Athelstan Cying

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The First Novel in the Series:

The Ghost Ship Chronicles

Imperial Sigil by Tanna Borrell

Is an unsold/uncontracted novel ready for publication


Proposed cover art

Chapter 1 Secrets

Length of Novel:

78,135 words

Keywords and Market Focus:

Science fiction, space, adventure, intrigue, space ships; will appeal to adults and young adults interested in science fiction/adventure

Ghost: Athelstan Cying is a unique novel but the concept is similar to Jack Vance’s To Live Forever or many of Andrea Norton’s mind swap novels.


Science Fiction


In the family trading vessel Twilight Lamb, Den Protania is a failure.  Not just any failure, although his father is the captain, Den was already kicked out of both command and astrogation, and now he isn’t doing too well in shuttle section.  Den has no desire to work to achieve anything, yet he envies everyone who is more successful than he.  He especially resents Natana Kern, the Twilight Lamb’s youngest master astrogator and a journeyman in psyonics.  Natana succeeds in every area Den cannot, and he hates her because of it.  When the Twilight Lamb detects a derelict courier vessel, Athelstan Cying along their flight path, Natana mans pilotage and Den is part of the salvage team.  Both of their lives are about to change forever…      

Aboard the Athelstan Cying, a being has lingered a millennia—long dead, yet aware and extant.  The Athelstan Cying houses the spirit of an Imperial commander, a psyonic master.  When the Twilight Lamb comes within range of the Athelstan Cying, the Cying begins a preprogrammed attack plan.  The spirit can barely stop the attack, and Twilight Lamb’s salvage crew boards her—including Den.  Den, of course, doesn’t follow protocol.  He explores the vessel without waiting for his partner, the shuttle master.  The Athelstan Cying fought in a space battle long ago and one of the cabins was breached.  Although the being tries to warn Den, Den opens the cabin door and is impaled on the structure of the ship.  The spirit attempts to save Den, and when Den’s soul departs the body, it is locked inside.  The being uses its knowledge to stabilize the body and saves it from certain death.  Now, for better or worse, he has become Den Protania.

The new Den Protania is very aware of his precarious position on the Twilight Lamb.  His life depends on the truth of Den’s change remaining a secret.  His problems are aggravated when the ship’s council rightly blames him for the accident, and charges him a debt that will take decades to reduce even for a master.  Still worse, Natana Kern, as a psyionic journeyman, is assigned to help Den’s recovery.

During Den’s first session with Natana, he experiences a flashback to his ancient life that she is drawn into.  She realizes he is not the Den Protania she once knew, but what can she do?  Would anyone believe her?  Can such a thing really be true?  When she was inside his mind, Natana realized the new Den’s power, compassion, and honor.  They mutually call a truce and in exchange for training in psyonics, Natana agrees to help Den redeem his life in the eyes of the Twilight Lamb’s family.

Den and Natana maintain an uncomfortable peace as he integrates into the ship’s family, works to reduce his enormous debt, and tries to determine who from the past he really was.  Whatever the future brings the world for Den and Natana has radically changed. 

Author's reviewer’s quotes:

“Incredible premise.  Never read anything like it.  Interaction of characters is complex and refreshing.”

“A novel unlike anything I’ve ever read.  Like a good cup of coffee full bodied and tasty with a touch of bitterness and earthiness.”

“The theme is pervasive and driving.  It is a psychological novel in the guise of science fiction.  Natana and Den build success out of nothingness.”

Short descriptive teasers:

Ghost: Athelstan Cying is a science fiction/adventure novel that describes the travails of Den Protania a failure in life who becomes successful in death.

The novel is a psychological thriller that describes the transition of an ancient spirit into the body and mind of a failed space trader.    

Master astrogator Natana Kern helps an ancient spirit who becomes trapped in the body of Den Protania, crewman of the family trader ship, Twilight Lamb and the Captain’s son.

Further Information:

Ghost: Athelstan Cying is the first novel in the Ghost Ship Chronicles. 

The Ghost Ship Chronicles is a follow-on from the distant future of the universe introduced in the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox.

  Steps in the publication process:


     Proposal with novel information and synopsis sent to publisher

         This novel was odd because the publisher requested a sequel and therefore knew it was coming.  Generally, the publisher wants information and a synopsis in their format prior to receiving the manuscript.

ü     Manuscript sent to publisher - 10 January 2009

     OakTara agreed to contract the Novel

     OakTara sent a contract

     Contract signed and returned

     Final signed contract copy returned from publisher

Cover - will move to the author page when I have an initial cover, this section and info will also move to the secrets page with a cover.

     Request from publisher for cover ideas - when I finish a novel, I develop a title (if I haven't already), produce the marketing information and synopsis (usually a 500 and 250 word synopsis), and work on a cover concept.  I have one in mind for this novel, but it is a take off on the original cover for Aegypt.

     Sent cover ideas to Publisher

     Publisher's recommended covers

     Final front cover development

     Development of cover back

     Final entire cover

     Cover spine sized for book


ü     Manuscript sent to publisher - 10 January 2009

     Proofs sent from publisher

     Proof corrections to publisher

     Final sent from publisher

     Final approved


     Publisher sends completed novel portfolio to press

     Publication - copies in hand


     Press release


     Web presence  




  If you are interested in reviewing this novel for publication... Contact the author




  Novels by this Author
       The Second Mission (Available now)
       Centurion   (Available now published by OakTara)
       Aegypt            (Available now published by OakTara)


The Dragon and the Fox


                     (Available now published by OakTara)



      The End of Honor           The Fox’s Honor               A Season of Honor 




  L.D. Alford is the author of 41 technical papers published in international journals on flight test, military policy, flight safety, space, and cyberwar.  Technical Writing
  L.D. Alford has been a professional aviator for 29 years.  Aviation Writing

L.D. Alford Aviation Writing Technical Writing Unpublished Novels Writing Links Engineer


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