New Dystopian Sci Fi Novel – Jon Darke

I began thinking about Jon Darke a couple of months back when I had laid Tree to rest. I needed to write something that was not on a global, epic scale, instead focusing down on a more personal narrative. And ended up with this ‘dystopian sci fi’ novel.


Isoland is a vast, circular expanse of darkness, desert, storms and suffering, centred on viral research for the weapons and biotech industries. Separated from the rest of the world (the ‘Outside’) by an insurmountable wall, the test subjects are convicts from the outside world, or captured from the simple tribes of outcasts scattered amongst the enclosed mountains. Unlike the Outside, the tribes have learned how to live harmoniously with their harsh world.

Homested, the biotech farm at the cente of Isoland is ruled by the Vorna Dynasty. Heidi Vorn, fifteen-year-old daughter of oligarch Maxim Vorna, learns of a boy who is uniting the Isoland tribes with golden words and magical deeds.

The magister

Known as the Magister, the boy appears to have other strange qualities, including an apparent resistance to the plagues used to control outcast populations. Heidi is sent with Maxim’s troops to capture the boy for research. Tragedy follows as he is taken and imprisoned, leaving Heidi deeply troubled. She names him Jon Darke.

Jon grows into a powerful and resourceful young man, forced to survive in the brutal conditions of Homested. Heidi remains fascinated by him, but Jon blames her for his suffering and the deaths of his adoptive parents.

Maxim is both curious and fearful of Jon, and develops a strange relationship with him as teams of scientists try to discover his secrets. Amica Bright, leader of the scientists also falls for Jon, but her love is cruel and his rejection of her turns love to hatred. In return, Jon tries to teach Maxim the truth of life, but his words and actions are wasted.

The Outside

In the Outside, the fight for remaining resources and viable habitats has led to viral war, and incurable sicknesses cause many deaths. Maxim is given orders to create a new weapon and turns to Jon Darke, but Jon’s growing powers already divine what is intended, and he mysteriously escapes from Isoland, heading for England. The threat of Jon falling into enemy hands is too great a risk, and death squads are sent in pursuit, led by Amica.  Heidi tries to persuade her father that she can find Jon and bring him back. When he refuses, she too leaves Isoland and follows him to London.

Jon finds a world being destroyed by greed and it is not long before he has a following. When Heidi arrives at the airport, everyone is talking about the mysterious stranger and the magic of his words. She sees an advertisement for a television interview and manages to get invited, watching from the audience. He is asked if he is Christ reborn. Jon knows nothing of such things, but he does know that the interviewer’s daughter lies in a coma, and tells her the child will recover. Soon after, the child awakens. At the end of the interview, an attempt is made on his life as a bomb explodes and kills many. Heidi escapes with Jon and persuades him to hide with her.

During that time, Heidi realises that she loves him, and begs him to stay with her. Jon cannot remain in hiding and leaves Heidi. He is able to cure children where others have failed, and his teachings are being listened to around the world. Soon, vast numbers of people are demanding change and sharing all that they have. Jon is a threat to the world order. More governments want to understand the source of his power, and Heidi cannot find a way to see him.


In the finale to this dystopian sci fi novel, Jon travels to the Amazon. He is determined to save the last few indigenous peoples, and persuade world leaders how much they need to change. Heidi’s father makes contact with her, asking her to help save Jon. She joins with Maxim’s squad and travels with them, but learns Amica’s true intent. She plans to execute Jon as he gives a world address, broadcasting from within the burning forest. Heidi has one chance to save the man she loves, if she can persuade him to abandon his cause.

Demonic Tree – story of a major rewrite

It was time to visit an earlier effort, the fifth novel in the Drakul series. It had always felt that Tepesch Drakul was in some ways unwelcome in that narrative, which concerned a future London dominated and terrorised by a monstrous demonic tree that emerges from the Natural History Museum. The Cazash Tree is part fungus, part animate and needs to escape Earth to continue its expansion, but to do so requires the sporing, using infected humans as disseminators of male spores.

The demonic tree has an army of followers addicted to its deadly sap (‘kine’). The tree is an offence against Nature and soon enough a champion is resurrected by nature goddess Annan, in the unlikely form of druid and mage Myrddin Wyllt. Myrddin must use ancient magic to defeat the Tree. He will be helped by seven heroes. These include Hama, the woman who originally caused his death at the hands of a fanatical monk, a hell-hound and a 17 year old blind gunslinger named Swift.

Many of the Nature loving Edenists living in the forests surrounding London become infected by female spores and are changed to become living spore-bearers. They serve the will of the Tree, trying to prevent Myrddin. Ultimately, they are doomed to die when the sporing comes. However, two of the heroes are ‘gifted’ children – possessing powerful magic, the result of the apocalypse.

Fortified towns are hidden within the forests, containing relict civilisations. The former city of Guildford is one such town, run by the De Veres. Obsessed with securing the Gifts, Gwynne De Vere kidnaps gifted children to experiment upon. However, she is also destined to become one of Myrddin’s followers, alongside two of the bough runners (servants of the demonic tree). These are Swift, a blind gun slinger, and the mother who abandoned her.

Myrddin’s quest is to secure the magical symbols with which he can summon a demon capable of defeating the Cazash Tree, but the demon in question is far more dangerous than that, and it does not come alone.

By the end of the novel, the planet is faced with a new future and must choose which direction to take.

Very topical these days.

Dragon Witcher Trilogy – 3rd book Ouroboros Finished!

I was really pleased with the way that this third and final(?)episode of the Dragon Witcher Trilogy played out, with the distant past and the present coming together to build a new future (hence the name Ouroboros, which I have trouble spelling btw). It stretched me as a writer, which what I was seeking.

A good novel seems to write itself and I was swept along in the narrative, which gave the primary characters scope for development as they faced new challenges. Leah Esvane realised her true Dragon Witcher powers in travelling back in time to change history, but in a good way. The biggest surprise at the end was the revelation that she was pregnant, and we can expect her to give birth to another girl, or possibly the first ever Dragon Warlock. But I was also sad to be leaving the planet Eco and the characters I have learned to love or tolerate, but that’s writing. I will wonder about the dragon witch lineage and the future world. Hopefully no more undersea cities appear and they can resume their sustainable lives.

Followed by…

When I completed Ouroboros, it gave me time to revisit an earlier novel and to give it a complete makeover (Demon Tree). The rewrite also changed the focus and tightened up the storyline, with wise direction from John (Jarrold).

Rewriting an existing novel turned out to be a bigger endeavour than taking an empty page, but it needed doing. And now I have no excuses for not getting stuck into latest idea Jon Darke, other than tinkering with this web site obviously.