heir to the last great king who ruled over the entire archipelago a thousand years ago, and sets forth on a journey to discover who he really is and reclaim his throne.Sharina is Garric’s sister. She too, on the first book of the series, finds out that she is not just a simple town girl, when a galley lands on the shores of the town with an envoy seeking for the lost heiress for an ancient dukedom, and finding Sharina to be that heiress. Like her brother Garric, she also embarks on a journey to discover her true destiny.
You can get David Drake’s books in many retailers, like Amazon, in either Hardcover, Paperback or Kindle versions.
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