Embers of War
|Embers of War|
|Cover artwork||Victor Manuel Leza Moreno|
|Publisher||Catalyst Game Labs|
|Product code||CAT 35820|
|First published||30 July 2015|
|Followed by||Shadows of Faith|
Embers of War, by Jason Schmetzer, is the first canonical BattleTech print novel to be published since the last "classic" BattleTech print novel, Endgame, had been published by ROC in 2002 and the last MechWarrior: Dark Age print novel, To Ride the Chimera, in 2008. (BattleCorps published some novel-length fiction, but only in electronic format; FanPro and later Ulisses Spiele had meanwhile continued to publish new, original print novels in Germany but these were not translated and published in English, making them apocryphal.) Embers of War continues the timeline from where Endgame left off.
A first, limited print run was sold by Catalyst Game Labs at GenCon 2015 which opened its doors on 30 July 2015. This first edition had the old BattleTech logo on the front cover; it was changed to the new BattleTech logo for subsequent printings.
From the back cover
|“|| WHAT PRICE HONOR?
For Ezra Payne and the Stealthy Tiger mercenaries, professionalism is everything. Hired to assist in the bitter, bloody fighting on the planet Hall, they quickly earn a decisive victory for their employer. They settle afterward in for a needed period of rebuilding, and a few months’ peace before moving on to the next contract.
But their respite does not last. More mercenaries, hired by the Allied Mercenary Command itself, land on Hall. They believe the Tigers’ employer to be in league with the Word of Blake, a shadowy interstellar organization that worships technology, and which has been building its own empire among the worlds around Terra.
The Tigers want nothing of this battle, but war rages across the Inner Sphere. The hard-fought cease-fire cannot last, even on Hall, and when every faction is embittered and fueled by fervor, peace has no chance at all.
As a new conflict erupts, will the Stealthy Tigers’ BattleMechs be enough to save them? Or will the looming threat of renewed war engulf them in its fiery embrace?
After a decade of political turmoil, the newly-hired Stealthy Tigers mercenaries have decided the civil war on Hall in favor of their employer, emperor William Baranov, as of 3067 by vanquishing the forces of Count Radcliffe McNally in the field. They try to be professional about it and honor their contract, ignoring where their paycheck truly comes from—the Stealthy Tigers have since determined that Baranov has ties to the shadowy Word of Blake sect, but they have no proof.
When the Allied Mercenary Command sends a regiment of the Dismal Disinherited to Hall to investigate a possible Blakist connection, Captain Ezra Payne of the Stealthy Tigers is made their liaison officer as the Dismal Disinherited establish contact with mercenary leader Ellie Burton, mother of McNally's son and now the leader of the shattered opposition forces including the remains of the mercenary Burton's Brigade.
A cunning politician, Baranov tries to play Burton and the AMC against each other and false-flag attacks attempt to sow chaos and mistrust, though Payne's level-headed thinking succeeds in defusing several critical situations.
The Word of Blake meanwhile is active on Hall with two competing factions: Adele Estwicke is Baranov's contact and political advisor, and attempts to maneuver him into a formal political alliance. Her plan eventually falls apart though when Baranov surprisingly announces that he has asked for Hall to be accepted into the Free Worlds League and openly admits that he used and double-crossed her. At this point, the radical and ruthless Sixth of June sect takes over the Word of Blake operations; this includes activating two sleeper agents within the Stealthy Tigers, unit XO Mason Makorja and his twin sister and fellow battalion commander Kirsten Makorja (who underwent training and cybernetic enhancement on Jardine). As it so happens, the inbound Fourth Oriente Hussars regiment from the Free Worlds League is rabidly opposed to House Marik, while the Dismal Disinherited on Hall are led by John Marik-Johns, a distant relative of the ruling Marik.
While Ezra Payne and unit CO Yuri Rauschenbusch become increasingly disillusioned with their employer and wary of the dangerous overall situation, the Makorja twins move to bring the Stealthy Tigers under their control, which includes killing Rauschenbusch and setting Payne and his followers up to be killed in battle. The situation eventually comes to a head when Payne and intelligence officers from the AMC forces identify Estwicke's network and Blakist actions against the Stealthy Tigers and devolves into a shooting battle between all parties, with the Stealthy Tigers ending up fighting each other as one side follows their new colonel Mason Markoja while the others believe Ezra Payne's allegations of treason against the Markoja twins. Payne kills Kirsten Makorja in battle, but is himself wounded when his Crusader suffers a hit to its ammunition bins, auto-ejecting him to a hard landing. Ellie Burton meanwhile personally confronts Baranov, and both die in their 'Mech duel.
Beaten, remains of the Stealthy Tigers including Payne flee the planet on one of their DropShips while others remain loyal to Mason Makorja. The Dismal Disinherited are also pushed off-world by the Oriente Hussars. As they withdraw to the jump point, they learn of the Scouring of Outreach and suspected Word of Blake involvement, and the death of Jaime Wolf...
- Battle Hawk
- Grand Dragon
- Huron Warrior
- Shadow Hawk
- Cavalry VTOL
- Hawk Moth VTOL
- Mantis VTOL
- Wheeled APC
- The struggle on Hall between Baranov and McNally had previously been covered on the sidelines in several products (typically in the writeups of the units involved, namely Burton's Brigade and the Stealthy Tigers), and had also been at the center of the Kings & Pawns scenario, an official worldwide event hosted by the FanPro Commandos in 2004 that included detailed writeups on the leaders and forces involved. This novel retells the events of 3067 from the inside perspective of the Stealthy Tigers.
- Although the novel ends with the assertion that Hall will now be a Free Worlds League member, the planet actually became part of the Word of Blake protectorate soon afterwards.
- Later publications establish that the remains of Burton's Brigade and Payne's followers from the Stealthy Tigers merged into the Dismal Disinherited, but all three regiments of that unit were crushed during the Jihad and the Dismal Disinherited disbanded or were destroyed as of 3069. The 3rd Dismal Disinherited regiment specifically managed to withdraw from Hall but was later wiped out on Talitha in a failed raid against Word of Blake bases.