The Iron Admiral - Greta van der Rol

'The Iron Admiral' was the first book I ever wrote. I started it about five years ago and over the years, it has certainly changed. The book has evolved, as it were, from a crude first attempt to a polished piece. At least, I think so. It has been a journey of discovery, for me and for my craft.

I was going to write science fiction, because that's what I like to read. Not the heavy, hard science fiction, though. I liked the action-packed space opera you find in Star Wars, but I wanted a bit more science fact. So the Iron Admiral came into being and with it, first thoughts. I was always going to have an admiral at the centre and a female computer whiz as the other MC. From there my history degree took over as I looked for a plausible setting for my story. My universe would have a vast alien Empire which was starting to crumble at the edges, while the expanding human Confederacy would populate only one spiral arm. We would have known about each other for a long time but tried to avoid getting in each other’s way until both sides couldn’t help it. You could say it was a little like a crumbling Roman Empire encountering the expanding Huns – or maybe the other way around. The theme of the book was always going to be that truth is very much a matter of perspective, a lesson I’ve learnt from studying history.

I've loved the Star Wars universe for years – but always with belief suspended. My aliens would not be humanoid and I would try to ensure my scenarios were supported by science. No flying through space into a massive hangar on a battlecruiser without going through an airlock, for instance.

One thing I wanted to do with my admiral protagonist was to show that these very senior men are sometimes faced with very difficult decisions. It's easy enough for Lieutenant Smith to indulge in devil-may-care heroics – but admirals can't do that. There's too much at stake.

I have to admit it was something of a surprise to me when I ended up writing a romance. I can honestly say I've never read an entire Mills & Boon book, although I did enjoy the 'Angelique' historical series back in the day. Both Elizabeth Moon and Anne McCaffrey (two of my favourites) included some very mild sex scenes in their books – it worked for me, but I wanted to take it one step further – without going as far as erotica.

The Iron Admiral books are fast-paced adventures with a romance arc. Here's the blurb for book one, 'The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy'.

Politics. Hatred. Star systems on the brink of war. A species under threat of extinction from a deadly virus.

Ex-Admiral Chaka Saahren goes undercover to discover the truth. Systems Engineer, Allysha Marten, takes one last job to rid her of debts and her cheating husband. On Tisyphor, deadly secrets about the past explode, as Allysha and the undercover agent scramble to prevent the coming holocaust and xenocide.

When the ex-Admiral’s identity is revealed, she must come to terms with her feelings for a man she thinks caused the death of innocent civilians, including her father.

In a race against time, Allysha must set aside her conflicted emotions and trust a man she barely knows. Saahren must convince the woman he loves to find the truth as he once more assumes his position as … The Iron Admiral.

It isn't the end of the adventure, though. By the end of the book Allysha might be reconciled with Saahren to a limited extent, but she sure isn't ready to marry him. What's more, Allysha's estranged husband has been tasked by the shadowy Galactic People's Republic to deliver Allysha by whatever means he wishes. If he doesn't – he dies. And so begins 'The Iron Admiral: Deception', as fast paced and action packed as the first book.

Grand Admiral Chaka Saahren has the rewards of rank…
…but he doesn't have Systems Engineer Allysha Marten. Determined to keep her safe, Saahren will go to any lengths to win back the woman he loves. Allysha agrees to temporary employment by the Fleet, hoping to avoid at all costs the man she believes responsible for the death of innocent civilians, including her estranged father.

Sean O'Reilly has a plan…
…and it involves hijacking Allysha and convincing her, one way or another, to do just one more job—a job that would clear his debts and save his hide.

Allysha Marten must come to terms with her feelings…
…in the face of a reality that suggests she is a pawn in a growing power struggle, one where she will need all her skills and cunning to outwit a heinous plot that could result in the loss of billions of human lives.

When Allysha decides to tackle the conspirators on her own, she forces an impossible choice on… The Iron Admiral.

I had lots of fun writing them and I'm hoping that others will enjoy reading them. Although Saahren's and Allysha's stories are complete, I've set one more book in the same universe. That will be published next year. And yes, there may be others.


Greta van der Rol loves writing science fiction with a large dollop of good old, healthy romance. She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn't bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavours.

Buy the book from Smashwords  print

You'll find “The Iron Admiral: Deception” on


Liz said…
I admire you so much for sticking with this story. It's easy for us in this day and age of "quickies" to dash off a short hot one and move on to the next. I have a long project myself and reading about your process here has inspired me! good luck with your sales!

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