DARK HISTORY by Jeffrey Bardwell (author of The Knight's Secret)


Many sources swirl together within an author's head to shape the overarching theme in a long form narrative and The Knight's Secret is no exception. Theme isn't usually conscious at first: it arises from the depths of your mind like Excalibur, guided by the wet, icy hand of your muse in lieu of The Lady of the Lakes. Now, many reading this will understand that allusion because we share a common history. I was inspired by that history and a nasty recurring pattern I saw there. Now, I don't claim my book will break the pattern or even warp it a little. Time is a wagon wheel, and we're all tied to the damn thing as it goes round and round again. However, the crushing cyclical nature of history does not magically rob those living through it of their free will.

There are numerous parallels between our mundane world and my dark little fantasy realm. Oppression comes round time and time again like a wheel rolling through different versions of the same putrid puddle of muck. You may have been reminded of stories of the parading auto da fe, the nightmare of the Holocaust, the cruel political machinations of McCarthyism, or the recent draconian changes to American immigration policy. Whenever those in power encourage bigotry and oppression, using a minority demographic as a scapegoat to distract the populace from the regime's own glaring flaws, we the people have three options within the confines of society and law: wink at the regime, turn a blind eye, or let the rage bleed from our eye sockets.

I bleed from my fingertips instead. We all fight oppression in our own way. Some wave placards. Some give speeches. I write books. I would be lying if I said that was the sole source of my inspiration for this series, but it played a large role, and writing these words has been very cathartic. I won't waste time repeating that old saw about those who ignore history and history repeating itself. History will repeat itself century by century on a scale of civilizations whether we acknowledge it or not.

The smaller scale of day to day human lives is more malleable, but I do not wish to dictate how you live your life. I only ask that you ponder what you've read. I seek to pose questions. The most relevant question is this: What will you do with your turn of the wheel when it splashes through the filth?


About the Author

Jeffrey Bardwell writes epic fantasy with elements of darkness, steampunk, and romance set in the Metal vs. Magic Universe. His character-driven books are guaranteed to include gritty realism, political intrigue, lurid entanglements, dry wit, and dragons in differing proportions. He devours fantasy and science fiction novels and is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove. When not writing, Jeffrey enjoys cooking, gardening, and shooing baby dragons from the compost bin.

The author lives on a farm and in a prior life worked as a community ecologist. He is overfond of puns and alliterations. He is also an unabashed history and mythology enthusiast and would love to hear from you.


About the Book

The Knight's Secret
(The Mage Conspiracy #1)
by Jeffrey Bardwell

Sir Corbin, retired Hero of Jerkum Pass, rides for honor, glory, and his pension with the aid of a magic ring. The knight’s mission takes him to the capital of the Iron Empire. The city is in an uproar. The emperor has been slain by rogue mages. The new empress is livid. Soon all mages are suspect . . . including Corbin’s daughter.

When Corbin dies on the eve of the mission, his granddaughter Kelsa dons his armor and his wrinkles to save her mother. Hidden behind the magic ring, she infiltrates his old regiment. The army has become a slithering nest of vipers. Imperial mages and cavalrymen move warily around each other. Both sides snare the disguised hero in tight coils of suspicion, politics, and lies. When the vengeful empress launches a vendetta against all mage kind, Kelsa must decide whether to save her family or preserve the empire.

Unravel The Knight’s Secret, the first fantasy adventure of The Mage Conspiracy series. Discover a world of lurid entanglements and political intrigue where lies cut deeper than any sword.