In Emergence, the first novel in the Dragon Witch trilogy, the planet Eco has recovered from a catastrophic inter-planetary invasion and life has returned. The Northern Lands are now split by the Great Rift (formerly the British Isles) and is a Garden of Eden amidst the barren Outlands. Human life has also returned and learned to live with nature, refusing to return to the old ways.
All of this changes when dragon witch Caia Esvane detects a point of light travelling across the sky. The escape pod contains a dying man. Squadron Leader John Mack is in stasis, a survivor of the great war that followed the planetary invasion many thousands of years earlier. He is not alone – a huge survival city remains on the sea bed, and emergence will soon follow.
This is City 5. 17,000 years earlier, seven undersea cities came into existence to survive the invasion. Shaped like a starfish and feeding off natural resources, the ever-growing city provides home to over thirty thousand people. City 5 is not a happy place. The city is sentient, with its own agenda and ambitions. An autocratic elite led by matriarch Hedra Darke rules with an iron hand, repressing and controlling. Strict laws govern the many sects including age-limits, and the Lawkeepers make sure it stays that way. Lucas Venn is Hedra’s favourite. He is an ex-gladiator and holds the Freedom of the City for his many kills. Lucas regrets every one of them. The city ejects dissenters into the ocean where death is instantaneous.
At the top, Dynasties struggle for power. The most privileged consider themselves to be eternal gods and rejuvenate many times. Sects in C5 hold differing beliefs about the surface, but all agree on two things. That none can live there, and they are the only survivors from the invasion.
The sects of City 5
Feelers live in the darkness of the lowest levels. Blind and possessing unusual gifts, feelers exist on waste and thrive on the ecosystem within the ventilation systems. Lawkeepers maintain order, Drones do the technical and dangerous work. Apart from the Royals, all other sects have a specific life-span. The discovery of the survival pod acts as a catalyst in many different ways.
The Royals discover the Rift with its forests and mineral deposits, and its supposedly primitive peoples. They see no beauty – only resources to be exploited and slaves to do their bidding. They resolve to return the planet to how it used to be, with giant cities and endless wealth, ruled over by the strongest dynasty. Knowledge of the impending changes – called the Emergence – disrupts the city, unleashing beliefs and the desire for freedom amongst its peoples. The Dynasties fight for control of the new world as the city itself reveals a secret agenda.
The Land of the Dragon Witch
The surface is not all that it seems. The great war did more than destroy the old world. It changed nature and left behind an alien technology beyond understanding. The clans that live in the Rift and the Outlands, and the ruined Machines are linked to the planet in ways the City dwellers cannot comprehend. These include dragon kind and the Magda Stones, an alien relic from the invasion. The Great Tree is the strangest of all, a mystical one-eyed giant sleeping below the Rift. Caia Esvane’s embittered father banished all dragon kind, and the world now awaits the coming of the new Dragon Witch.
The peoples of the Rift and the surrounding Outlands will unite to face the new threat. After much debate they choose Caia Esvane to lead the fight, as her Dragon Witch powers grow stronger. To make matters more difficult, she has encountered Lawkeeper Lucas Venn – an inhabitant of the city sent to the surface to collect data – and knows they will be together. To realise her full powers and become Dragon Witch, Caia must pass a series of tests and question her beliefs. Ultimately, to save her own world she must bring back dragons and summon the planet itself to help destroy the city.
Emergence is much more than a clash of cultures. It follows the lives and fates of families caught up in an unjust war, and concerns the battle of beliefs – magic versus technology, progress versus sustainability, love versus hate. The sects from the city and the Surface clans must fight and die for what they believe in, as the full power of the Dragon Witch is finally revealed.