Monday, June 15, 2009

June Release: The Sea-Wagon of Yantai

The Sea-Wagon of Yantai by Steven R. Southard
Historical Fiction/Folklore, 5000 Words
$2.50 US
Flame Rating: 0 Flames
Cover Art © 2009 by Amanda Kelsey
Edited by Diana Rubino
Copyedited by Erin Cramer
Layout and Book Production by Ally Robertson
eBook: 978-1-926704-01-2Print: 978-1-926704-09-8

No overt violence
Aftermath of battle scene described
Off-stage suicide
Suitable for Young Adult


In 206 B.C., China is torn by warring dynasties. A young warrior, Lau, receives orders to verify the legend of a magic wagon that can cross rivers unseen. He encounters Ning, the wagon-maker in the seaside village of Yantai. Ning has constructed an unusual wagon that can submerge, travel along the bottom of the Bay of Bohai, and surface in safety—the world’s first practical submarine.

Ning enjoys the peace and beauty of his undersea excursions and will not allow the military to seize his wagon or learn its secrets. Lau must bring the valuable weapon back to his superior. In the hands of these two men rest the future of the submarine, as an instrument of war or exploration.


“Ah, Ning, with this machine, you have given birth to a truly modern age,” Lau marveled. He needed to find out if Ning would be receptive to his plans or not. “With this chariot, one can do so much more than merely watch fish. Troops could cross deep rivers, bays, seas, and even the great eastern ocean. No lookout on shore would see them coming. The great Sun Tzu tells us we must use surprise for a successful invasion, and we must travel by unexpected routes. But even he could never have imagined an underwater chariot. What a marvelous engine of war! Have you thought of these things, Ning?”
The old man looked at him in horror, then frowned. “You told me you were a traveler who enjoyed watching fish.”
“Think of this,” Lau went on. “Imagine a chain of your chariots linked by stout ropes, emerging from the water up onto an enemy’s beach. It would appear as a dragon rising from the sea to any lookout ashore. He would be too scared to send his alarm signal.” Lau had to get this chariot to his Lion, along with the secret for making more. The silly old man was wasting time observing gobies while the Qin armies could be using the machines for sneak attacks.
Ning shook his head. “I did not build this wagon for war. You have deceived me with a lie. We must go back now. Kindly rotate the wheel in the opposite direction.”

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