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Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan (1)

Acknowledgments

I feel as if I’m starting to sound like a broken record with regard to my acknowledgments, but when you have a team of people as good as mine, why wouldn’t you continue to use them? In Age of Swords, I dedicated the book to Tim Gerard Reynolds (the narrator for all my Riyria and Legends tales), this time I’m tipping my hat to Marc Simonetti, artist extraordinaire. Marc’s covers have graced many of my books, including the French editions of The Crown Conspiracy, Avempartha, and Nyphron Rising. For the US English market, he’s created covers for Age of Myth, Age of Swords, Age of War, Hollow World, The Death of Dulgath, and The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter. At the writing of this acknowledgment I’ve seen the new cover for Age of Legend, and, of course, it’s as excellent as always. Marc is a master and has worked on virtually every major fantasy franchise, including the works of George R. R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and dozens more. Words cannot express my gratitude for his incredible contributions.

Speaking of people I’ve been working with for a long time, Linda Branam returns to add her copyediting talents to this book. I’m starting to lose track of how many of my books she has edited, but it’s at least six and maybe seven. The great thing about Linda is that she knows how I think and, more important, knows the mistakes I commonly make. As always, she saves me from looking like a fool, and I’m grateful for that.

Once more I had a wonderful group of beta readers, both old and new. My thanks go out to Michael Jay Brunt, Jeffrey Carr, Beverly Collie, Buffy Curtis, Louise Faering, Cathy Fox, Sheri L. Gestring, Chris Haught, Craig T. Jackson, Toby Johnson, Marty Kagan, Evelyn Keeley, Nathaniel and Sarah Kidd, Amy Lesniak Briggs, Richard Martin, Jamie McCullough, Elizabeth Ocskay, Christina Pilkington, Beth Rosser, Melanie Sanderson, Jeff Schwarz, Sarah Webb, and Dick Wilkin. I’m one hundred percent positive I have THE BEST beta team on the planet, and your hard work has made the book so much better than I could have done on my own.

And this time we added something new: gamma readers! These are people with eagle eyes that looked over the book after copyediting but before it went to press. Their job was to find any last-minute typos or errors that slipped through the cracks. After so many years in the business, I’m convinced that no book is completely error free, but the gamma readers helped to get it as close to that goal as possible. I thank them for their dedication and hard work. In particular, I’d like to mention the following gamma readers by name for their outstanding contributions: Audrey Hammer, Chris McGrath, Christopher Griffin, Alex Makar, Michael DePalatis, Sarah Webb, Julian Portillo, Jennifer Strohschein, Steve Kafkas, Beverly Collie, Mark Larsen, and Brittany Hay. Audrey, Chris, and Christopher were exceptionally helpful, and I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. If I have, I’m extending my sincerest apologies.

And, of course, no acknowledgment section would be complete without mentioning Robin, whose tireless efforts have more impact on the book than anyone else’s. Even as we were reading the copyedited version, she was finding some little tweaks that if made would significantly improve the book, so I bit the bullet and made the adjustments. We had tremendous “discussions” (of course I won’t call them fights) over the layout of Alon Rhist, and through those talks, many errors were corrected because the town had morphed while writing the book and Robin caught the discrepancies when changes weren’t incorporated throughout. An interesting side note, I built the entire citadel of Alon Rhist in Minecraft (which is about as geeky of a thing as I’ve ever done). If you don’t know what that is, it’s kind of like Legos on computers. The great thing is you get unlimited pieces. If anyone wants to see Alon Rhist, drop me an email, and I’ll share a video that shows off my little creation. Okay, back to Robin. Besides all the alpha feedback, organizing the beta readers and summarizing their feedback, and the tireless help she provided during the copyediting, she also should receive the award for most improved Book of Brin entry. She was the one who wrote: Dragons only kill you; Gilarabrywns break your heart. Maybe for her birthday, I’ll get her an engraved plaque with that line on it.

And as before, I want to thank the people at the publishers for all their help in making this book so professional. In particular, I’d like to thank Tricia Narwani, my editor; Sarah Peed, who also provided some editorial assistance; Scott Shannon, Del Rey’s senior vice president and publisher; Ryan Kearney, Tricia’s assistant; and Nancy Delia, the book’s production editor. On the audiobook side of things, I’d like to thank Troy Juliar, who purchased the books; Andy Paris, who organized the production (and is responsible for pairing me with Tim Gerard Reynolds in the first place); Brian Sweeny, who is always a helpful hand with logistics; and Howard Bernstein, who did a fabulous job as the book’s recording engineer. And, of course, Tim Gerard Reynolds, the voice of Elan. Not only does he do an incredible job with the narration but he’s a genuine fan, and I think that shows in his work. Thank you, Tim, through your enthusiasm I feel as if I wrote something that touches people. I appreciate the encouragement.

With all that said, there is still one last person I want to thank, and that is you, kind reader. Thank you for buying the books, recommending them to loved ones, and writing reviews that warm my heart. I even want to thank those who have written negative comments because I’ve learned a lot from what you’ve said (probably even more than from the ones that sing my praises). I don’t write books for love of money or fame. I write to tell stories that are near and dear to my heart, and while that is indeed its own reward, the satisfaction is even greater when shared with others. Thank you for making a good thing even better.