Turn, thou bloodier villain than terms can give thee out.
I was always fascinated by the character of Macduff, the hero of Shakespeare's Macbeth. At the end of Shakespeare's play, everything has more or less worked out for everyone except the guy who actually killed the tyrant Macbeth-- there's a new king, sure, but what of Macduff? His family is still gone, the country changed forever. I thought about this a long time, and then I started to write a book about it.
I had lots of names for the book: "Macbeth 2," "Macduff." I think I actually submitted the book under the unwieldy title "The Earth Hath Bubbles," a reference to a line in Macbeth. (And amazingly, it still sold to Baen Books.)
This was years ago-- in fact, the book called The Iron Thane was the first book I ever published, and it sought to tell the story of what happened to MacDuff (I spelled it with a big D like the MacDuff Society) after the play, and since I prefer adventure stories, you'll be shocked to know that what happened was exciting and magical. The villain? The Erl-King of German legend. Macduff has to lead an alliance of humans, vikings, little people led by Oberon and Titania of Midsummer Night's Dream, and some intelligent animals against an army of bird-winged elves who plot to steal souls.
Would it surprise you to hear that Macbeth finds a love interest among the immortals?
I followed Book 1 up with a second MacDuff adventure, The Spawn of Loki, in which the Norse god Loki revives at Mont Saint Michel and threatens to bring about Ragnarok, the Norse Apocalypse. By then I was hitting a stride. Then I went to law school. Eventually the rights came back to me, and there the books sat, in a drawer, so to speak. It took many years to start writing books again, with a new series.
This week I've released both books in "The MacDuff Saga" on Kindle. If you enjoyed Alex Van Helsing or something else I wrote, and are waiting for Voice of the Undead, this is a good time to catch up on my first hero: MacDuff, the Iron Thane.
Give them a read-- I've priced them both at $3.50, and I'd love to hear how MacDuff, Thane of Fife, holds up as a hero.