Welcome to Mark Iles and his A Pride of Lions!

For those of you who like thrillers, mysteries, suspense, science fiction and pirates (can't forget the pirates)-- A Pride of Lions is for you. Mark Iles' novel from Solstice Publishing has just gone live on Amazon. Additionally--for a limited time only it's FREE!!!

Oops! Almost forgot the buy link!

Book Blurb: 

When Selena Dillon is caught in an assassination attempt on her planets ruler, she finds herself sentenced to 25 years servitude in mankind’s most feared military force, the Penal Regiments. Much to her surprise she enjoys the harsh military life and is quickly selected for officer training.

But something’s wrong, worlds are falling silent. There’s no cry for help and no warning, just a sudden eerie silence. When a flotilla of ships is despatched to investigate they exit hyperspace to find themselves facing a massive alien armada. Outnumbered and outgunned the flotilla fight a rearguard action, allowing one of their number to slip away and warn mankind.

As worlds fall in battle, and man’s fleets are decimated, Selena is selected to lead a team of the Penal Regiments most battle-hardened veterans, in a last ditch attempt to destroy the aliens’ home world. If she fails then mankind is doomed. But little does Selena know what fate has in store for her, that one of her crew is a psychopathic killer and a second the husband of one of his victims.

Can she hold her team together, get them to their target and succeed in the attack? Selena knows that if she fails then there will be nothing at all left to go home to.

Read and excerpt from A Pride of Lions . . .

The scene of Selena’s first pirate engagement:

As planned, Selena kept the full details to herself until the very last moment. Sitting in her chair on the bridge, she turned to her navigating officer and said: “Joe, change course. I want you to jump to these coordinates.”
            “But, our course is already laid in, as per our pre-planned route.”
            “You have your orders, Navs. Carry them out.”           
            “Yes, Ma’am.”
            “Selena,” Sharon said, rising to her feet from her station on the left and turning to face her. “You can’t do that. As Joe said, the course is all laid out, we’re committed to –”
            “I’m your Commanding Officer, Lieutenant,” Selena snapped. “You’ll call me ‘Captain’ when we’re on the bridge. Don’t ever question my orders again. For your information, we’re committed to nothing. As the ship’s Commanding Officer I say what goes, not you or anyone else. Now, engage stealth mode and jump!”
            Moments later they came out of hyperspace and simply sat there, dead in space.
“Both ships are on station as ordered,” Sharon reported, “stealth mode is engaged.”
“Good,” Selena said, sitting back and eyeing the front view screen. “Let’s see what happens next.” She leant forward and checked her controls. The camouflage systems were working well. Micro cameras picked up what lay around them in all directions and displayed it on the opposite side of their shields, making the vessel virtually invisible from any direction – all one could see when looking at them was what the cameras were replaying from directly behind them. Their low radar signature also prevented the ships from being picked up on scanners. If they were detected the signatures would be minute and it was likely they’d be dismissed as a very small piece of space debris. To all intents and purposes they weren’t there. Strict radio silence ensured they didn’t give themselves away, so it was just a case of waiting to see if the rats came to the cheese.
            Eighty minutes later they could see the Hyperions engines shining brilliantly at sub-light speed in the distance.
Then Norma looked up suddenly. “Five contacts, Captain, closing fast. It doesn’t look like they’ve seen us either. Small ships and well armed by the look of them. They’re hailing the Hyperion, and telling her to hove to or be fired upon.”
Victory and Vampyre slid behind the approaching pirate vessels and lined themselves up. They waited for a while to see what would develop and when the pirates repeated their demands Selena came to a decision.
“Weapon systems ready and locked on,” Guns reported.
“I want the two middle ships captured, aim for their generators. Destroy the others. Fire all weapons when ready.”
“Very well, Captain; firing.”
Sun beams lanced through the night, taking the pirates completely by surprise and slicing through the two lead ships’ generators. A pair of missiles coughed away from the Vampyre towards each of the other pirate ships, impacting in brilliant balls of flame; Victory followed suit. Two of the vessels immediately burst into brief clouds of fire that were quickly extinguished in the cold cruel vacuum of space, debris scattering in all directions. Explosions blossomed on the third target, and she drifted mortally wounded for a moment before Vampyre fired again and she was obliterated.

Author Bio: 

Mark works for Southampton University, and also as a freelance writer. His short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Auguries, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Right To Fight, Escape Velocity and Monk Punk. With an 8th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo he’s also written non-fiction for Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, profwritingacademy.com and calmzone.net.
His first full length work was ‘Kwak’s Competition Taekwondo’, and he also has a short story collection entitled ‘Distant Shores’. ‘A Pride of Lions’ is the first in ‘The Darkening Stars’ series. Having written features and fiction for over 30 years Mark applied to do an MA in Professional Writing. ‘Pride’ had been bouncing around in his head for some time, and he seized the opportunity of the MA to produce this first novel as part of the course. Mark says it’s without doubt the best choice he’s ever made, as it really focused him, and that getting this novel accepted is the perfect conclusion to a wonderful experience. He’s now focusing on the second book in this series, ‘The Cull of Lions’.

Other Good Reads from Mark: 
I, for one, am going to go download A Pride of Lions right now. I'm also thinking the Taekwondo book would be perfect for my double second degree black belt husband. Admittedly, he practices Tang Soo Do and Hapkido, but he's interested in all things martial arts. I'm betting this weekend will see us in the theater to see Grandmaster! 


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