Fantasy and science-fiction author Lindsay Buroker has early memories of convincing childhood friends, pets, and stuffed animals to play the roles of characters in her worlds, so it's safe to say she's been making up stories for a long time.

She self-published her first novel, The Emperor's Edge, in December of 2010 and has written and published more than 60 novels since then, most under her own name, but a few steamier ones under a pen name. By mid-2012, she was doing well enough to quit the day job and become a full-time author.

When she's not writing, she's usually hiking with her dogs, practicing yoga, playing tennis, or eating entirely too much dark chocolate (she only does one of those things truly well, and she will let you guess which it is).

She grew up in the Seattle area but has itchy feet and has moved several times and also served for four years in the army. She recently moved from Arizona to Bend, Oregon, where she and her dogs now have eighty acres to roam around on. Someday, she'll even have a house on that land!

The Heritage of Power series is a spinoff of her USA Today best-selling Dragon Blood series but introduces new heroes and can be picked up by new readers.

Heritage of Power - The Complete Series Books 1-5 by Lindsay Buroker

Dragons have returned to the world, and they're wreaking havoc on human civilizations.

Only one man has the power to stop them.

Born an outcast who's never fit in, Telryn "Trip" Yert has spent his entire life hiding a secret that could get him killed:

In a world where magic is forbidden, the ancient blood of dragons flows through his veins.

Joined by a snarky sentient sword, a band of equally snarky allies, and the smart scholarly woman he longs to impress, Trip must master his powers, learn the secrets of his heritage, and go on a quest to save mankind. If he fails, dragons may take over the world and enslave all of humanity.

This is the complete five-novel Heritage of Power series, full of adventure, romance, and fast-paced page turning fun.

CURATOR'S NOTE

A captivating read with everything I hope to find in fantasy—magic, adventure, romance, humor, and dragons! This five-book series is a fun ride from start to finish.– Amy DuBoff

 

REVIEWS

  • "This was not what I was expecting; it was so much better. It has good pacing, well-developed characters, and a rich world filled with details. You can read the description and get an idea of what the story is about, so all I will say is that the writing is strong and the craft of the story is excellent. It's well worth your time."

    – Kaede, Amazon reviewer
  • "It doesn't take much for me to dive into a story about dragons, sorcerers, and magic swords. That being said, Lindsay Buroker is one of the best at telling a tale full of combat, surprises, and trickery."

    – Phil, Amazon reviewer
  • "Sword and sorcery at its best. This is a good old-fashioned tale that goes with the best of any that I have read lately."

    – Kindle Customer, Amazon reviewer
  • "I adore the way this author writes! I was on the last page and sad that I was finished. Though I am thrilled to start the next book in the series. Love the varied, strong female and male characters."

    – Jennifer Heckenbach, Amazon reviewer
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Trip reveled in the cool wind rushing past his face. He was tempted to tear off his cap and goggles, and let the salty air wash over all of his senses. Probably not wise, since the one time he'd flown without them, he'd streamed tears enough to thoroughly wash his scarf, and a small bug had spent two days lodged in the corner of his eye.

He settled for tilting the flight stick and sending his dragon flier into a spin and grinning like a boy. Even after two years as a pilot, the sensation of corkscrewing through the air, clouds and sea alternating positions above his head, never got old.

"Is there a problem with your flier, Lieutenant?" the dour, humorless, and dyspeptic Colonel Anchor asked.

In truth, Trip couldn't be sure about that last adjective, but it seemed as likely an explanation for the first two as any.

"No, sir." He straightened his craft to fly sedately next to the other seven fliers in the squadron. "I had an urge."

"Repress the next one." Amazing how Anchor's dourness came through so clearly over the small communication crystal embedded in the console.

Someone snickered. Leftie, most likely.

"This is a serious mission," the colonel added. "It's bad enough the pirate king was so brazen as to send his mindless thugs to attack our base at night and steal three of our new fliers…" Anchor issued a series of noises that either signified his extreme disgruntlement or lent evidence to support Trip's theory of dyspepsia. Perhaps both. "It's completely unacceptable."

"Yes, sir," Trip said.

"Fliers spotted ahead, sir," Hawkeye blurted. "I think they're ours!"

"Max speed," the colonel said. "We'll teach those thieving pirates."

"Are we shooting at our own craft?" someone asked.

"We'll surround them and force them to land," Anchor said. "If it becomes absolutely necessary to shoot, aim for the pilots instead of the fliers." He growled and added, "If Neaminor is one of the pilots, make it necessary to shoot."

Trip did not know if he would recognize Neaminor, the infamous pirate king, if he saw him, but he trusted the colonel would point him out. They'd been enemies for ten years or more.

"Won't shooting the pilots cause the fliers to crash, sir?" Leftie asked.

A valid point. And if the fliers went down out here, over the water, the squadron would be lucky if they were able to retrieve the power crystals before the craft sank.

"As I said, we'll attempt to force them to land," Anchor said.

Trip had his doubts, but as a lieutenant, he didn't have the right to question the colonel. Especially as a lieutenant who'd just been reprimanded for urges.

He looked to his right, to where Leftie flew, the morning sun gleaming off the bronze hull of his craft and his goggles. It was hard to read expressions when they were bundled up against the cold and wind, but he tried to catch Leftie's eye, to imply he should question the colonel further. He was a lieutenant, too, but his charisma seemed to work almost as well on superior officers as it did on women.

Leftie merely made the thumb-to-fingers circle indicating readiness or that all was well. "Glad we caught up to them so quickly. We'll take 'em out and be home by lunch. I've got a hookball game tonight and a victory date with a pretty lady."

Though Trip had greater concerns, he asked, "How do you know it'll be a victory date when the game hasn't even started yet?"

"Because I'm playing."

"Was this pretty lady attracted by your extreme modesty?"

"By my sparkling blue eyes and infectious laugh, I believe," Leftie said, and Trip couldn't help but briefly lament that his black hair and bronze skin made him look more like a Cofah than an Iskandian. Perhaps because the Cofah Empire had been trying to conquer Iskandia for centuries, the resemblance didn't help him attract women. He'd been told his dark green eyes were striking—by his grandmother, if no one else—but they weren't common in Iskandia, and didn't help him fit in. "Also by my glamorous job," Leftie added, wobbling the double wings on his flier.

"Glamorous?" someone chimed in. "Yesterday, I had to clean that diplomat's vomit out of the back of my flier."

"That'll teach you to say you're good at piloting a two-seater. And to make sure luck is on your side before missions." Over in his flier, Leftie brought his miniature gold hookball to his lips. He insisted on calling it a lucky charm rather than acknowledging it was a keychain.

"Not everybody gets excited about kissing balls."

"Enough chatter," Colonel Anchor said, his voice icy as it cut through the banter. "We're almost within firing range."

Reluctantly, Trip kept his concerns about crashed fliers to himself. Maybe the colonel was right, and they could force the pirates to turn toward the coast to land. With luck, those pirates wouldn't have much experience, at least not the intense training everyone in Cougar Squadron had endured.

They were close enough now to see the pirates glancing nervously behind them. Trip was surprised by how quickly his squadron had caught up. But as he had the thought, the pirates sped up.

As the fliers tore up the coastline, the squadron not quite able to close to firing range, Trip started to suspect a setup. Those three craft had been stolen in the middle of the night. Nobody had expected to catch up with them so quickly, or even to find them. And yet, here they were, barely fifty miles north of Charkolt.

Trip looked at the coastline, toward the houses perched in the high grasses above the water. The pirate king's lackeys had been bold of late, taking advantage of the frequent dragon attacks in western Iskandia, attacks that had prompted the air battalion commander, General Zirkander, to call fliers and pilots over from other posts to help. Right now, Cougar Squadron was the only one left stationed on the East Coast. And the pirates knew it.

Smoke drifted upward from Oredale, a little town a mile inland and up a gorge. More smoke than usual? The terrain hid the buildings from view, but Trip had flown up and down this coast a hundred times and knew the town held a refinery, one with a big chimney that always spat smoke. His intuition, however, tingled. Even though his eyes detected nothing, his sixth sense told him something was wrong.

"I'm going to check on Oredale real quick," he said, hoping that if he stated it instead of asking for permission, permission he knew wouldn't be granted, he would be in less trouble later.

"You're what?" Anchor blurted before Trip had done more than turn the nose of his flier.

"I have a hunch those three are intended to be a distraction. If I'm wrong, it won't take me long to check. I'll be back to help with the action." Trip sped inland, the wind battering at his wings.

"You'll be back?" Anchor roared. "You don't have permission to go. This isn't the time for you to live up to your name, Lieutenant Sidetrip. Get your ass back into formation now."

The anger in the colonel's voice chilled Trip and almost made him falter. He'd been reprimanded before for taking off on hunches, but he was usually right, damn it. He'd saved people's lives by disobeying orders, and the sixth sense niggling at the back of his mind assured him that it was worth a reprimand this time too.

But what if it turned into more than a reprimand? What if he was court-martialed? Or kicked out of the flier battalion? He couldn't imagine not having access to a flier, to the sky. This was all he'd wanted to do since he'd been a little boy. The sky had called to him like nothing else ever had. If he couldn't fly, he had no idea what he would do with his life.

Hoping he wouldn't regret it, Trip took a deep breath and said, "I'll call if I need backup."

"Lieutenant Sidetrip," Anchor growled. "If you—"

Leftie interrupted before the colonel could deliver whatever threat was on his lips. "Sir, Trip's hunches are always right. We've got enough men left to handle those thieves."

Trip appreciated his friend watching out for him, as he'd done since they'd been at the university together, but he winced at the vocal reminder to everyone that his "hunches" were always right. In a land where magic was feared, and displaying any extraordinary skill could cause one to be accused of it, it wasn't wise to remind people of one's eccentricities. Trip had only to remember being eight years old and watching his mother being hanged for "witchery" to understand that fully.

He'd heard that things had changed somewhat over in the capital, and the rumors said that General Zirkander had married a witch, but Cougar Squadron was a long ways from the capital. Who knew if there was even anything to those rumors?

Colonel Anchor cursed and growled under his breath. He didn't sound like he agreed with Leftie's words.

Trip looked over his shoulder toward the squadron, the bronze dragon-inspired fliers already growing small as they continued up the coast, and he focused on the back of the colonel's head. He silently willed the man to agree, or at least to drop the subject and concentrate on capturing those pirates.

To his surprise, Anchor said, "Fine. You go with him, Leftie. Keep an eye on him and drag him back as soon as you verify that there's nothing over there."

"Yes, sir," Leftie said, sounding as surprised as Trip.

"Don't take forever or go far," Anchor added. "We've only got a fifty-mile range on the comm crystals, and I don't want you twits too far away to report in."

"Yes, sir," Trip and Leftie said together.

It always boggled Trip's mind that nobody seemed to realize that the communication crystals and also the energy crystals that powered the fliers had been made with magic. Somebody, of course, realized it, but he had no idea where the flier factory was or who had been in charge of inventing them in the first place. He did know that fliers were rare in the rest of the world—until recently, the Cofah Empire had only had dirigibles for air travel—which meant the witches that made the crystals were likely here in Iskandia. Not being hanged.

If only the rest of the country would realize that magic could be useful and not all magic-users were evil.

Trip headed up the gorge and tried to push the problem to the back of his mind. As always, it resisted. He lived with the fear of being discovered as someone… not quite normal. His grandparents, who'd raised him after his mother had been executed—murdered—had moved often when he'd been a boy, whenever people noticed that weird things sometimes happened when he was around. As he'd grown older, he'd mostly learned to control whatever peculiarities in his blood caused that, and he hadn't drawn too much attention to himself at Charkolt University or the flier academy. But there had been a couple of times recently…

"If this side trip makes me late for my game," Leftie said, arrowing down the gorge to fly right behind him, "I'm not going to introduce you to the pretty lady's twin sister."

"Was there a point at which you were ever intending to do that?" Trip asked, glad for the distraction.

He eyed the smoke up ahead. Was it thicker than it had been earlier?

"Of course. The seven gods know you can't get a woman on your own. Though I'm not sure why. You're not that homely."

"Thanks for the ego-stroking."

Trip didn't explain that his fear of getting close to anyone tied in with his other fears. During his first time having sex with a woman, he'd somehow caused a vase on the bedside table to shatter. After they'd both recovered from the shock, she'd laughed and said he must have been enjoying himself if he'd knocked it off with an arm. But he'd known he hadn't touched it. Maybe she had too. She had avoided him after that.

As his flier rounded a bend in the gorge, he sucked in a startled breath, his fingers tightening around the flight stick. Even though he'd expected trouble, he hadn't expected what lay ahead.

A black dirigible flew low over Oredale, dropping explosives onto buildings. It was an older Cofah model that had been painted black with a white sword-and-skull emblem on the hull marking it as property of the pirate king.

Similar to a wooden sailing ship in the air, the dirigible had an open deck and a long oval, gas-filled envelope above. Helium, most likely. The Cofah had stopped using hydrogen after losing numerous vessels to Iskandian fliers armed with incendiary bullets and explosives, and he doubted the pirates would have changed that. Bringing the vessel down wouldn't be easy.

But that needed to be done. Several structures had been destroyed, streets turned into giant potholes, and dozens of roofs burned. Though he didn't try to, Trip sensed the emotions of the hundreds of residents, their fear and anger and helplessness, and he couldn't help but think that Oredale was similar to the small coastal town that his grandparents lived in.

A boom echoed up and down the gorge. Trip couldn't believe the squadron hadn't heard the explosives out over the coast, but the wind, the pounding of their propellers, and the roar of the ocean drowned out much.

"Shit," Leftie said. "Colonel, we've got a serious attack happening here in Oredale. Need backup. I repeat, need backup."

Trip clenched his teeth and arrowed toward the dirigible, a finger resting on the trigger for the twin machine guns mounted to the front of his flier. He didn't see any other enemy aircraft in the sky, but dozens of men stood on the deck of the craft, all with rifles in hand and cutlasses at their waists. Some of those would be sniper rifles, capable of hitting him at a long distance. He kept that in mind, but didn't let it deter him. That dirigible was going down.

"Let's go in from above," Leftie said. "Keep that big, fluffy balloon between them and us while shooting some holes in it."

"Do it," Trip told him, as he dove down toward the river.

Leftie's suggestion was safest for them, but Trip knew from experience that they could put a hundred bullet holes in the huge envelope of a dirigible without causing it to crash. They either had to find a way to blow up the boiler within its engine room or shoot enough important people on the deck and in the wheelhouse that the pirates would flee.

"I was imagining it as a group thing," Leftie said dryly as he went high and Trip went low. "Us flying around like mosquitoes, distracting them and keeping them from lobbing more explosives, until the cavalry arrives."

Trip didn't answer. He focused on the men on the deck, the men aiming rifles at him. He tried to pick out a couple of officers before they started firing, something that was challenging since pirates didn't wear uniforms.

Once they opened fire, evasive maneuvers took most of his concentration. He swooped left and right and up and down, occasionally corkscrewing to make himself a difficult target. All the while, he advanced on the ship, on the deck. He knew he would have enough clearance to fly between it and the balloon, if he could weave around the support struts attaching the two. He would barely have enough clearance, but he could do it.

He was upside down as he made his final approach, rifles cracking from ahead of him, but that didn't matter. He sprayed machine gun fire, his aim barely affected by his flier's gyrations. He wasn't great at a lot of things, but this… this was what he'd been born to do, and exhilaration thrummed through his veins as he flew.

Numerous bullets slammed into the deck, but many hit their marks. Pirates fell under his relentless fire.

A part of him worried that he could delight in slaying human beings, even if they were proven enemies of Iskandia, but a deeper, more primitive part of him claimed that this was how it was meant to be. He was like some great predator chasing down his prey, reveling in the hunt.

He willed the pirates' bullets to zip past his flier instead of striking it—or him—though he knew that didn't truly have an effect. His mad gyrations were what made it difficult for them. Even so, a few of their bullets gouged the lightweight material of his wings. Fortunately, the flier's body was made of wood with a bronze veneer, and could take a few hits.

At least a dozen pirates lay on the deck, clutching their wounds, by the time Trip flew out on the far side. Rifle fire chased him, and he stayed low in the cockpit. He flew in a loop so he could come back around for another attack.

He longed to target the boiler he knew to be protected within the ship itself, but he would need explosives for that. His bullets wouldn't tear through the wood hull. Instead, he dove in for another strafing run.

The deck was significantly clearer this time, many of the pirates having taken refuge below. He caught a few stubborn ones crouching behind the railing and shooting at him, and he targeted those. A bullet struck the corner of his windshield, and a spider web of cracks sprang across it. He fired relentlessly, knowing they would get him if he didn't get them first.

He flew so close that he scared the two men into leaping over the railing and into the river below. Good. Two fewer pirates to deal with.

As he flew over the deck, his wings almost hitting the bottom of the envelope, he angled left to send as many bullets into the wheelhouse as possible. He might not be able to destroy the engine or the boiler from up here, but if he could damage the steering mechanism, that would be good enough.

More booms sounded, and Trip cursed. What pirates were able to throw explosives with him causing so much trouble for them?

He realized the noise had come from the town. Someone had gotten a cannon out and was lobbing balls at the dirigible.

Someone down there either had good aim or got lucky. One of those balls crashed through the rear hull of the ship and struck something important. Important and flammable.

As Trip ended his run and flew away from the ship, looping to engage in another one, an explosion erupted from within the craft. It blew a giant hole in the hull, and flames shot out of the side. He grinned viciously, wanting to hug whoever was manning that cannon down there.

In addition to damaging the hull, the flames from the explosion blew high enough to catch the envelope on fire. Trip spotted Leftie flying up there, cheerfully riddling it full of holes. He suspected it was the flames rather than the bullets that did the serious damage, but either way, the dirigible listed sideways and drooped toward the river.

"The reinforcements are here," Leftie said.

Anchor and the rest of the squadron were flying up the gorge toward them, their paths surprisingly full of weaving and erratic flying. Trip spotted the reason why. The three pirates in the stolen fliers were behind them. Coming to help their comrades?

"Let's get those three," Trip said, arrowing toward the pursuers.

Perhaps seeing that the dirigible was out of commission and the town was safe for the moment, Anchor ordered everyone to join in. The entire squadron turned, catching the pirates by surprise—the pirates hadn't yet been close enough to see their downed allies.

As far as Trip knew, neither the Cofah nor the pirates that plagued the coast had an equivalent to Iskandian communication crystals, so they couldn't easily relay messages among their forces.

His squadron mates brought down two of the enemy fliers before Trip was close enough to help. Illogically, he felt a twinge of disappointment. He and Leftie had just taken down a dirigible, after all.

But the colonel hadn't seen that. It was silly, but Trip wanted to be seen defeating the enemy. Flying was wonderful, and he felt at home in the sky, but he also longed to have people treat him like a hero rather than an oddity. One day, he hoped to have the kind of reputation that General Zirkander had, one of being a famous protector of the country, loved wherever he went.

As Trip darted toward the third pirate flier, he glimpsed Colonel Anchor angling in from the opposite direction. Their eyes met briefly, Anchor as dyspeptic as ever behind his goggles. Reluctantly, Trip admitted that hero status would have to wait. For now, he would be happy to avoid serious reprimand—or worse—for flying off on his own.

He and Anchor fired together at the pirate who was trying to wheel away, to head back out to sea. Trip's bullet caught him in the shoulder. Anchor's took him in the head.

As the pirate slumped forward in death and the flier dipped toward the river, Trip hoped that wasn't some kind of metaphor for what the colonel would do to him later.

"Hawkeye," Anchor said. "Get back to headquarters and report this. Oredale is going to need medical help. Everyone else, find a landing spot. We've got to capture those pirates and fish our fliers out of the river." Another stream of half-indecipherable curses followed the orders.

At least they were aimed toward "balls-licking, thieving pirates" this time. Maybe Trip would get lucky, and in the chaos of everything else, the colonel would forget that he'd disobeyed orders.

But Anchor flew beside him and glared over at him. "Lieutenant Sidetrip, you'll report to me in my office at the end of shift."

Trip sighed. "Yes, sir."

~