East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Free Ebook


In 2006 I wrote a novella, called Gli Anni del Tuono (The Years of Thunder) – Renaissance warfare in a world in which Frederic II had developed mecha or, if you like, mobile suits.
In the 16th century, chivalry means being a good mathematician and engineer, riding a fulminate-powered big robot in battle, surrounded by your peers.
But not all campaigns turn out for the best, and back at home, the serfs are restless.

thunder cover titleThe story – heavily influenced by a great “what if” article by Matthew Rossi – was published the following year in Alia Italia, a short story anthology published in Turin by Coop-Studi.
My piece – which received good reviews – was graced by a beautiful painting by my friend Dalmazio Frau, a fine artist and a well-respected illustrator.

Two years later, together with other Alia conspirators, we were offered the opportunity of having some of our works read by the editors of a Chinese SF magazine.
We picked what we thought was our best work, and I translated the stories in English.
I re-edited my Renaissance mecha story, and changed the title to Clad in Steel and Thunder, which I thought was rather fitting.

As it normally happens (I guess) when an author translates his own work, translation also meant editing.

But once the work was done, it was suggested that a story in which European knights in mobile suits tried to invade the Chinese Empire might not be appreciated in China.
My story was dropped, and I hastily traslated a much shorter piece, called Tyrannosaurus Tex.

Our Chinese adventure ended in almost nothing.
My T.Tex story was rejected on the ground of it being not fantastical enough (apparently the Chinese public is rather blasee when it comes to gun-slinging dinosaurs in alternate-history Texas). Other stories were variously rejected for other reasons.
But, well, it was worth the try, right?

Afterwards Clad in Steel and Thunder sank in a portable HD, and I almost forgot about the thing.
It resurfaced a few days back, and I thought – why not offer it to the readers of Karavansara?
After all, this is my “writer blog”!

I did a quick revision, straightened the translation a bit, converted the thing into an epub.
Then I looked for a cover.

I searched for the original painting by my friend Dal, but it was nowhere to be found.
And Dal is off-grid, right now.
So I scanned the illustration from the actual pages of the anthology, and manipulated it somewhat to turn it into a suitable cover.
The result is fair, but alas it spoils much of the artist finer craft.
I take full responsibility for this travesty – and hereby publicly promise I’ll buy a dinner to my friend Dal, to atone, the first time we meet.

Anyway, here it is – my story, Clad in Steel and Thunder, and free of charge.
All I ask is for you to post a Tweet or a Facebook status, telling the world about my story, and the fact that you downloaded it – to help spread the word about my work, and my blog.
The Social Whisper service takes care of the whole thing.
Just press the button…

Clad in Steel and Thunder

Do not have Twitter or Facebook?
Still want to read my thing?
Send me a mail – there’s a button in the sidebar – and I’ll mail you a link from which you can download the epub file.

And this is it.
Hope you like it!

Feedback is welcome.
Comments are open!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

5 thoughts on “Free Ebook

  1. You have my e-mail adress 🙂


  2. It sounds great! ^_^
    Just downloaded and twitted… Now it’s next in queue on the eReader! 😉


  3. got it! next in reading list.
    thanks for sharing


  4. Nice stuff indeed. It will worth a second read soon, due to my being in trouble with reading in English added to lack of sleep of thhese few days and lack of historical knowledge, but even if I have the *strong* feeling that I missed (more than) something, I had pretty much fun with the whole ucronia thing. It’s a world that could give something more, too


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.