A Sword Into Darkness – Novel and Gallery

ASID Full Cover 3c

 Ranked an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller!

#1 Military Science Fiction, #1 Sci-Fi E-Book

An Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist

Over 30,000 Copies Sold in its First Year

4.4 Stars on Amazon with 354 Reviews!


Get the audiobook by the incomparable Liam Owen on:  AUDIBLE, AMAZON AUDIOBOOK, or iTunes

Amazon Prime members read the e-book for FREE as part of Kindle Unlimited!

Buy the paperback and get the e-book for 99¢ on Amazon!

“Solid adventure, intrigue and speculative space-tech, from a rising star in military science fiction.”— DAVID BRIN, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of ‘EXISTENCE,’ ‘THE POSTMAN,’ and ‘STARTIDE RISING’


Aerospace tycoon Gordon Elliot Lee cannot stand idly by while a mysterious alien presence from Delta Pavonis bears down upon mankind’s only home. Shut out from NASA and military support, Gordon is forced to go it alone, to sow the seeds for an entirely new sort of planetary defense: a space-based naval force.

Joined by Nathan Kelley — a bloodied naval warrior, scarred by his own actions in the waters off North Korea — and Kris Munoz — an avant garde scientific genius with more ideas than sense — these three will scour the very edges of fringe science and engineering to attempt development of Earth’s first space navy in time to oppose the Deltan invasion.

Beset by ridicule, government obstruction, industrial espionage, and their own personal demons, it will take a miracle just to get off the ground. But the challenges on Earth are nothing compared to what awaits them in space. Against an unknown alien enemy with vastly superior technology, a handful of human scientists and warriors must become the sword that holds the darkness at bay.



“There are brilliant first contact stories, great space combat stories, and amazing stories of technological discovery. Rarely do you find all three in the same novel. Remember the name Thomas A. Mays. You’re going to be seeing it on the bestseller list.”— JEFF EDWARDS, Award-winning author of ‘SEA OF SHADOWS,’ and ‘THE SEVENTH ANGEL’

“Sharply written, suspenseful and tightly plotted, A SWORD INTO DARKNESS reads like the best Tom Clancy novels, with a science fiction heart provided by Arthur C. Clark. Can’t wait to read more from Thomas Mays!”— GRAHAM BROWN, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of ‘ZERO HOUR,’ ‘BLACK RAIN,’ and ‘THE EDEN PROPHECY’

 Professional Reviews:  Perihelion SF, Castalia House, Armed & Dangerous, 20four12PG’s Ramblings

Awarded the Atomic Rockets Seal of Approval!  AtomicRocketSeal256

Trenton Broadside1 TRENTON blueprints 1a SOL Blueprints3a Destroyers Return To Newport CRUDESGRU One Asymmetric Technologies Final




47 thoughts on “A Sword Into Darkness – Novel and Gallery

  1. Hello.
    I found about this book on the atomic rockets site.
    Is there any store that sells it in DRM-free ebook format? I really don’t care about renting books on amazon or b&n.


    • No problem, Carlos and thanks for checking it out. I love Atomic Rockets. The ebook version of ASID is only on Kindle for now, an exclusive feature of their KDP Select program. I contractually can’t launch on the other formats until April, but the Kindle version on Amazon IS AVAILABLE FREE OF DRM. Should you download a copy with DRM, let me know and I’ll speak to Amazon about it.

      • Hello Tom.
        I just noticed that it is indeed DRM-Free. Too bad that when I try to buy it on amazon.com it redirects me to another European amazon site and when I try to buy it there, I am told that the book is not available in my country due to copyright restrictions. I will not move my (empty) kindle account to the US as I don’t know the legal implications of such a move.

        Best regards,


      • Sorry about that, Carlo. Please do check back in April when the book gets multiplied upon the other formats and ebook sellers. Still, the trade paperback is available to own today in a country near you! 😉

    • I still don’t grasp what DRM-free ebook format means. If it means readers can’t post favorite quotes via Kindle, I’m against it. I love the Kindle Share feature.

      • AZW is proprietary to Amazon, and most files have DRM but it has massive support from publishers,and Amazon makes it very easy to buy and consume books on multiple platforms. You can read Amazon’s ebooks in a free Kindle application on a PC or Mac, an iPad, or an Android, BlackBerry or iPhone smartphone.

      • Jack (The Guardian) warns against storing data in non-standard file formats (Schofield’s First Law), but all formats change over time. Mark Pilgrim says: “Long-term data preservation is like long-term backup: a series of short-term formats, punctuated by a series of migrations.” If DRM prevents you from converting ebooks to new formats (e.g. Calibre or Mobi), their chances of survival are probably fairly slim. (Carol is still befuddled.)

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  10. Hello Tom.

    Just read A Sword into Darkness. Nice plot, nice development, even though the finale is a bit cheesy 🙂

    I have a question. In the chapter “Death from below” the TAO cons the ship during battle stations whether the captain is on the bridge or in the CIC. Is this the actual procedure in the USN? I ask because all my knowledge of any Navy stems from movies and novels, and it is the first time that I see a battle in which the captain does not con the ship by himself.

    Cheers and keep up the good work 🙂


    • Hey, Carlo! So glad you enjoyed the book (even with a little cheese to harden your arteries).

      I’d be happy to clarify. On USN surface ships, they are ALWAYS conned from the bridge, usually by a very junior officer acting as Conning Officer providing rudder and engine orders to a Helmsman. The Conn is overseen by a somewhat more seasoned, but still junior officer known as the Officer of the Deck (OOD). The Conn is a learning position on your way to becoming OOD, but the OOD is not allowed to give direct orders to the Helm. He may (and does) order around the Conning Officer, but the Conn always issues the orders to the Helm in a specific manner, with verbatim repeat-backs. If the OOD orders the Helmsman directly, he has de facto “taken the Conn” and in effect relieved the Conning Officer. Now, to further complicate matters, you have to discuss the Tactical Action Officer (TAO), the CO, the XO, and the Navigator. The TAO stays down in CIC. He can’t see outside, so he cannot safely Conn the ship. But, like the OOD, he can give maneuvering orders/direction to the Bridge if the tactical situation demands it. It is up to the bridge to do what the TAO orders as long as it does not immediately stand the ship into greater danger. The TAO fights the ship. As a watch position like OOD and the Conn, it rotates among the senior officers or the Department Heads. The TAO can direct the ship’s maneuvers, employ sensors, and if needed, fire weapons in defense of the ship ALL WITHOUT ANY PERMISSION FROM THE CO. The CO qualifies these officers for their duties and has given them permission to take those actions. If the CO loses faith in them, he can fire them, but they are authorized to carry out the ship’s duties without any input from the CO. Offensive use of weapons (like firing Tomahawks) does still require the CO’s direct authorization, which you saw in that chapter. The CO and XO can be anywhere. They don’t have a watch position. During General Quarters, the CO is usually down in CIC and the XO is either up on the bridge, or down in Damage Control Central. If the CO is in CIC, he can either give the orders, or allow the TAO to continue to direct things and only interrupt if he disagrees, which is known as Command By Negation. This is what CDR Jones did in the chapter, since he had just arrived on scene and did not have adequate situational awareness to override Nathan. The reason this is the way it is in reality, is that the ship is constantly moving and conducting tasks. There is no way the CO can directly control it all, at all times. Plus, he has a responsibility to train his officers to one day be CO’s and XO’s themselves. And none of this even mentions the layers upon layers of junior officers and enlisted personnel that also act autonomously, under the same strictures of Command by Negation that the TAO, OOD, and Conn operate under with the CO. Every ship is a complex corporate organism. It ain’t simple. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Shayne! LANCERS INTO THE LIGHT is 60% done. I’d hoped to have it done by the end of 2015, but was hit by a change in work and some family stuff. I’m getting back on track now, though, so I’m hoping to finish and edit it soon.

  18. Tom,
    I just finished reading “A Sword Into Darkness”…. I couldn’t put it down… It was an edge of my seat read for three days… Wow!!! GREAT BOOK!! Looking forward to find out where that wormhole goes…. 🙂

  19. Hi Tom,
    First and foremost, thank you for doing your homework, doing the math and sticking to hard science (well, apart from the magic photon engine 😉 ) more Hard scifi is always good. you definitely deserve your Atomic Rockets Seal of Approval (that’s where i found out about you actually).
    Another work of art that got Winchell Chung’s recognition is the wonderful video game Children of a Dead Earth, a hard scifi space combat sim with all the same stuff as your book: lasers, nukes, railguns, armor and red-hot radiators. Have you played it and if so, has it had an effect on the writing of the sequel? (if not i urge you to try, it seems you might enjoy it).
    I thouroughly enjoyed your book but a few details made some of it feel very weird. first: could you explain why the radiators on the Sword class Destroyers are chevron shaped, and not flat, the chevron arrangement feels very innefficient due to all radiators suffering excessive interreflection?
    other question: why is the taskforce at the end only composed of US, UK/commonwealth and German?? the UK and German fleets seems very much out of place in light of the much larger power of France and Russia’s space industry and relation to space research. i was also very much intrigued by the complete abscence of currently well advanced space (and military) powers like china or india. i understand the US’s relation with either might mot be ideal to say the least curently but is it too hard to imagine that in light of something like the Patron invasion, certain agreements could be reached when it comes to tech sharing even if for only propulsion, structural or manufacturing? The very mono-cultural charectiristic of the Earth defense fleet made it hard to really feel like they were defending all of humanity.
    Thanks for your great book and keep up the good writing! 🙂

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    • Yes! Thank you for the interest, Charles. I apologize it is taking so long to get the sequel out but I had a few things come up during the writing of Lancers. It is, however, back on track with the first half of the sequel complete and going off to reviewers and the second half in progress. I hope to have the draft done in the next 2 months and be published next quarter. In the meantime, I do have a new book out with the great Chris Kennedy. That one is the start of a new series unrelated to my first book. It is called the Mutineers Daughter and will be out on March 30th. The space combat in the new one is very reminiscent to that from A sword Into Darkness. I hope you’ll give it a try and please stay on the lookout for Lancers when it launches!

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  24. First off, let me state that I loved Sword Into Darkness. It hit all the right notes for me, with the slight exception that Eastern and Asian nations barely had a mention in the coalition, if at all.

    That quibble aside, I have to ask… where the heck is Lancers into the Light? According to your reply above, it is now overdue by nearly a year. So what’s going on? No updates to your blog either? Come on man we’re salivating here!

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