next chapter show table of contents previous chapter
go home
make text bigger make text smaller



I grew up in a big, crazy family. None of my clannies are based on members of my family, but the way the clan takes care of each other is the way my family took care of each other, and still does. Thanks Mom, Dad, Jim, Teri, Kathy, Julie, Steve, Thom, Susan, and Anne.

Thanks to Benji, Emily, and David, who grew up with Callie.

Thanks to my writing group members Will Carr, Rebecca Carlson, Julie Ransom, Kristin South, and Steve Taylor. This book would not exist without you.

Thanks to everyone who read early drafts and gave feedback. To an author, there’s no higher praise than hearing you stayed up late reading when you should have been doing your homework.

Thanks to Todd, Shawn, and Kay Moon for writing advice.

Thanks to Writing Excuses for weekly encouragement.

Thanks to Guy Haglund, AARoads, and Google Earth for allowing me to travel without leaving my couch.

Thanks to Wikipedia and everyone who contributes to it.

Thanks to Scott Livingston of Wahoo Docks for help with the aluminum dock scene.

Thanks to Master Sergeant Baker for help with Humvee details.

Thanks to the Utah State Railroad Museum for help with locomotive research.

Thanks to Kirsten and Chris Barksdale. Without your perseverance and artistic vision, the cover would never have happened.

Finally, thanks to AM General for designing the Humvee, a vehicle with so much personality that soldiers treat it like a member of their team.

What’s Real

Fantasy authors can make up rules for their own magic systems. The fun of writing science fiction is that the author must try to follow the rules of an existing magic system called “science.” All of the science and technology in this book was carefully researched, and either exists, or is remotely possible. If you think you’ve caught a mistake I’ve made, please go to and let me know about it!

To add realism, I use a number of brand names and trademarks in this book. The companies who own the trademarks and brands do not endorse my book, and I received no money for mentioning any product.

I knew Jon could not possibly be the first person to say, “Where there’s still life, there’s still hope,” but I was surprised at how far back the quote actually goes. Publius Terentius Afer said it in 163 B.C.: “Modo liceat vivere, est spes.” And he was probably quoting an earlier author.

Catfish, Alligator Gar, and Paddlefish currently live in the Mississippi river. The monsters Callie describes are what I believe would happen with those fish if humans were to disappear. 

Burmese pythons are already taking over the Florida everglades. There isn’t a problem with tigers, elephants, or yellow-banded poison dart frogs. Yet.

Biologists are still debating how many individuals a species needs in order to survive and repopulate. If you want to read more about this topic, the California condor, the northern elephant seal, the whooping crane, and the European bison all came back from very small populations.

The American Railworks company does not exist, but my fictional “DC-700” locomotive is based on several real locomotives made by GE Transportation and Electro-Motive Diesel.

The hidden apartment in Cinderella’s Castle really exists.

Satellite dishes in the northern hemisphere do point south. Go outside and check!

Pippen’s miniature oxygen cutting torch does not exist, but it should.

The Brigham Young University Conference Center exists, and I can’t tell you how delighted I was recently when I saw they were going to host a conference on bioengineering. Time to stock up on Tang!