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The Future of Ethan Gage

by bdietrich on January 27, 2014

Ethan Gage and his swashbuckling family are back in May with a thriller that entangles them in the past and allures them with the future. “The Three Emperors” is the series’ seventh adventure.

This story completes the quest for a legendary medieval automaton, the Brazen Head, which began in last year’s “The Barbed Crown.” Ethan finds that the path to reunite with his family leads through the battlefield of Austerlitz, Napoleon’s greatest victory.

For any readers who felt Ethan’s survival of the Battle of Trafalgar in the last book left some loose ends, “The Three Emperors” ties them up.

This is not the first time the Ethan Gage adventures have overlapped. “Napoleon’s Pyramids” set in motion action wrapped up in “The Rosetta Key,” and “The Dakota Cipher” carried over into “The Barbary Pirates.” “The Emerald Storm” set up Ethan’s initial mission in “The Barbed Crown,” which in turn leads to “The Three Emperors.”

Each can be read separately and out of order, since I take pains to explain the characters and what’s going on. But you should obviously read them all!

The Ethan Gage adventures have been told through Ethan’s first-person voice. This is the first book to give some chapters to his wife Astiza, who is imprisoned in Bohemia, and his young son Harry.

I’ve always had a crush on Astiza, and now that I hear her voice, I like her even more. And what a formidable little boy they have! Must be the DNA.

“The Three Emperors” is also notable in being the last book in the series, at least for the moment. HarperCollins has decided not to continue Ethan Gage’s exploits after this newest book

This was a depressing decision for me. I’ve already done substantial research on an eighth novel, and had very loosely mapped out a total of fifteen books, taking my hero to Napoleon’s ultimate defeat at Waterloo! Ethan’s retirement was unexpected and disappointing.

I’ve learned never to say never in publishing, however, so I’m hoping Harpers may someday change their mind – or that another publisher might step in.

In today’s world, I might also decide to continue the characters in a self-publishing venture.

In the meantime, my current project is to complete a long-delayed young adult novel, a time-travel eco-fable, set in prehistoric Africa. It’s a fun change of pace.

All that lies ahead. What to anticipate in “The Three Emperors”?

Readers of “The Barbed Crown” will recall that Ethan was forced to flee in the opposite direction from his family after Napoleon’s coronation as emperor, and that he later received word that Astiza and Harry were imprisoned in Bohemia.

He is determined to reunite with them by making an end-run around Napoleon’s empire, sailing to Venice to reestablish his finances at a casino. Then he will hunt for Astiza and Harry in Prague.

This being Ethan Gage, his best-laid plans soon go awry, his resourcefulness and courage is called to the fore, and his wife begins to concoct her own plans for reunification and escape. Harry plays a critical role.

Ethan finds himself an unwilling participant at Austerlitz, including duty as a line infantryman. (Some guy named Tolstoy tackled this battle as well.) Our hero becomes allied with a Jewish family. Astiza takes the reader into the world of alchemy, the predecessor to modern chemistry.

It’s all there: castles, towers, mines, a ghetto, caves, rivers, battles, escapes, and a final showdown with characters from “The Barbed Crown.” The paperback publication of that one will occur about the same time “The Three Emperors” is released in hardback and as an e-book.

At the heart of the tale is an ancient machine able to foretell the future. Which raises the question: If we could know what is to come, would we want to?

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Rose January 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Good luck to you on this latest novel, and I sincerely hope you actively pursue all your options for continuing to write and publish the series.

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Rick B. January 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I hope you will consider self-publishing. I am also a fan of Barry Eisler’s books, and he seems to be doing very well for himself going that route.

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Don Powell January 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Tell me it’s not so!
And to think, I’ve been wondering who has the movie rights.
With an Ethan Gage -Keep-going-whether-you-like-it-or-not- attitude, I am sure the series will endure.
Best of luck to you, sir

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cathy January 27, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Hope you continue the series on your own. My husband is a huge fan of all your books. He will be so disappointed when I tell him. He talks about your books and characters for months after he has finished reading them.

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Dan Darnell January 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I would also enjoy continuing escapades. It seems that the bulk of adventures will create a self sustaining and growing following of readers over time as more discover the series.

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Tom January 28, 2014 at 6:44 am

I hope you continue the series as I eagerly await the next chapter in the series every year.

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William Dietrich January 28, 2014 at 9:43 am

Thanks to all of you for the support and encouragement. Write on!

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Jorge Ortega January 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm

As Ethan & family have an amazing way to survive any foe or danger, so this series will continue. I am certain that we will see Mr. Gage walking with Napoleon in Santa Helena or getting in troubles with Bolivar or Iturbide. Such good writing cannot be lost. Harper will see that too. And thank you for the books we read already.

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Keith Ryan January 31, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I just finished “Napoleon’s Pyramids”. I was impressed by the historical details. I will be reading the rest of the series soon. Harper will lose out if they don’t publish the other Ethan Gage novels. I am sure an old fashioned snail mail or email campaigne would have a positive result…write on! I enjoy well researched novels. Thank you and keep them coming.

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Charles Byrne February 2, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Ethan Gage has to be the most enduring hero since Horatio Hornblower! Bravo!!!

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Matt Bohlen February 4, 2014 at 5:44 am

HarperCollins, NO! I excitedly anticipate the release of Ethan Gage’s adventures each time Dietrich writes a new one. I do sincerely hope you change your mind.

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michael u February 22, 2014 at 11:16 am

Please write harpercolins asking for more control of the direction for the Ethan Gage books. The books have brought me back to my love of reading.

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Peter de la Cour February 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I find it hard to believe that your Publisher wants you to discontinue the Ethan Gage novels. Readers look forward to the next installment from their fictional Heroes. Its akin to George MacDonald Frazer being told to stop writing Flashman Novels after “Flash for Freedom”!

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Richard Ellison March 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm

I picked up The Dakota Cipher while looking after my mother who has cancer. That novel hooked me and I consequently purchased the rest of the series, which I completed today. Eager for more I was glad to find I only have to wait a few months to find an escape from the reality of caring for a loved one with a terminal condition. Thank you for many enjoyable hours of following Ethan on his adventures. I do hope you find a way to continue the series! Many thanks!!!!!! Richard Ellison

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Amy March 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I am soooo very disappointed that the series will be at an end for now. I love to read your Ethan Gage adventures, and recommend them to all! I don’t understand why the publishers would stop. I eagerly hope another publishing company will pick this series up or you will self-publish, especially since you stated you have loose outlines for seven more books! It is miserably knowing there is more with Ethan Gage and family and not being able to read it!
I wish you we’ll!
Amy

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Kent Saunders April 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm

The possibility of no more Ethan has ruined my day! Ever since the first book I have eagerly looked forward to the next Chapter (Book). If you can find a way to continue you can count on my patronage. I have less than a handful of authors that I follow so I can quickly snatch up their next book…and You/Ethan are one!

Kent

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Bill Kollbaum April 8, 2014 at 11:42 am

I do hope you consider self publishing if your publisher (or some other publisher) does not want to continue Ethan and Astiza’s adventures. I still want to know what happens next in their life!!
Like others have stated – one of my favorite traditions every spring has become reading the new adventures of Ethan and Astiza.

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Sara Stamey May 9, 2014 at 10:03 am

Hey, Bill, you told me earlier about the (we hope temporary!) hiatus for Ethan Gage adventures, but catching up with you here makes me echo everyone else — NO! Many of the authors I have joined at Book View Cafe are continuing their series (and backlist) with this coop publishing group, so check us out, we’d be thrilled to have you and Ethan! http://www.bookviewcafe.com
See you soon in Bellingham, Sara

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