Salamander Books

The Edge of the Envelope is composed of three books, The Black Salamander, The Stygian Skies, and The Darkened Moon. These books describe our world a few decades after contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. Below is a short introduction to the series followed by a brief description of each book.


Beyond the most far-flung planet of every solar system sheltering intelligent life lies an Envelope, an impenetrable barrier for those outside. All attempts to breach these Envelopes are in vain. No craft, satellite, probe, or projectile can enter them. No instrument can pierce them, no weapon shatter them. They are undetectable to the most sensitive equipment.

Although a tiny ball-bearing traveling through space, a steel sphere which could lie hidden in one's palm, would instantly be deflected by these barriers, the million tons of dirty ice that make up a comet pass through an Envelope without a tremor. Asteroids, meteors, and all natural debris pass unaffected through Envelopes.

Signals cannot be sent into an Envelope. Pulses of light, laser bursts, and radio transmissions are absorbed, but raw background radiation crosses the barrier freely. Yet information can escape. Every television and radio program created inside of an Envelope explodes outward at the speed of light, eventually reaching watching eyes and listening ears on the outside.

Some observers will note the span of time it takes for analog transmissions streaming out of an Envelope to fade into pseudorandom digital noise. Most listeners will have a much deeper knowledge of the Universe than the broadcasters. But not even the most advanced race knows the source of these Envelopes. Some speculate that benevolent ancients created the Envelopes to protect infant races. Others believe that the Envelopes were fashioned by the will of the Gods themselves.

Though their creation remains a mystery, one way to destroy them is known. When a manned spacecraft emerges from the inside of an Envelope for the first time, the barrier fades away forever. Until then, those within the Envelope have no reason to suspect its existence. All races begin believing they are alone.

Six dozen years have passed since the Envelope enclosing the planet Kofira and its star faded. Before the Envelope opened and the Arrival of Outsider races, the planet was called Earth. Three generations have been born on Kofira since the Arrival, and few use its old name.

The Black Salamander

For more than three generations, the bat-like Perilun race has dominated our planet. Their control of Upper and Lower Glana is absolute. They have not come for conquest or glory. They have come for kofi, the most sought after commodity in the galaxy, which only grows here on Kofira.

Alabar Stone is one of the rare native Kofines who has secured a position in the Perilun civil service. Despite the contempt with which his Perilun superiors treat him, Alabar has found ways to use his position to help his less fortunate Kofine brothers and sisters.

When a visiting Tordred ambassador is murdered by the notorious Kofine terrorist the Black Salamander, Alabar is appointed to investigate the crime. Although he has no law enforcement background, his career depends on his ability to hunt down the Salamander, a freedom fighter regarded by his countrymen as the greatest living hero. As the investigation unfolds, evidence suggests that the Salamander was framed. Because his people view him as a race traitor, Alabar must work alone to discover the truth before the sinister forces responsible for the assassination can complete their plans.

The Stygian Skies

Events at the end of The Black Salamander have pushed the Kofine people into violent revolt against their Perilun overlords. Although the Periluns are vastly outnumbered in terms of population, their control of the space lanes and the flow of kofi is unchallenged.

Much of the food production capacity of Kofira is still held by the Periluns. The bulk of the Perilun fleet is coming to Kofira to crush the resistance. Caught between starvation and the promise of unending slavery, Alabar Stone and his allies must fight to throw off the Perilun yoke once and for all.

Although it is unthinkable that a Kofine would sell out his own people to the Periluns for money or power, someone is leaking the resistance's plans to their enemies.

The Darkened Moon

As the conflict between the Periluns and the Kofines escalates, the other two colonizing races, the Tordred and the Faëtsel, join the fray. Their hidden agendas rise to the surface, and it becomes clear that Kofira has value beyond its kofi.

Only at the last moment does the Kofine resistance realize how high the stakes are. The Kofines had been fighting for their freedom, but they discover that they are now fighting for the survival of their people.