Monday, September 2, 2013

Talented Mark Iles stops by Penny's Tales

A Pride of Lions’ was released on Friday 30th August. Over that weekend it hit two notable highs on Amazon Kindle:

#1: books, Science Fiction, Colonists
#4: books, Science Fiction, military #4

Not bad for a debut novel!

An SF novel with a difference ‘Pride’ looks at criminals in the future and how they might be dealt with. Thrown into the pot is a craving for revenge, a love interest, a psychopathic killer and the desperate battle for the very survival of humanity.

A Pride of Lions – Blurb
When Selena Dillon is caught in an assassination attempt on her planets ruler, she finds herself sentenced to 25 years servitude in mankind’s most feared military force, the Penal Regiments. Much to her surprise she enjoys the harsh military life and is quickly selected for officer training.
But something’s wrong, worlds are falling silent. There’s no cry for help and no warning, just a sudden eerie silence. When a flotilla of ships is despatched to investigate they exit hyperspace to find themselves facing a massive alien armada. Outnumbered and outgunned the flotilla fight a rearguard action, allowing one of their number to slip away and warn mankind.
As worlds fall in battle, and man’s fleets are decimated, Selena is selected to lead a team of the Penal Regiments most battle-hardened veterans, in a last ditch attempt to destroy the aliens’ home world. If she fails then mankind is doomed. But little does Selena know what fate has in store for her, that one of her crew is a psychopathic killer and a second the husband of one of his victims.
Can she hold her team together, get them to their target and succeed in the attack? Selena knows that if she fails then there will be nothing at all left to go home to.

In this scene Commodore Van Pluy is briefing his team on the mission.

At ease,” the Commodore said. “Please, take a seat. For those of you who don’t know me, the name is Van Pluy, and I’m sector head of intelligence. This is Commander Dillon, your new CO. I take it that you’ve all had the chance to study the chips I sent you, and have destroyed them accordingly?”
As the senior officer looked about the table for acknowledgements, Bryn watched the Commander. She was a beauty, with bumps and curves in all the right places. She moved like a cat and when she sat down she looked at them each in turn, before favouring him with a cool appraising gaze that set his pulse racing.
“Sir? Yes, Sir, I’ve read it.”
“Is there something on your mind, Lieutenant?”
“No, Sir; just thinking about those chips.”
“I’m sure. Let’s get back to the present then, shall we?”
Dillon favoured Bryn with a long searching but neutral look as he glanced back at her, before dragging his eyes back to the Commodore as he continued.
Well, as you’ve all studied the information so well I can get straight down to the point of this meeting. You know now that we’re losing this war and that you’ve been selected for a special mission, one that might make a huge difference by destroying the enemy’s home world. What you don’t know is just how bad things really are, and that mankind’s very survival depends on your success. To put it simply, if you fail, we die, all of us. That’s just the way it is. We estimate that at the maximum mankind has a year, most probably less, before we’re over-run. Things have been going badly and the recent loss of the shipyards will seriously affect our build capacity from now on. We don’t stand much of a chance because we couldn’t replace our shipping losses quickly enough before this recent tragedy, let alone find the trained personnel to man them. Now, does anyone have any questions?”
The silence stretched as he looked at them, one by one.
Bryn saw a glimmer of annoyance in Commander Dillon’s face as she suddenly seemed to realise that she’d been staring at him and that a little knowing smile was playing across his face. Kes Phillips had caught the byplay and was watching them both intently. She quickly covered her annoyance and focused her attention on the Commodore.
Van Pluy flicked a switch and continued speaking. “Having studied the chips you’ll know everything we do about the Pilorum system. As you can see, we’ve named the enemy home world Mantis. It’s protected by five moons, indicated here in green. Each of these will have a squadron of at least five interceptors, probably more; thus allowing them to deploy a large defensive force rapidly. Further out there’s a chain of twenty or so battle stations. Their design leads us to believe that they won’t have any interceptors at all. Now these stations are spread throughout their system, but if you look here you’ll see a cluster of six stations close to one of the asteroid belts. You may ask why they would want to protect one of those God-forsaken places. Well, here’s your answer. We got this photograph from one of the RoboRecons, just before we lost contact with it.”
The screen switched to a picture of an immense alien battle fleet, so numerous and with ships so massive and heavily armed that if it sailed there would be no stopping it. The vessels ranged from the smallest of fighters to moon-sized dreadnaughts, each protected by independent energy shields that flared occasionally as they were hit by space debris.
“Jesus wept!” Singh gasped.



Mark works for Southampton University, and also as a freelance writer. His short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Auguries, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Right To Fight, Escape Velocity and Monk Punk. With an 8th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo he’s also written non-fiction for Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, and
His first full length work was ‘Kwak’s Competition Taekwondo’, and he also has a short story collection entitled ‘Distant Shores’. ‘A Pride of Lions’ is the first in ‘The Darkening Stars’ series. Having written features and fiction for over 30 years Mark applied to do an MA in Professional Writing. ‘Pride’ had been bouncing around in his head for some time, and he seized the opportunity of the MA to produce this first novel as part of the course. Mark says it’s without doubt the best choice he’s ever made, as it really focused him, and that getting this novel accepted is the perfect conclusion to a wonderful experience. He’s now focusing on the second book in this series, ‘The Cull of Lions’.


  1. Your story sounds really interesting Mark. Best of luck with it.

  2. Mark, I want to thank you for stopping by today. Your book(s) look fabulous! No wonder you are a best seller!!!