Thomas Scargen hastily returns to Sirati to learn the startling truth of his father’s past archeological expeditions. This revelation sets him on a whirlwind odyssey that will take him from the aeroways of New Amsterdam to the waterways of Atlantis, all in an effort to find the next Gauntlet stone. For this mission to succeed, Thomas and his motley companions will have to pilot massive sportifs in a robotic football game, master the elements of fire and water, and discover the lost secrets of the Ancient Mages, all while battling a host of new enemies—from a horde of bone demons to the White Wolves of Ontinok. However, the dreaded Necromancer and the Grimm Legion have other plans for Scargen . . . Thomas must embrace his destiny as Bearer and rely on the strength and courage of his companions, old and new, to help face this evolving darkness. But even they might not be able to save him from . . . The Dragon Within.
Casey Caracciolo spent six years crafting the first installment in the Scargen series, The Shadow of the Gauntlet. His first novel promises to be the start to an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy experience. “It’s like the best parts of Science Fiction mingled with Fantasy staples, with a healthy sprinkling of Comics and Anime,” says Caracciolo. “Dragons, vampires, robots, and fireballs shooting out of people’s hands. What more do you want?”
Caracciolo spent his afternoons working as a bartender while compiling notes and sketches on the backs of the special menus as he worked at Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope. “Ideas would just pop in my head, and if I didn’t get them down as soon as possible, I was scared they’d be lost to the cosmos.” He would make detailed outlines and draw characters just to get the concepts on paper. And using these notes, he’d go home and write, and rewrite, and rewrite some more. In the summer of 2012, this dedication paid off and the manuscript for the first book in the Scargen series, The Shadow of the Gauntlet was complete.
But now Caracciolo faced another dilemma. Should he go the traditional publishing route, or try to do things his way?
After researching the choices, the decision was made to self publish. “It just seemed like a ridiculously impersonal process for something I’ve spent six years of my life on, and the more I read, the more I realized that the traditional publishing model is antiquated,” explains Caracciolo. “Who are they to say what I can and can’t write, or worse, what you as a reader can and can’t read? With all the advancements in digital printing and online marketing, you just don’t need them anymore.
But he needed funding to make it happen. To help make The Shadow of the Gauntlet a reality, Caracciolo decided to use the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
Caracciolo went to work creating a Kickstarter project that would help people understand his vision and help him reach his dream. The project was selected as a staff pick on Kickstarter and was Geekadelphia’s Kickstarter project of the week. Geekadelphia described the book as covering “well worn, well loved territory, but puts a fresh spin on the magic, tech, and fantasy that we’ve all grown up loving. A Shakespeare quoting, whiskey-swilling werewolf style spin.”
The project was a success, and in January, with the help of 109 backers, from across the country, Caracciolo raised over $7,000. The Shadow of the Gauntlet was another step closer to being a reality.
This support with his own determination has spurred Caracciolo to do what he has done. His background in animation helped Caracciolo when it came to the design and graphic elements of such an undertaking. Everything you see that has any component of design, Caracciolo has had a hand in, from the Scargen merchandise to the cover of The Shadow of the Gauntlet. “It’s not enough to write a good book anymore. We have a brand, and I think that will help get people to the writing. My idea is to be as approachable as I can be. Accessibility is important to me. I understand what it is like to be invested in a series, and it’s my hope that the reader loves these characters as much as I do. The least I can do is be there when they want to talk about it.”
I'm not even done with this book yet but I'm already giving it five stars. This sequel takes everything that was narsh about the first book, multiplies it by ten, then adds even more. I can't wait to finish it, but I also don't want it to end.
Update - 7/13/2015 Okay I finished this book. I really didn't want it to end! It's the mark of a good writer to improve upon the work that he's already created, and Caracciolo has done just that. It's the type of book that you fall asleep reading, not because it's boring but because you just can't put it down. It's full of twists and surprises, wonderful characters (even the bad guys are pretty awesome), and fantastical settings. I really can't wait for the next one!
If you like sci-fi and fantasy, this series is a must read. Like Thanksgiving Dinner, I sigh with great relief and satisfaction, and somehow, still want more... I was delighted that some of the backstory for my favorite characters was filled in. We continue to find humanity in both our heroes and villains... The second edition of the S.O.T.G series moves at a great pace and never wants for action. Furthermore it seems that I finally found an author who isn't afraid to take risks. Battles and events are not so one sided as to seem predictable and yes, there are plot twists that I didn't see coming.