I’ve been receiving a great many emails, Facebook comments, and customer reviews on Amazon from people who have just finished reading Brothers in Valor who are upset because [paraphrasing here] “I thought this was a trilogy, but you left your guys in a a dangerous situation.” Some of these people are actually angry and feel that I misled them by calling these three books a “trilogy.”
Before I address that issue, though, I want to make very, very clear that Brothers in Valor is not the end of the Max Robichaux/Ibrahim Sahin story. As I have written many times in dozens of places (my Facebook page, this page, Twitter, Amazon comments, etc.,) this trilogy will be followed by the “Brothers of the Black Sky” trilogy, the first novel of which, To Stations My Lads is expected sometime in 2016. And, that trilogy will be followed by another, and another, for so long as there are readers and so long as I am able to write. I will not leave my readers hanging. Long.
Now, to the “trilogy” issue.
First, I want folks to understand that I’m sorry to have upset you and that, not only did I not intend to mislead you, it never occurred to me in a million years that anyone could ever, even remotely, be misled.
“How can you not have believed we would be misled?” some of you are asking. Well, that takes me to my second point: “Trilogy” is such a simple word–I thought everyone knew what it meant. Much to my surprise, there seem to be a great many people whose understanding of the word is, shall we say, less than perfectly correct. So, as a public service of this blog (valuable public goods abound here!) today I’m going to enlighten you as to what this word means.
If you actually go to a dictionary and look up “trilogy” you will find definitions that say things like, “a series of three related related books, films, plays, musical compositions.” Some, but not all, of the definitions also mention that the works are usually on a central theme. Read three, or five, or twenty definitions, and they will be pretty much the same: three related artistic works, perhaps on a central theme. That’s it. There is NO requirement in ANY definition that I found that requires that all plot elements be wrapped up with a neat little bow. Further, there is no rule that the protagonists may not be left in a position of peril at the end of the trilogy. AND, there is no prohibition that the trilogies may not be part of a cycle or series of trilogies, which is what I am doing.
The “Man of War” Trilogy tells the story of Max Robichaux and Ibrahim Sahin aboard the USS Cumberland. For reasons people who have read the third book understand, THAT story is over, in the most complete and emphatic way. This series is clearly and unarguably a trilogy. Complaining that it is not merely highlights the importance of dictionaries.