“I learned a useful lesson when writing Orphans of the Kraken: if you have an unsympathetic character who you don’t want the reader to hate, then write the story from their perspective. Looking back, this perhaps succeeded too well with Sergeant Tiresias, the central character of this short story. Written after, but released before, Imperial Glory, this short has a similar concept of exploring the consequences of a pivotal previous event. Tiresias, a survivor, is filled not so much by guilt as by anger, an anger that affects how he treats the young warriors he’s supposed to be training.
“Tiresias’s arc was one of self-realisation, of comprehending what he was doing and why he was doing it, and ultimately—once his ‘paternal’ role is challenged—seeking to protect those he previously disregarded.
“The brevity of short fiction is a wonderful discipline; there is no time for distractions and no need for them. In Orphans of the Kraken I hope I delivered a sense of character, an engaging plot-line, and a new piece of background to excite people about an otherwise almost-forgotten chapter.”