The wars of the future will be fought not by men on horseback, not with lances or with cannon or with ships, but with weapons fashioned from the very stuff of creation.
Scholars of military and international history have long held the destruction of the British Empire’s 4th Skyfleet above the pirate town of Liberty in 1866 to be the first recorded use of modern aetherweaponry and to constitute a turning point in international and interdimensional politics.
The pertinent documents, declassified in 1958 and compiled here in a new edition, are not only an invaluable resource for the interested amateur, but also a fascinating tale in their own right, revealing as they do the story of Captain George England’s hitherto secret work for the Aethermatic Operations Executive, his infiltration of the now legendary aethership Shadowless, and his final confrontation with the historically controversial pioneer of militarised aethermancy, Samuel Hardinge.
In these times of social unrest and multiversal upheaval, the events of 1866 have a new relevance, and it is our hope that the modern reader will find this narrative as pertinent as it would have been a hundred and fifty years ago.
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.
He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.
He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.