Saturday, June 5, 2021

Guest Post with W. Michael Gear - Adrift

Photo Content from W. Michael Gear

W. Michael Gear is a New York Times and international bestselling author with 17 million copies of his books in print. Married to bestselling author Kathleen O’Neal Gear, he holds a master’s degree in anthropology, has authored more than 50 novels, and has been translated into 29 languages. He has worked as a forensic anthropologist, was principal investigator in his own archaeological firm, and raised bison for 29 years. He was twice awarded Producer of the Year by the National Bison Association. His hobbies include shooting large-caliber rifles and long-distance touring on his Moto Guzzi named Sheela. Gear lives in Wyoming.


Thanks for having me back! And I am so deeply appreciative for the help when it comes to sharing the word about the Donovan novels. As a reminder, the Donovan series has been referred to as Deadwood meets Avatar.

The books are set on a remarkably rich planet 30 light years from Earth. Getting to Donovan, however, is fraught with danger. Only one in five survive the trip. Too many ships simply disappear, and others…well, you’ll have to read the books. Once people arrive, it’s to find remarkable wealth, and a deadly and perilous planet that is just enough like Earth to cause people to drop their guard. Life on Donovan has its own defenses, right down to the TriNA genetics.
  • 1)ADRIFT--though book #5 in the Donovan series--is a stand-alone novel dealing with the Maritime Unit, a group of oceanographers and marine biologists sent to conduct the initial exploration of Donovan’s oceans. First-time readers can discover Donovan along with the characters. No boring narrative. Background is woven into the story. ADRIFT takes us into new territory, while old and beloved characters, including Talina Perez, Kalico Aguila, Dek Taglioni, and folks at Port Authority and Corporate Mine deal with their own problems. And, as always, Donovan and its deadly wildlife continue playing for keeps.
  • 2) The Maritime Unit is the best and brightest Earth has to offer when it comes to ocean exploration. They’ve dealt with the harshest challenges Earth’s oceans can deliver. They’ve got the knowledge, the experience, and the technology. They’re not afraid of anything Donovan can dish out.
  • 3) They’ve just made a gruesome, ten-year voyage in the starship Ashanti, and barely survived. Now they think they are in their element.
  • 4) After their confinement in Ashanti, and under the leadership of Michaela Hailwood, the Maritime Unit has become an extended family; everything revolves around the children born during the transit from Solar System. The oldest is Felix, a precocious little boy who delights in both the Pod and sea around him. He is the ringleader for the rest of the children, including his best friends Sheena, Felicity, and Breez. But Donovan has already laid claim to them.
  • 5) The Maritime Unit has established a research base on a reef 500 kilometers out into the sea that will serve as a base for the mapping, exploration, and research. Equipped with the finest manned and unmanned technology, they expect to make names and careers as the first to document new species, locate vast mineral wealth and discover a whole new biology. They will be revered in the same breath as Darwin, Mendel, Bateson, and Linnaeus.
  • 6) Every assumption they have made will be very, very wrong.
  • 7) Donovan always plays its own game. For readers of the series, as dangerous as the land is, the oceans hold even greater terrors. And while the Maritime Unit is picked off, one by one by toothy predators, the greatest threat has already infected the children.
  • 8) The deadliest enemy is the one you refuse to recognize. And in the end, it will be the children who decide the Maritime Unit’s fate.
  • 9) As in the other novels in the series, Donovan always provides an unanticipated twist. Several of the reviewers have commented that ADRIFT is more like a classic Steven King horror novel, which gives me a great deal of delight. High praise for an archaeologist/anthropologist who writes from a scientific and cultural bent. Readers of the series should be delighted. They’re going to plumb the depths of a completely different Donovan.
  • 10) The good folks at DAW Books have already contracted for Donovan book #6. I’ll start writing it as soon as IMPLACABLE ALPHA is finished this fall. Expect book 6 in fall of 2022. What will Book 6 be about? It will be three years in the future. Time has come to turn our attention back to Kylee and her companion quetzal, Flute. The tree-top terror is still out there. And Kylee always holds a grudge and keeps a promise. She is now a young woman. Talk about a twist on the old “coming of age” story, her path is really complicated since Kylee is part quetzal and loathes anything having to do with Port Authority or humanity. And, of course, it’s been nearly a decade since the spacing of Turalon. It’s about time for The Corporation to make a return. In a big way. One that is going to pit Kalico Aguila, Talina Perez, and Dek against a leviathan. And we must never forget that Donovan has its own agenda.
When I initially pitched OUTPOST and the Donovan series to Sheila Gilbert at DAW Books, I sent her the first 280 pages. Essentially the book up to midpoint. (Structure is a very important part of making a novel work.) That’s where you leave your character hanging, asking “What’s going to happen next? Worked on Sheila. She bought OUTPOST as part of a three-book contract. We didn’t even dicker the price. When Sheila asked, “Do you have an idea for where the series is going?” I told her, “Hey, we’ve got an entire planet to explore. Not just all the continents and ecological zones, but the oceans as well. It’s all thriving with life. The possibilities are endless.”

For the reader, the “Journey to reading ADRIFT” is as simple as picking up the novel, turning to page one, and diving in. ADRIFT is as much a stand-alone novel as it is a series book. The reader can catch up in concert with the Maritime Unit—who are also newcomers.

My journey to the writing is as follows:

The series is set on a phenomenally metal-rich rich planet 30 lightyears from Earth. They call the planet Donovan, named after the first person to be eaten by a quetzal. (Note to reader: Don’t step out into the bushes to take a leak on Donovan.) In OUTPOST years have passed since the last ship arrived from Solar System, and the colony is failing. When, out of the blue, Turalon arrives in orbit with badly needed supplies, it also comes with a squad of corporate marines under the control of Corporate Supervisor Kalico Aguila. The Donovanians, who’ve overthrown Corporate governance, don’t take kindly to this. Novels thrive on conflict, and the story really takes off.

The second book, ABANDONED, centers on Kalico Aguila trying to take over a lost settlement that holds the keys to human survival on the planet. The people at Mundo Base have discovered how to keep the hostile forest at bay and farm successfully. A little girl named Kylee has genetically bonded with a young quetzal named Rocket. But, as is usual on Donovan, each decision turns out to be a mistake, and then the story really gets intense.

Clear back in the first book, Talina Perez was infected with a quetzal’s genetic material. Called TriNA, it’s a three-strand nucleic acid. Since organic chemistry is the same all over the universe, Donovanian life uses RNAs, similar proteins, and the laws of biology are the same as on Earth. In PARIAH, Talina has to integrate the molecular intelligence trying to take over her body and kill her. While, at the same time, a survey ship, the Vixen, appears in orbit with a renowned historical fugitive named Tam Benteen in charge. Benteen is the consummate human predatory assassin, and he’s set his eyes on Port Authority. After which--with Talina exhiled from town--things get really intense. The quetzals have been waiting their chance...and then Benteen opens a hole in the perimeter fence.

In the three years since PARIA, and the beginning of UNRECONCILED the colony has fallen on hard times. The survivors have continued to amass wealth, but Donovan has been whittling away at the numbers. Into this mix, Ashanti arrives. The journey, which was supposed to last two years, has taken ten due to a navigational error. To survive, the transportees were locked on Deck Three. There, as rations dwindled, they resorted to a weird cannibalistic cult called the Unreconciled. And now, having arrived above Donovan, the last seventy cannibals have to be let out of Deck Three. But where do you put people who eat other people and consider themselves to be the messianic salvation of the universe? Also aboard, and loyal to the crew, are Derek Taglioni and twenty-two members of the Maritime Unit. Dek comes from Corporate royalty. Now he’s landing on Donovan after ten years of swamping out the hydroponics. Making matters worse, he’s got an unsavory history with Kalico Aguila. She hates him. But when the Unreconciled lay a trap in their remote base, things get ugly.

Which leads us to ADRIFT. This is the story of the Maritime Unit. A group of oceanographers establishing a research base on a reef some five hundred kilometers out into the ocean. Suffice it to say, between beasts, human behavior, and Donovanian molecular intelligence, we can expect the situation to deteriorate. Sometimes it is the littlest of things that bring you down. One of my fans thinks I’ve somehow channeled Steven King with this novel. Meanwhile, Dek Taglioni has been infected by quetzal TriNA. First from Flute, and then irrevocably by Talina. Kalico’s Corporate Mine faces its own disasters, and things just spin out of control for everybody. But then, that’s what good storytelling is all about.

And we’re already contracted for Book N0. 6!

Welcome to Donovan!

The fifth book in the thrilling Donovan sci-fi series returns to a treacherous alien planet where corporate threats and dangerous creatures imperil the lives of the colonists.

The Maritime Unit had landed in paradise. After a terrifying ten-year transit from Solar System aboard the Ashanti, the small band of oceanographers and marine scientists were finally settled. Perched on a reef five hundred kilometers out from shore, they were about to embark on the first exploration of Donovan's seas. For the twenty-two adults and nine children, everything is new, exciting, and filled with wonder as they discover dazzling sea creatures, stunning plant life, and fascinating organisms.

But Donovan is never what it seems; the changes in the children were innocuous--oddities of behavior normal to kids who'd found themselves in a new world. Even then it was too late. An alien intelligence, with its own agenda, now possesses the children, and it will use them in a most insidious way: as the perfect weapons.

How can you fight back when the enemy is smarter than you are, and wears the face of your own child?

Welcome to Donovan.
You can purchase Adrift at the following Retailers:

 1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. I have dreamed of not having to wear a mask for a long time.

  2. I have been dreaming of travel a lot lately .

  3. "Is there something you've dreamed of doing for a long time?" Yes! Lots of somethings!

  4. I love the cover! The colors and graphics are great.

  5. I've dreamed of traveling to England. I hope to make it a reality soon.

  6. I've dreamed of remodeling my house, both inside and outside. Funds and pain have prevented me.

  7. Yes doing an epic road trip with my hubby!