Shine Cycle Précis: The Alliance

The Alliance is the second planned novel in the “Game of Life” sub-series of the Shine Cycle, following The Invasion. Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned work.

The scene is again Earth in the mid-term future, a half-century or so after the events of The Invasion, nearing the turn of the twenty-fourth century, and the main and point-of-view character is again Alice Hansen, also known as Alatumbra, an SCA enthusiast, linguist, and fledgling mage.

The tentative logline for The Alliance is:

When Gondolor returns to Earth, seeking to resume his plans of world conquest amid a population that doubts his earlier visit even happened, apprentice mage Alice Hansen, also known as Alatumbra, and new allies must travel to England and journey through mythic settings to recapture him.

The intervening years have brought changes to the culture of Earth, and especially of the United States. The United Nations has recently been dissolved, in the aftermath of the Sino-Australian War, which also led to “implanted digital assistants” falling out of disuse because in the war they had been turned against their owners. The first successful colony on Mars is a few decades old. And earlier in the century, an Artistic Revival saw public and critical tastes return to more representational and less “avant-garde” styles.

In most of the world, no one but conspiracy theorists denies the existence of what the public still insists on calling “magic.” But after all these years, outside the United States growing numbers of people—and by now many governments—doubt the “official story” of what happened with Project Lycanthrope, and deny that anyone from another world has ever visited Earth.

The startup that had taken a government grant to develop the werewolf genome decades before is now a long-established company, known for far safer “products.” For example, it sells (genetically-engineered) griffins as pets and decorative-but-functional guards. Alice Hansen is still (or again) working there part-time, in the marketing department, as well as in the Alliance embassy in a similar position.

Our story begins with the news that Gondolor has escaped from prison and is on his way to Earth, bent on revenge and (again) conquest. Alice Hansen is again appointed liaison to the Alliance military forces stationed on and around Earth, and the country and the Alliance begin preparing for their enemy’s arrival.

Gondolor somehow sneaks past the orbital defense line, which was at somewhat diminished functionality because the United States was due to launch a new station in mere weeks, or perhaps due to a failure of communication because Alice is off-world for a conference, and takes over his old castle again. But before the army can break through its defenses, he escapes again and flies to Europe.

Alice follows him there, negotiates with local leaders (who have been denying that these off-planet enemies and allies even exist and that applied metaphysics is more than tricks and fabrications) for permission for allied troops to join her, and calls those in to attack Gondolor’s local base.

As the battle is becoming particularly heated, something disturbs the working Gondolor has been weaving, and the fabric of reality underlying the battlefield is turned inside out; Alice and many of the soldiers find themselves in something like Fairyland. With their help, she goes to great lengths to set things right and get back to Earth. Along the way she also meets with an emissary of an alien race who unexpectedly arrives, and arranges for further more regular diplomacy.

When they return to Earth, they resume battle to enter Gondolor’s base, using weapons or artifacts they gathered along the way. They search the base, and Alice does battle with Gondolor directly, eventually capturing him.

Following that climax, Gondolor is again sent off to prison. Alice is formally tested as a journeyman mage, and the United States enters into a formal alliance with Elvida.

Do you have any thoughts about my plans for The Alliance?


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