May Day

There’ll be dancing around the May Pole! To Fire Called was published last night and is available right now on Amazon.

Yes, it’s only available on Amazon.

Yes, I’ll be putting the paperback together ASAP.

Yes, Podium has the file and will put out the Audible version as soon as they can.

No, I’m not publishing another book this month.

Next in line is Suicide Run but it will be at least two months – probably more – before it’s out.


  1. Arthur says:

    Nice work look forward to yet another enjoyable couple of days of reading.(I’m really slow reader)

    Thanks Nathan.

  2. Francis says:

    Just purchased!, Dang these make me happy! I sure do miss your narration and music selection though in the podcasts. Utter peace and joy it brought me.

  3. Yea! Got it! Weโ€™re leaving for Greece on Thursday, and Iโ€™m actually looking forward to ten hours hunched up back in tourist class.

  4. Leon E. Zimlich says:

    Congratulations! I downloaded it last night and am knee-deep in it. Thank you.

    You say that Suicide Run is next, I’ll be looking forward to it. Whenever it drops. I hope you are still kicking Cape Grace around — I so enjoyed South Coast.

    Thanks again.

  5. A.B. Dada says:

    Bought! Now I can stop hammering your site with refreshes 5x a day, lol.

  6. Megan Jones says:

    Thank you, sir! I discovered your writing only recently, and fell in love with it. My commute was so much nicer with your audiobooks in my ears! I’ve bought your last couple of books, and am looking forward to more of the same. Congrats!

  7. Charlie Russel says:

    A question on economics, Nathan. Do you get full $$ when we chose to use Kindle Unlimited, or do you do better when we buy? Frankly, both are options for me, but only if you get good compensation when I choose KU.

    • Nathan says:

      I get about a half buck more for the buy over the borrow.

      Do whatever’s better for YOU. I’m good either way.

      • Charlie Russel says:

        What I will do, then, is KU now, and when the Audible book comes out, buy and WhisperSync. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d end up buying eventually regardless, since I have no intention of renewing KU. Just not enough books in it I’m willing to read.

  8. I’m curious to know if the author gets anything when I loan the book. I see that your book can be loaned to another person for 14 days.

    • Nathan says:

      Not that I know of

      But the upside for ME is that I might get another fan from it.

      Loan Quarter Share! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Pat Miller says:

    Thank you Nathan. I KNEW there was a reason that I had to read the first 8 again (just finished last night). Will really look forward to this.

    Now, I get to ask…..any more Smugglers, Shamans, etc. in the wings?

  10. Thanks for making this a very Happy Birthday for me!!!

    I was just sitting down to read my way through some of the more obscure scifi on Amazon, I have read pretty much everything I know I like, when I decided to check and see what you have been up to!!!

  11. John wright says:

    Just finished it. Fastest ever read anything in my life. Amazing as always. Just wondering if the smuggler series and this series are both entwined as you writing. That as you write each book it changes your voice on the other series at all. Thank Nathan for an incredible read and an enjoyable universe.

  12. Bill K. says:

    Thanks Nathan. Just bought this morning. If I KU it and buy it do you get paid for both?

  13. Marc Williams says:

    Finished! Awesome as always. I just don’t know what it is about your books – I can read them again and again, and they never get old. Will buy the audible version as soon as it’s out, too. Can’t wait for the next ones. Great job, Sar!

  14. Stephen says:

    Enjoyed reading it but the ending could’ve been a bit longer (meeting Brill, discussion of her stay, marriage, condition (Hungry?) and release (TIC Marines?). Left unresolved issues including the mega transport.

    • Nathan says:

      Brill was never slated for page time in this book. I’m sorry you were expecting something there. Of all the things about this book I thought people would have trouble with, I never expected that one.

      The book could have been longer, but the story ended so – in keeping with my tradition – I ended the book. ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. Michael Armand says:

    I just finished to fire called and I am chomping at the bit for the next book in this series. I am so sad I am going to have to wait in undisclosed amount of time for the next one. This series and traders tales rekindeled my love of reading.

    • Nathan says:

      Well, it’s not so much “undisclosed.” That would imply I have a schedule and the ability to keep it.

      It’s more like “undetermined” because I have zero idea when the next book will be done.

      Believe me. I want it done *almost* as much as you do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Robert Wagner says:

    Well, I was excited. Now I find “This title is not available in your country” (Canada).

    Well, maybe one day you’ll be able to take my money.

    • Odd.

      I’ve sold almost 50 units in already. I started selling there on May 1.

      I’m not sure why you can’t buy it now. It’s certainly available there.

      • Charlie Russel says:

        Available at at the following link: In both buy or KU. (Interesting, didn’t know KU was even available at, since my usual account for ebooks is But I do maintain a separate account for, just for the few books I can’t get easily in the US.

        • Robert Wagner says:

          Hmm, click your link and I see This title is not currently available for purchase. It does depend on which country your Kindle is registered in. It forced me to update a few months ago.

          If it’s supposed to be available, I’ll try to contact Amazon.

          • Robert Wagner says:

            Aha! I contacted Amazon and there was a muck-up with my account. Somehow my Kindle account was tied to a US address, though registered as in Canada (and didn’t match the addresses on file for non-Kindle purchases or billing). Sorted this out and we’re in business.

            Wonder if I can finish it before the end of the day!



  17. Tim Roberts says:

    Wow. To Fire Called was all could have hoped for and more. Excellent work Nathan. Thank you so much for your wonderful characters and sneaky plot lines. Loved it. Keep up the great writing

  18. Craig Lewis says:

    All your fault Nathan.

    I was planning to get a decent night’s sleep. Oh, gee, I wonder if Seeker 2 is out. Fire up the paperwhite…oh!!! Indeed it has!!!


    BTW, Chief Stevens is awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ Pip is a bit of a problem this time, at least at this point (around halfway through before my eyes staged a coup around 3:30 this morning). And the hiring hall was hilarious. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also love the nod to Milk Run. And that it’s *just* a nod.

  19. Chris in Tokyo says:

    Just finished. Felt as if the end could have been expanded some more but maybe Im just being greedy for more tales!

  20. tuppenny says:

    Stayed up late last night to finish. And left a review on Amazon. Thank you. I do want to smack Pip very hard though. I do hope he shapes up. Nice to know that Brill is still around. The mention of Breshau was a nice touch.
    And I am amused that Ish is starting to pay a bit more attention to his appearance. He seemed to have let that aspect of his personality go even before he split up from his wife.
    I am looking forward to the audio.

  21. Craig Lewis says:

    Finished this morning. I agree, the transition at the end was a bit abrupt; had to double back on the dates. The final chapter’s 2 months later. Ohh, ok. Wow, that still happened pretty fast, I’d say. But perhaps this’ll be covered in the next book.

    I have no problem that you parked the story here. The plot threads resolved. The character threads didn’t, but hey, life’s like that. And I’m thinking you’ve got at least 3 such to resolve; Ish isn’t the only Seeker here.

    A general comment on the whole Solar Clipper oeuvre. Ome of my measures is, would I like to be transported into this universe and live there? HECK yeah. It’s not all sweetness and light; Bad Things Happen. Bad people are out there. Have a wing man…and be a good wing man when needed. Work honestly, you can do OK. And I love Toe Hold, if High Line is a bit too straitlaced for you.

  22. tuppenny says:

    Any chance of Milk run coming out in audio?

    • Nathan says:

      Yes. Milk Run will come out in audio.

      Probably not before the Tanyth Fairport stories which means probably not this year.

      I want to get all three of the Smuggler’s Tales done and produce them all at once with the same voice talent for all three. That’s easier if I have them all ready for narration when we find the voice artist to do them.

      No, it won’t be me.

      • tuppenny says:

        Lovely. And thank you for trying to get the same voice for the series. The audios for Elizabeth Moon’s last fantasy series used 3 different readers. Threw me right out of the story.
        And I loved the books.

  23. Sherri M says:

    Congratulations Nathan! Just purchased, and will be reading this weekend, after I re-read In Ashes Born.

  24. Just finished, and enjoyed the read as much as any of your previous books. I agree with the others who post above that the end of the book was overly rushed, but the end point was very nice. Who doesn’t like ending a book chomping at the bit for the next? Felt the editing in this book was quite decent too, though a little repetitive around ship jumps. Definitely a book to be proud of.

  25. The real question is did Ish and Pip get a legitimate can from Felder, or one from barn 9? I would be curios as how they dealt with the fact that they were unable to deliver as promised, and how that might play into the future? Great job Sar. As others have said, the end was a little abrupt, but for Ish, the end of the story always comes to soon. Looking forward to the next in the smuggler’s series

  26. Great read. Couldn’t put it down. All of your books are in my library. The ending on this one left me wanting yo know Brill’s story now. Looking forward to Suicide Run!

  27. Allison says:

    About a year ago I picked up Quarter Share and fell in love with the story and characters… immediately read everything else in the series and just now downloaded the latest. Will finish over the next few days… Love your writing, minimal cursing, leaving intimate moments to the imagination without descriptions of too much details, and I really love the tech/navy/procedural bits threaded so neatly into the overall. Hope you don’t tire of writing any time soon….

  28. Just finished the entire series again, including “To Fire Called.” Can’t wait for Suicide Run!

  29. Carl Gregory says:

    I just finished reading it and am looking forward to the next. Keep upโ€‹the great work!

  30. I was so excited when I finished another book and was browsing for something else and found this on the list. I love your work! I find myself starting at the beginning and reading through all of them every few months. FOR YEARS I have done this. keep up the amazing work. Out of curiosity since I try to read them in time line order these days what is the date of the first chapter of smugglers so that I know where to leave off in my next round?

    • Nathan says:

      South Coast 09/15/2304
      Light In The Dark 03/15/2333
      Quarter Share 08/13/2351
      Half Share 02/15/2352
      Full Share 04/23/2352
      Double Share 05/22/2358
      Milk Run (Exile) 05/25/2363
      Suicide Run (in process) 03/15/2366 (subject to change)
      Captainโ€™s Share 08/22/2371
      Ownerโ€™s Share 12/10/2372
      In Ashes Born 05/25/2374
      To Fire Called 01/3/2375

  31. Robert Long says:

    I started the book this morning and finished it tonight. Couldn’t put it down just like the rest of Mr. Lowell’s books! I was glad to see more development of Chief Stevens and Al. I didn’t like that Pip went from being a trusted friend to what seemed to me to be a manipulative, lying jerk. That’s my problem though, not a problem with the book. I did however have to do a double take and go back on more than one occasion to see if I missed a whole chapter. For example, when the Cherny arrived in Bar None, I couldn’t figure out how they got there and met Felder. There wasn’t really a segue to arrive and be called to Jefe’s office, given a cargo of meat to be delivered to, of all places, the one place NOBODY knows about. Also, the two month gap to the last chapter didn’t cover any of the questions Ish brought up in the prior chapter. It seems as if there’s a chapter missing. It didn’t bother me that we didn’t get to see Brill though. That just makes me eager for the next book! Overall, I am very pleased with the book and look forward to reading it over a few more times. Thanks Mr. Lowell for another great escape!

  32. Oh great news! Thats excellent to hear!

  33. William Adkerson says:

    Just finished To Fire Called. Very good, now looking forward to rereading it in a couple of weeks. You do a great job in making Ishmael Wong seem like a real person. Thank you for giving me such enjoyment reading and rereading your books.

  34. Captain, in my opinion “To Fire Called” is the best Ishmael Wang book yet. Well worth the wait.

  35. Stephen says:

    Before I say the rest I just want to say that your series is one of my all time favorites. You’ve created a world and a character that is so unique and wonderful that I’ve read every Ish book multiple times. I borrowed and then bought the books because I’ve enjoyed them so much and wanted to show my appreciation to your pocketbook.

    But, I get that “high line” space is more regulated and is thus harder to generate profits. But at the same time being able to generate back the cost of the ship in just a few jumps smuggling goods in the deep dark also didn’t sit well with me.

    And the reason is arbitrage. If prices between the regulated space and unregulated space were really that different a whole lot more players would get involved regardless of the legalities.

    A recent example of this concept would be with Bitcoins. In the early days it was possible using just a simple desktop setup to “mine” enough bitcoins to be profitable and if you held onto those coins until today you’d have a very nice profit…even millions perhaps. But that trend did not last…once it was noticed it quickly became a race to the bottom and now you need huge setups to get *ANY* coins. And when you include power costs your ROI is almost always going to be negative…even if you try the best “alternate” coins.

    Anyway, if the deep dark was actually that profitable compared to the high line it wouldn’t take long for spacers to figure that out and “flood” the market. Once that happened the profitability would go right out the door. Obviously the risks involved would include a premium price…but I have a hard time believing you could recover your costs of capital so quickly.

    To me this is one of the major failings of this story. All the other stories had a plausible economy with either basic shipping or some kind of niche offering allowing greater than average profits. It is truly the strongest part of “Owner’s Share” in how you describe his competitive advantage so clearly.

    But in “To Fire Called” you never really cover WHY the ship allows those profits. And at the end of the day it just seems completely unrealistic in comparison to the world you’ve built.

    But that is just my .02.


    • They weren’t able to recoup the cost of the ship. That was 3B. They were able to recoup the cost of the 1B in repairs.

      Yes, it’s high but remember that only the people who know about Toe-Holds play there. Few of them are people who play well with others so running large ships is not as common. Fast packets with small crews are de rigeur with a smattering of larger players (like Saltzmann).

      You’re right, it’s high. Is it unreasonably high? Maybe. I’m not sure the Bitcoin arbitrage is a comparable model.

      But I gotta give you credit for getting this deep into the story. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Stephen says:

        Thanks for the response. I will grant that Bitcoin isn’t necessarily a great comparison. But anytime above average profits are made somewhere others will notice and move into the market if possible. As Phoenix Freight’s success becomes known I would think others would take notice and want into the market. Like the poster below says the crew will talk or be noticed as they spend their huge shares once they get paid out and take shore leave.

        So I suppose these “early days” of success may just be like any other new venture that finds a market before any one else does. So thanks again for your wonderful world and many successes in future works!

  36. Bought it and read it three times already ๐Ÿ™‚

    The economy being described is interesting to me too. Working in the financial sector in NY does that to you ๐Ÿ™‚

    From the previous post and response, it appears that you are saying that it is hard to get larger groups of people in Toe Hold space to work together on larger ships (i.e. the Chernyakova has space for about 50 crew and officers). When it comes to stations, people are able to work together to build and maintain very large stations as well as the underlying resource production systems. However, instead of a few very large corporations controlling the entire economy, you have many smaller outfits working to provide a living for their members while contributing something to the local economy. While there might be a large outfit running the smelters in a system (because of the money needed to set it up) they don’t control the mining operations.

    This probably means that banks (the financial sector) aren’t as involved in financing most operations. Instead most new outfits are started based on money pooled by people who know one another. This means that the company size is limited by how many people with money are willing to invest in a company. What is interesting is why the old owner of the Chernyakova didn’t do what Ish did. If it had carried cargoes between stations, it would have made enough money to have a full locker of spares. Whether it could have hired qualified people for crew is another question.

    Ish is in an interesting position. His connections in High Line space mean he has access to money (even though this time he isn’t going to a financial services firm for it) while his experience and reputation allow him to attract a professional crew. The resulting ship and professional crew allows people in Toe Hold space to do business with him with relative confidence that their goods will arrive etc. In effect, he is arbitraging the strengths of the High Line world to do business in Toe Hold space.

    Several things are unclear to me:
    – Why isn’t Saltzman taking more advantage of straddling the two spaces to make more money like Ish is?
    – Why aren’t crews lining up to work in Toe Hold space? Even without the bonus over union rates that Ish is paying, the shares have got to be great! I am sure that any time the crew is in High Line space the information about what is going on will leak to their friends on station.
    – Why does the High Line world attempt to censor Toe Hold space from memory? Even at its peak, the USSR didn’t try to say the US didn’t exist.
    – If some resources are moving between High Line space and Toe hold space, why doesn’t the CPJCT simply regularize the activity? Since they already have corporate and CPJCT worlds why not just acknowledge Toe Hold worlds and come up with rules for conduct (taxes?) at the boundaries? Is this what Ish will accomplish?

    Thanks for creating this fascinating universe!

    • tuppenny says:

      And why did the original owners of the Chernyakova treat it so badly – not very old a ship so still a major investment. Its like buying a Rolls-Royce and not putting air in the tires. Only idea Ive got is that it was stolen.

  37. John McKee says:

    I finished it last night, reading slowly to savor every word.

    But now, I think I’m suffering post-Nathan depression. Can’t wait for more.

  38. Little late to the party, but read the whole thing in a few hours. Can’t wait for the Mexican installment!!

  39. Josh Ackerman says:

    It seemed that we had a discussion of how different Toe Hold Space is compared to High Line. Pip, Al, Chief, everyone gave the same speech. It got tiring and then annoying. Liked the book, could have used one more edit.


  40. Richard Ragan says:

    Is it available via createspace? I’d hate to have an empty spot on my bookshelf for this one.

  41. Sandra Perham says:

    Got it read it love it. Thank you so very much