Fall of Zona Nox is the first book in the Warpmancer Series. It was originally published in 2013, but has been revised since. It was the first book that Nicholas Woode-Smith ever wrote.
Nicholas started writing Fall of Zona Nox in 2009. Its original title was 'The Trooper'. It was inspired by the author's quest creations in the game Spore: Galactic Adventures. Over a period of 3 years, Nicholas finally finished the book in 2012, self-publishing the first Smashwords edition in 2013. The book has since been revised, with the first print edition being released in November 2016.
Fall of Zona Nox is set solely on the planet Zona Nox in the Extos III system. The planet is divided between a red desert to the north and an icy tundra to the south. Most of the story takes place in the northern area of Red Sand, but one arch takes place in Titan City, an area in the south.
James, a young thief and gangster, starts off this story racing along the rooftops of Galis City, pursued by a guard. He has recently pilfered some experimental technology from a merchant, and the mercenary has not taken kindly to having his client burgled. As the chase heats up, James proves his skill in his profession by shaking off his pursuer, landing right into the saloon where he plans to sell his loot. In the saloon, a dingy place owned by his adopted father (Billy Roman), he is faced with a predicament as two aliens enter the premises. While not a racist, James is distrustful of aliens. He does not act on this, but rather watches as a drunken thug named Ryan attempts to intimidate them, just to have his arm bent back. The scene disturbs James, but he leaves it be.
James is a member of a gang called the Marzio Mafia, one of the ruling gangs in Galis City. After lying low, he agrees to help his best friend (Andrew Roman) complete a heist to fund their tribute to the boss of the gang, Don Marzio. The robbing of a store is interrupted by Troopers, the local law enforcement, but James proves too skilled even for military-men, and escapes with the score. After delivering tribute, they are tasked with helping one of Marzio’s Capos, but this is interrupted by an urgent command to defend the Marzio warehouses, that are under attack by rival gangs.
The fighting is brutal, but James and Andrew manage to help defend the crucial warehouses of the Don. Despite this, Galis is in turmoil as the major gangs have decimated each other. Just as this happened, a full-scale invasion by the Empire of Xank hits the city, forcing survivors into safe-zones, where they can fend off the besiegers. In the process of getting to their safe zone, Andrew and James are caught by a Zangorian, a Xank foot soldier, and Andrew is killed. James is saved by a Trooper named Nathan, who becomes his mentor for the next few months.