Historical speculative fiction

History-inspired mythic fantasy. Alternate history. Retrofuture science fiction. Love.

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Dusk Peterson writes historical speculative fiction: history-inspired mythic fantasy, alternate history, and retrofuture science fiction. Family affection, friendship, platonic life-companionships, and romance often occur in the stories. Dusk Peterson's fiction has been honored seven times in the Rainbow Awards, including winning the Fantasy and Alternate Universe/Reality categories. A resident of Maryland, Mx. Peterson lives with an apprentice and several thousand books.

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My stories are all available as online fiction and free e-books at Archive of Our Own. Book bundles of my stories are available at online bookstores. My latest stories are announced at my blog and e-mail list.

Announcements || New releases || Reissues || Upcoming releases.


I released (for the first time or as reissues) 1,264,511 words in 2021. You can find links to all those novels and short fiction in the new releases and reissues sections below.

I've simplified the navigation at this website. All of the series in the Chronicles of the Great Peninsula cycle are now on one page, and all of the series in the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs cycle are now on one page.

I've added a new series: Ragbag. This contains my early creative efforts: stories, poetry, illustrations, news stories, mail, and journals.

I've added a page listing authors I like.

My collection of archived series (which I'm beginning to add to again) has been renamed Yes, My Liege.

I've replaced my old Tags page with instructions for how to find tagged stories at my Archive of Our Own account. The instructions are on my page for awards, story lists, and tags.

New releases

Lockdown (Life Prison short story). Having other folks flaunt their winter festival celebrations is bad enough, when you're a prisoner locked down for the rest of your life. The only thing worse is having a cell-mate who is determined to join the celebrations.


The Fire Before (The Three Lands novella). The god's fire is fierce, but not as fierce as the god's wrath if you turn away. Tristan is the King's heir, destined to rule the Kingdom of Koretia. His nephew Robin has taken Tristan's place as baron of their town. Now both men are about to face the worst crisis their land has ever known. And neither of them understands what the true crisis is. As Tristan struggles to find the courage to follow his god's command, and Robin tries to find a middle ground between piety and disloyalty to his uncle, the two noblemen will be forced to confront the consequences of war . . . and the consequences of their own inaction.


Patience (The Eternal Dungeon flash fiction). There are patients, and then there are patients who require patience. The world's most famous dungeon-keeper has a cold. 


Runaway (Waterman short story). Bat is in trouble. Again. The only way out of the trap this time is to take a leap into the future, into a world of wonders that his mind can scarcely grasp. But trouble awaits him at the border to his refuge. How Bat handles that trouble will determine his own future . . . and the future of what he is leaving behind.

Duties of a Second-Ranked Master (Waterman short story). Studying at boarding school is hard enough. Balancing the needs of your liege-master and liegeman is impossible. As Davenham struggles to be both loyal and protective, he finds that he must consult the most despised student at school. But what use is it to seek advice on duties from a boy who seems incapable of mastering his own duties?

Liegeman's Service (Waterman novelette). Bereft of his liegeman, Pembroke is forced to cut short his education in order to serve his liege-master at the Third Landstead University. War upon the waters seems imminent in their bayside landstead. But Master Rudd, who will soon rule over their landstead, is interested in nothing but food, games, and his most recent passion, women. With his own bed now cold, Pembroke must decide how far his loyalty extends to his liege-master. The answer may lie in long-remembered tales from Pembroke's boyhood.


The Awakening (Dungeon Guards novel). Barrett Boyd has awakened from death to a new and baffling life. He knows that he is a guard in the queendom's royal prison, the Eternal Dungeon. But why do the prisoners matters so much to him? Who are these other guards who appear to have claims over him? And how will he survive while he finds his new place in this world? As Barrett seeks to make sense of his surroundings, he must contend with a would-be love-mate, a grumbling rebel, deadly enemies, and the challenge of how to wield his expanded skills.



Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon novel). Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men. Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.

Honors: As part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon: Three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.


Transformation (The Eternal Dungeon novel).  The Eternal Dungeon, a royal prison where criminals are transformed, has lost its leadership. The duty of returning the dungeon to normal falls on two Seekers (torturers) who are already burdened with their own problems. One Seeker is struggling to understand why an old love affair continues to gnaw at him. The other Seeker is faced with his greatest challenge: whether to risk the man who is most precious to him in order to save his own abuser.

Honors: As part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon: Three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.


The Balance (The Eternal Dungeon novel). The Seekers (torturers) in the Eternal Dungeon have always expressed contempt toward the Hidden Dungeon in the neighboring kingdom of Vovim, whose torturers abuse prisoners without restraint. But the balance between mercy and hell is not so clear as might be thought in either dungeon, and now that balance is about to tip. Only the strength of love and integrity will determine the paths of two Seekers whose fortunes are bound together.

Honors: As part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon: Three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.


Whipster (Michael's House novel). Michael is an ex-prostitute, which means that nobody in polite society wants anything to do with him. He believes that the only way to help other male prostitutes is to make their working conditions bearable. His friend Janus is an upper-class gentleman who believes that his duty to the gods requires him to fight against sexual immorality. Now Michael wants Janus to help him run a house of prostitution.


Master and Servant (Waterman novel). Born into a society with a strictly ranked system of masters and servants, Carr has sought to tread his way delicately between the clashing values of the parents who raised him and the uncle whose household Carr will one day live in. Yet when he and other students at his boarding school become the latest participants in an ongoing battle between the oystermen of their Bay, Carr finds that his position of power may bring danger, not only to himself, but also to a schoolfellow he is drawn toward.


Blood Vow (The Three Lands novel). He has taken a blood vow to the Jackal God to bring freedom to his land by killing Koretia's greatest enemy. But what will he do when the enemy becomes his friend?  Thrust into exile and pain, young Andrew has no choice but to accept the friendship of the very person he had vowed to kill. When he returns with his friend to his homeland fifteen years later, though, he finds himself in a land of conflicting loyalties . . . where a vengeful god awaits him.


Law of Vengeance (The Three Lands novel). For over twenty years, Lord Carle has told the heir to the Emorian throne that vengeance is only the other side of mercy, and that disobedience and treachery should never be forgiven. Finally it seems that his message has been received. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that Carle should have chosen this moment to break the law.  As war threatens and the foundations of his life crumble, his only hope for rescue lies with a man who has every reason to hate Carle.

Honor: Honorable Mention, One Perfect Score category, in the Rainbow Awards 2012.


Breached Boundaries (The Three Lands novel). The boundaries of rank declare that Serva can be a princess or she can be a slave. But for the bastard daughter of the King of Daxis, life is not that simple. Forced to be a tool in a battle waged by her land's unstable King and his dangerously devious heir, Serva cannot even find refuge among her fellow slaves. Instead, she secretly explores the hidden portions of the palace. In this way, she meets an imprisoned spy who is scheduled for execution.  But when a simmering war bubbles to the surface, Serva must choose where her loyalties lie. She must also solve the mystery of the spy's past, and of her own future.


Hidden Blade (The Three Lands novella). His father is a dull farmer. His mother is a dull farmer's wife. He seems destined for a similarly dull life. But then a stranger appears in their village, and suddenly the talk is of soldiers and spies and secrets and gods. Will he be able to break free of his father's legacy and make a bold dash to a life of his own?


Free-man's Blade (The Three Lands short story). Free-men are the backbone of Emor: the men who run and protect the empire. But when a young servant finds himself unexpectedly vaulted into manhood, he must decide how he will use his power, and who will pay the price of his decision. 


Mystery (The Three Lands novella). Three days ago he faced death by fire. Now he faces a bigger challenge.  Made a priest at age thirteen and then elevated to the high rank of City Priest when he was twenty, Prosper has long held a position of tremendous power. But a terrible misstep causes him to break the God's Law which governs the Northern Peninsula. Now he is in exile from the God's Law: any man who meets Prosper is free to murder him.  A friend has sent Prosper to a protector . . . but can that protector shield Prosper, not only from potential killers, but from the consequences of the exiled priest's unacknowledged demons?


Noble (Princeling novel). He has lost his title, his work, and everyone's respect. That will be the easy part.  When Corbin is taken hostage by York, the King of Fossenvita, he refuses to surrender to the sadistic King's demands that would allow York to win the war between the world's two kingdoms. Only thus, Corbin believes, can he help the petties of Tascania, on whose behalf Tascanian nobles such as himself are fighting the Fossenvites. Rather than lose his honor, Corbin accepts York's "gift": a wounding that will prevent him from ever again fighting with his blade.  But Corbin lives in a world that has been at war for generations, in which only the nobles who command the battles and raids are considered to have honor. Stripped of his title and his ability to fight, Corbin begins to see that the petties alone may hold the answer of how he should live his life. Maimed as he is, though, Corbin cannot seek answers from the petties unless he receives the help of one man: York's son Firmin, who has warned Corbin that he will betray him.


Edgeplay in Mayhill (Loren's Lashes work-in-progress novel). In 1965, Loren was initiated into the mysteries of leather by a motorcyclist passing through his isolated Midwestern town. Twenty years later, he is owner of the town's gay bar, which serves as a leather bar after hours. He is a master, trained to control and discipline men.  If only he could convince other leathermen of this fact. Having given up hope of ever finding someone who will submit to him, Loren is forced to content himself with secret fantasies. Then he meets the perfect man for his fantasies: handsome, uniformed, full of confidence and strength. But Loren doesn't realize that Ken holds secrets which will initiate them both into a new mystery. . . .

Edgeplay in Mayhill #1: Negotiations. Danger has more than one edge.

Edgeplay in Mayhill #2: Preparations. Twenty years have been building up to this moment.

Edgeplay in Mayhill #3: Scene. You cannot hide what you are forever.

Upcoming releases

The following stories are currently scheduled for release.

Forge (The Eternal Dungeon novel). The capital city of the Queendom of Yclau has a restless population of oppressed commoners, a queen determined to keep control of the rabble, and a hidden killer stalking the streets. It's an explosive combination. Into this world will come a man nobody expects, least of all himself.

In the Spirit (The Three Lands novelette). Prince Richard has a high office in the army, a ruler who trusts him, and a loyal subordinate. He also has a murderer who is likely to kill him one of these days. Amidst the many uncertainties of his life, can Richard count on love, or will that become yet another treachery?

Empty Dagger Hand (The Three Lands novel). Dolan is a quiet young man who spends his days working as a scribe. So why does he have a dagger hidden within his clothing? When Dolan's hidden life turns to disaster, he must make his way through a warring world of many enemies and few allies. Figuring out which men are his allies will take time, and not much time is left. As an empire crumbles and civilization is threatened, Dolan must use all his wits to survive, for only he can bring to safety the greatest treasure in the Three Lands.

The Night Watch (The Three Lands novella). They are the elite unit of the Northern Army, and their power is growing. But what they need is more than power: they need wisdom. Xylon is the conscience of the Home Division Patrol. Everyone says so. But when his conscience fails him, Xylon must find the courage to help his fellow patrol guards through the greatest danger that the Great Peninsula has ever faced.

Search for the Jackal (The Thousand Nations novel). When a young man named Dolan flees from the north, he finds danger on all sides. The Northern Army wants him back. The Empire of Emor wants him dead. His native homeland of Koretia may not want him at all. And his only protection is a man with motives that are mysterious and possibly deadly. To remain alive, Dolan must forge alliances, cement friendships, break and heal a killer, and seek a lost god. Most of all, he must decide what his goal is and how high a price he is willing to pay to achieve that goal.

Stream of Dying (The Thousand Nations short story).

Large Talk (The Thousand Nations short story).

Blog announcements of my latest fiction

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Chronicles of the Great Peninsula

Koretia, Emor, and Daxis were all founded on the same day, but as the centuries have passed, the Three Lands of the Great Peninsula have become increasingly divided by religion, government, and culture. Koretians worship many gods, Daxions worship one goddess, and Emorians revere only their law. Emorians claim that Koretians are vicious and superstitious, Koretians think that Daxions are vile oath-breakers, and Daxions charge that Emorians abuse their children and slaves.

If a god were to appear in the Three Lands, would his appearance bring an end to the fighting between nations? Or would he merely help to spark an inferno of war?

Chronicles of the Great Peninsula is a cycle of mythic fantasy series about an epic battle between cultures, set at a time when a centuries-old civilization is in danger of being destroyed. The cycle is inspired by conflicts between nations during Late Antiquity.

The Three Lands. He vowed himself to his god. Now the god is growing impatient . . . The Three Lands is a mythic fantasy series on friendship, romantic friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the final years of the Roman Empire.

The Thousand Nations. In a shattered world of warriors and barbarisms, only the deepest ties of friendship and romance can protect them. That, and a god they may not be able to trust. The Thousand Nations is a mythic fantasy series about what happens after the fall of a civilization. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Dark Ages.

Chronicles of the Great Peninsula resources.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs

Tough (noun): a tough and violent person; a street ruffian; a trouble-maker.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs is a cycle of alternate history series about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as in a future that never existed, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

The Eternal Dungeon. In a cool, dark cavern, guarded by men and by oaths, lies a dungeon in which prisoners fearfully await the inevitable. The inevitable will be replaced by the unexpected. The Eternal Dungeon is an award-winning alternate history series on romance, friendship, and family, set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

Dungeon Guards. In the Eternal Dungeon, there are only two types of guards: skilled guards or dead guards. But one guard has been both. Dungeon Guards is an alternate history series about nineteenth-century prison workers who seek love and companionship as they fight together against danger.

Life Prison. They are imprisoned until death, and their lives cannot get worse . . . or so they think. But when an unlikely alliance forms against their captors, the reformers risk losing what little comforts they possess. Life Prison is an alternate history series on friendship, romance, and rebellion in nineteenth-century prisons.

Michael's House. In a world where temples are dying and sacred theaters have been replaced by brothels, what will happen when a hard-headed businessman joins forces with an idealist? Michael's House is an alternate history series on love in a Progressive Era slum.

Waterman. How can a youth from a bay island boarding school survive when he is sent to a futuristic prison? Waterman is an award-winning speculative fiction series of love in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s and during the future as it was envisioned in the 1960s.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs resources.


Yes, My Liege

A soldier courts a young woman on the eve of battle. An aircar chauffeur tests the boundaries of his enslavement. A despairing captive must choose whether to obey the deadly command of a lord.

Sweet Suffering offers speculative fiction and contemporary fiction on friendship, romance, and faithful service amidst transformation.

Princeling. In a world in which only the pitiless nobles who wage war hold power, and those who cannot fight must suffer or seek slow death . . . What would you do if you were a noble, and you lost the ability to fight? Princeling is a speculative fiction series set in a world where war has lasted for generations.   

Darkling Plain. Separated in time and place, these young women and young men are united in their goal: to protect those they care for from the destruction of battle. The odds are against them. Darkling Plain is a collection of speculative fiction tales about young disabled people in times of conflict.

Master/Other. Masters come in many forms. Some don't even know they're masters. Romantic and poignant, Master/Other offers speculative fiction stories exploring the dangers and sweet bonds of power. 

Rebels. There's only one thing worse than leather-clad, kinky gay bikers demanding their rights: mild-mannered vanilla heterosexuals demanding their rights. Rebels offers humor and satire about transgressive sexuality in the twenty-first century. 

Loren's Lashes. Leather is a world of rich pleasure palaces and endless sensual delights, where dreams can be pursued without limit, provided that a man has the strength to stand the test. . . . But in the rural town of Mayhill, population 32,000, leather life is a little different. Loren's Lashes is a retro series about a Midwestern community of closeted leathermen. In a time and place where being gay is reason enough to be arrested, the leathermen of Mayhill struggle to keep their small community alive. 

Leather in Lawnville. The adventures of a suburban leatherman. These humorous stories on erotic power take gay leathersex out of its usual bars and back alleys, setting it in unexpected locations: A 5&10. A potluck. A hamburger joint. A waltz party. Even when the leatherman who narrates these stories returns to the Eagle bar, things don't go quite the way he expected. . . .

Unmasked. Behind the screaming news headlines, behind the hype and the sensationalism, lies the quiet but dramatic tale of people whose actions may change the lives of the next generation. Unmasked is a contemporary fiction series on a challenging topic.

Ragbag. My early creative efforts: stories, poetry, illustrations, news stories, mail, and journals.

Yes, My Liege resources.


Pixel-Stained: a documentary memoir of the electronic publishing revolution in gay genre fiction.

My online nonfiction. I've written a lot of nonfiction. My nonfiction sites are no longer updated; some of the information presented is out of date.


Biography | Awards, story lists, & tagsAuthors I like.

My social networks and updates e-mail list. Stop by to see which stories I've just released, or to give me your feedback.

Shared universes. Fan works! Commissioned art! Stories and art set in my worlds by other authors and artists. I welcome fan works of my writing.

Word counts. For those interested in my creative process.

All writings by Dusk Peterson are copyright 1981-2021 Dusk Peterson. For more information, see my copyright policies.

Permission is granted for the reposting and reprinting of the banners, covers, and story summaries (blurbs) for the purposes of providing information on Dusk Peterson's writings. Please link to duskpeterson.com if possible.


If you send me pretty compliments, I will print your letter out and frame it above my computer. (This isn't much of an exaggeration.) If, on the other hand, you send me a letter that begins, "What kind of nitwitted writer are you? You gave your character blue eyes in scene one and green eyes in scene two!" then I will raise up a shrine in your honor and burn candles upon your altar.

Constructive criticism, enquiries, and idle chit-chat may be sent to Mx. Dusk Peterson at duskpeterson(at)fastmail.fm. Or stop by my social networks. My emergency contact is Mr. Joe Noakes at lemurjoe(at)gmail.com.