I’d like to take some room to give a brief mention to all the individuals who supported this novel’s prequel, as well as the Espatier project overall.  A number of people helped to not only create awareness, but to bring the project itself to a far higher quality than it would have otherwise possessed.

 Most of all, I’d like to extend my deepest and profoundest gratitude to LaTreace Giles for her tireless assistance and support, including but not limited to the editing of this manuscript and that of the previous novel, as well as for her helpful insights.  Her encouragement and interest in this project, to the point of sacrificing significant amounts of time and effort to be a part of it, deserves more than an acknowledgement such as this could ever supply.  The Trade of Kings and Though the Heavens Should Fall are far better novels because of her.

 A warm thanks also to the readers who gave the first book of this series a chance, and who have decided to do the same with this next installment—I hope what follows exceeds your expectations.My parents, I’d say, deserve the greatest gratitude.  I began writing in a serious capacity at age thirteen, and ever since both my mother and father have been nothing but encouraging.  Due to their help and confidence, and the help of my family in general, I was able to publish my first novel in 2012 (Apocalypse, book one of the King of Eden trilogy).  My family has shaped me into the writer I am now by starting me on a path that I didn’t have to walk alone.

A number of close friends also contributed to this project in crucial ways.  Among the many who made this project possible, I’d like to extend my gratitude to LaTreace Giles, who put great effort and time into editing the manuscript, and who gave me some thought-provoking suggestions that made this book far better than it otherwise would have been.  I would also like to thank Alexander Mathew Mendoza for helping me with the first three chapters, adding critical insights of his own which also benefited this project immensely.  There are many others I could thank for their input and encouragement, too many to list here; nevertheless, they have my deepest gratitude.

There are also a number of individuals who contributed to this project indirectly, to whom I owe much.  They include great women and men who put their thoughts and feelings into written form, who shared parts of their souls with the world around them through books and papers, articles and poems, stories and philosophy.  Many of them are simply the meek the mild, humble men and women I found in the unlikeliest corners, people who shared their own stories and minds with me.  Of this enormous group, though I have met so few of them, I still wish to thank them all.

This book, and the story it has begun, belongs in part to the people who contributed to it—family, friends, other writers and thinkers, and the reader.  I hope this is to their liking.

Arthur: “Mistake me not, I count not war a wrong.

War is the trade of kings, that fight for empire;

And better be a lion than a sheep.”

Oswald: “In what, then, have I wrong’d ye?”

Arthur: “In my love.”

— John Dryden

King Arthur, or The British Worthy

Act II, Scene I

May/June, 1691



"If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of wilful and offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits, that is, the power of one man cannot give them a very general extension, and many kinds of sins have only a mental existence from which no infection arises; but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.”

— Thomas Paine

The American Crisis, pamphlet V

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

21 March 1778

Copyright © 2016 Nathan Smith

ISBN-13: 978-1-62314-892-8

All rights reserved.

Cover by Marina Hunt