My first book, The End of Winter, is now published, and available at Amazon:
I would very much welcome comments about the story here! A brief summary appears below.
In 2808 AD, humanity has achieved faster than light travel, and has explored thousands of light years away from Earth. Many other races have been encountered, but the Earth Space Force is clearly the dominant military power in the region. However, there are pirates and renegades of many kinds that plague space commerce, and the ESF has primary responsibility for suppressing them. As the story begins, Commander Curt Jackson of the ESF is commanding a squadron of fighters searching for renegades. When he finds them, he discovers his own squadron is hopelessly outnumbered by smaller, faster ships, and he begins to prepare for the worst. Suddenly, an enormous unidentified vessel joins the battle, and the tide turns in favor of Curt’s squadron. For centuries, there had been rumors about an ancient race just beyond the boundaries of known space. The people of Earth are about to meet them.
The opening scene in 2808 is on the edge of the region of space known to the Earth Space Force. The first few centuries of human exploration of the galaxy included many encounters with other intelligent civilizations, but only a small fraction of them had achieved faster than light travel. As the ESF pushed the boundaries of the Earth sphere of influence thousands of light years away from Earth, the number of mid-tech civilizations continued in one direction away from Earth, around the disc of the galaxy, with the number of spacefaring civilizations actually gradually declining.
The trend in the opposite direction of exploration was entirely different. People had theorized for generations that the density of advanced civilizations would be uniform around the galaxy radially, with an increasing density toward the center. Not so! There were clearly a decreasing number of civilizations in one direction, and an increase in both number and level of sophistication in the other. The further out the ESF explored, the more widespread and specific the rumors became of an ancient empire that had receded many millennia ago.
As the level of technological sophistication of the planets increased, the level of believability of the rumors declined. The Ancients weren’t just one species, but dozens of them. Their ships were enormous, with impenetrable shields, and incredibly powerful weapons. They were rumored to be able to obtain speeds in excess of several light years per hour! Their expansion seemed relentless, until they were beaten back by some terrible, mysterious force. The humans mostly ignored these fantastic stories, but when they got several thousand light years away from Earth, the rumors became too pervasive to ignore. There were even first hand reports of live contacts with the Ancients!