Having received a gratifyingly positive response to my previous post, I thought I would say a little more about my first novel, then do another post on my second.
There are a couple of places in Harald where I mention tactics my protagonist is using to solve the problem of raising an army. One is a scene where he mentions having captured the Emperor's tent, presumably after defeating an Imperial army that the Emperor was accompanying. He talked some of his people into lugging the tent over the mountain pass that separates Kaerlia, where the battle was, from the Vales, and sets it up in his back pasture. One of the people he is telling the story to responds:
"Just what every meadow needs."
"Don't laugh. Silk hangings, tent poles banded with gold. By the time the story spread a bit, every highborn in the Imperial army had gold tent poles and chests full of silver and jewels. Made it easy to raise troops the next time."
The other is a bit more complicated. Harald forces a large body of cavalry loyal to Iskander, one of the two princes who are competing to be their father's heir, or possibly to replace him, to surrender, and auctions off their horses to the local plains nomads. In a later campaign, he defeats a different cavalry force, loyal to the Emperor. His nomad allies return home with the horses captured in that battle—and offer to sell them to Iskander. The bargaining is between one of Harald's sons and Iskander's son Kiron, who earlier spent some time as a guest/hostage at Haraldhold.
"Name Kiron. Speak for Commander, Governor. Know you Valestalk, Tengu?"
"Getting better, but I still speak your language better than you speak mine."
A long pause.
"In the flesh. Got bored with rabbits."
"This is your army?"
Niall shook his head:
"My brother Donal is war leader for Fox Clan at the moment, four hundred clan brothers. Eagle, Bear, half this end of the plains sent someone along for the ride. Some day you try to get a couple thousand Westkin, fourteen clans, all moving in the same direction. Make running the Empire feel like a vacation."
"And you came along to … "
"Just now, to sell some horses. Thought your father might be interested; heard he was a few short. Cavalry mounts. Trained. Even have the right brand."
"How many horses--trained cavalry mounts with the Imperial brand--are you prepared to sell us? Assuming we can agree on a price."
Niall looked at him, considered.
"Sure you want to know?"
"Four thousand. Don't expect you'll want all of them. Give you a good price, though. Market, this end of the plains, not what it used to be." It occurred to Kiron that raising and supplying an army off the resources of a mountain farm presented difficulties to which Harald, being Harald, found his own unique answers. This one had a certain wild logic to it.
There is another feature central to the novel which is not exactly economics, although I think it is related both to my being an economist and to my being a libertarian. The central problem of the first half of the book is the attempt by a new and inexperienced king, badly advised, to convert his father's allies into subjects. Part of the reason is that he sees political structures in terms of a table of organization, a formal hierarchy, and is afraid that anyone not in allegiance to him cannot, in the long run, be relied on.
He is opposed by Harald, the leader of one of the allies, who sees political structures in terms of personal relationships. The alliance was put together by the previous king, who first dropped his father's unenforceable claim to rule the Vales then did everything he could to help the Vales when they were faced with a famine. In the wars with the Empire, he put Harald in charge of the allied army not because Harald had any particular rank but because he was the best commander available. And the alliance was held together in part by the close personal friendship between the king, Harald, and the Lady Commander of the Order.
During the conflict between Harald and the new king, it becomes clear that one of the most powerful of the provincial lords, the feudal level just below the king, is a de facto ally of Harald's even though nominally obedient to the king. And part of the point of the first half of the book is that Harald's real objective is not to defeat the king but to educate him, and so to recreate the old alliance.
Incidentally, for anyone interested, the book can be bought on Amazon, downloaded free from the Baen free library, or downloaded free as podcasts from the book web page.