Forewords to the Hèl's Crucible duology:

Book 1: Into the Forge
Book 2: Into the Fire

Foreword to Into the Forge

Events are like stones cast upon waters: they make an immediate splash and waves ripple outward in ever widening circles, diminishing as they go. Significant events, like large stones, sometime send waves great enough to engulf those immediately in the path, perhaps to completely overwhelm them if they are not far enough removed from the event. Sometimes the stone is so very large as to affect the entire world (as the dinosaurs literally discovered).

It depends upon the size of the stone and its entry velocity as to whether the initial wave is enormous or minuscule. Yet whether we sink or swim does not necessarily depend upon the magnitude of this initial wave, nor, to a great extent, our distance from it, for the water is full of expanding ripples, some large, some small, all commingling, reinforcing here, negating there, and several tiny ripples can combine a half world away to cause a great effect — a butterfly effect — just as other waves great and small can completely nullify one another.

This tale is about stones cast upon waters and the intermingling of waves.

Dennis L. McKiernan
August 1996

Foreword to Into the Fire

Throughout my lifetime various tales I've read are about people with special powers or abilities, or about people who believe they are ordinary, yet they are really sons or daughters of royalty or wizards or other such and are hidden away in some obscure place where the powers of evil will not think to look. In these tales, suddenly they are thrust into the thick of things where their powers or uncommon abilities or heritage will prove the linchpin to all.

These are not tales about common people thrust into uncommon situations and struggling to meet the challenge; instead they are about uncommon people with powers and heritages and abilities, and you know darn well they will meet the challenge and crush it.

Rather than such a tale, I wanted to write about ordinary people who find themselves caught up in events they neither control nor have any special heritage or power or extraordinary abilities to resolve. In other words, I wanted to write about common "soldiers" who must struggle with things as they happen, "common" people in uncommon situations who may or may not have the ability to rise to the challenge.

This tale is about Tipperton Thistledown and Beau Darby, two "common" Warrows caught up in events not of their doing. They are not hidden royalty, not mages, not folk with extraordinary abilities, extraordinary powers, extraordinary brains and wit; instead they are mere common soldiers, assuming of course there is such a thing . . . common people caught up in uncommon events struggling to soldier through.

Oh, perhaps they do have an extraordinary thing going for them . . . and that is uncommon heart.

If there is such a thing as a common soldier's tale, then this is it. Yet is there such a thing as a common soldier?

You decide.

May you enjoy what you find herein.

Dennis L. McKiernan
July 1997