a science fiction novel
by John de Lancie and Tom Cool

SOLDIER OF LIGHT is a Pocket Books novel, published in hardcover in October 1999, and subsequently offered in paperback and electronic editions.

The Story

The Earth enters a region of the universe called a "sphere of being," one of a series of concentric spheres of stress in space-time caused by the Big Bang. Inside a sphere of being, the laws of physics are different. Most of the effects are mental. Some minds develop psychic powers, while others grow increasing dysfunctional.

Owen Keegan, a sculptor, and his wife, Kate, a nurse, attempt to escape from the growing madness of the world by going to sea in their ketch, Nepenthe. They take with them their daughter, Constance, who is autistic.

An alien, the One, who has inhabited the molten core of the Earth for hundreds of millions of years, begins to emerge as the Earth enters the sphere of being. The One decides to exterminate the human race.

The minds of Owen, Kate and Constance begin to change. The story concerns their struggle to understand their new selves, to save one another and to confront the One.

Cover of the hardback edition of SOLDIER OF LIGHT, showing Jon de Lancie's face.

How the actor met the sailor

I co-authored this book with the actor, John de Lancie (or JdL, as I like to refer to him). Jim Baen, who bought and published my first novel, INFECTRESS, recommended me to Bill Fawcett, a writer and packager of books. Bill was looking for a SF author to team up with JdL. I was attracted to this project because I always enjoyed JdL's work, especially when he played Q, the omnipotent trickster of the Star Trek series. Before committing to the project, I did some research on the Web about JdL, and they way he talked about writing in several long interviews convinced me that a collaboration with him would be a serious artistic endeavor. Bill flew me up from Panama to Burbank, where he, JdL and I spent four days developing the story ideas for SoL. JdL and I then spent the next eighteen months communicating via email until the book was finished.

Most collaborations are difficult. Some SF pros will say that a collaboration is twice the work, not half. My experience with JdL confirmed my initial impression that he would approach this project with a keen intelligence, a fine aesthetic sense and a solid artistic integrity. Fans of JdL will understand the following observation: when you see JdL's face in character, there seems to be a whole world brooding and living on the other side of those eyes. Well, having collaborated closely with him over such a long period, I'm here to tell you that there is indeed a lot happening behind those eyes. While working with him was challenging, it was also richly rewarding. We're both proud of SoL, a book that neither of us could have written alone and that could only have been written by the two of us.

As a sample passage, I've included a scene in which Owen's brother, Harley, begins to rise in his powers as the city of San Francisco goes somewhat berserk.

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Copyright 1999 by Bill Fawcett & Associates, Inc.