The Origins of - The IX
I undertook the writing of The IX following a lively and opinionated discussion during a veterans reunion dinner in the early part of 2013. Military history has always been a hobby of mine, and several ex-Royal Marine colleagues started a debate as to the fate of the legendary lost 9th Legion of Rome.
A legion was a mighty edifice. More than five thousand strong, they were a self-contained mini-civilization on the march, capable of building an entire fortification at the end of every day’s journey in which to sleep soundly.
And yet, they marched into the swirling mists of Northern Caledonia (Scotland) sometime between AD100 – 120 (Estimates vary, which is a mystery in itself) and were never seen again.
That conversation stayed with me for several months until I happened to catch an old movie on TV, entitled, Millennium. In that film, time travelers visit the present day and steal passengers from doomed aircraft with the intention of repopulating a barren world of the future.
I am an avid science fiction fan, and the conversation from the reunion dinner immediately sprang to mind. Obviously, I began to imagine what if?
What if they were taken? Not into our future...but somewhere and somewhen else entirely. What if their antagonists were also snatched away with them? Obviously, it would create a cauldron of fomenting tension, especially if these adversaries were thrown together in a situation whereby they were forced to work with each other to survive an even greater peril.
I started to let that idea develop, and then came up with an even better twist. How about including other groups of refugees from several other time periods, and throw them into the same nightmare scenario?
It took a great deal of research and preparation, but I chose a US cavalry unit from around the time of the presidential elections of 1860, as that was a period of great interest to me.
Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln was juggling growing pressure between various state governors and congress regarding the issue of the Native American peoples. So, I simply invented a secret peace proposal between him and certain tribes from the Plains Cree nations. Of course, this ‘treaty’ would also be compounded by an ongoing internal conflict between the actual clans themselves, all of which would add to the simmering uncertainty.
Into the stew, I introduced a straightforward anti-terrorist Special Forces team from the near future. That was easy, because of my military experience.
Overall, it was a lot of work, but I was very pleased with the resulting outline, as it provided a fresh approach to what many have felt has become a stagnating genre.
Each unit brings their own particular strength to the story.
Roman legions were renowned for their tenacity and adaptability. They worked and operated under all sorts of conditions in all sorts of theaters around the world. There simply wasn’t anything else like them in the world at the height of their strength. As such, Marcus Brutus and his men bring that dogged resilience to play. Their honor doesn’t allow them to give up. Which is just as well, for they face an enemy that refuses to quit.
The US Cavalry unit brings the gritty determination of temperaments forged at a time of expansion and exploration. They had to be rugged and enduring to remain effective over vast distances. They never knew what to expect. Just the thing you need when death lurks at every turn.
The Special Forces unit posses a unique perspective. Highly trained and motivated, they are the epitome of controlled, lethal aggression. What they can’t attain by strength, they achieve by guile. In battle, they will not stop until their objective is secured. They prove brutal adversaries against an unstoppable foe.
Forged in death, the Ninth Intake becomes the very instrument Arden needs to save her people at their darkest hour.
Sometimes, we face hurdles in life that seem overwhelming. Then something bigger and nastier comes along that makes you realize, wow, my problems seem so small. In the IX, former enemies who hated each other with a vengeance are thrown into a situation where their choice is really simple. Forget your former animosities, and pull together against a greater enemy…or you simply won’t survive. Being a military veteran who has seen action in a number of theaters around the world, it’s a premise I pondered on for quite a while. You know…what would I do in a situation like this? Remembering some of the people I’ve had to fight against, would I really be able to put aside my feelings and concentrate on staying alive, especially if it was against a relentless, remorseless nemesis who wanted all life extinguished?
The survivor in me answered the question quite easily…Hell Yes!
As the tagline of the IX says, Fight or Die!
As the tagline of the IX says, Fight or Die!