The Shadow of War by TSJ Wins the 2023 CYGNUS Science Fiction Award Grand Prize

THE SHADOW OF WAR by TSJ Wins the 2023 CYGNUS Science Fiction Award Grand Prize

I just learned that my underwater heist thriller, The Shadow of War, won the CYGNUS Grand Prize at the CIBA awards this past weekend.

Thank you to the CIBA award judges, the team at Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd, Cheyney Steadman (the graphic artist), and Ken Geniza (the cover and interior designer).  A HUGE thanks to my fans, family, readers, and friends who have supported me during this incredible journey.

I would like to send a special thanks to Robert J. Sawyer, who read an advance copy and provided a wonderful blurb for the book.  I have admired his writing for so many years, and when I saw his review, I nearly fainted.  I wrote about it here.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Robert.

I wrote the following about the book a few months ago when I learned it had advanced to the finals in the competition:

“I am so proud of this book.  The underwater setting allowed me to create an original and interesting plot and Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. allowed me great creative freedom with the series.  The climate chaos on the surface is relevant and (I feel) adds solid realism to the story.  The weapon — The Water Pick — is one of the more original weapons you will experience in novels featuring submarine warfare (hint:  it’s an underwater energy/particle weapon).  I am very proud of the diversity in the cast, a fact that Kirkus Reviews appreciated.  Give this book a try; you won’t be disappointed!

Thank you to all my readers, fans, family, and to Holly Doll, Sharon Fitzhenry, and Peter Doll at publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Ltd.!  Kudos to the entire team.

“The Shadow of War is a slambang thriller set in an all-too-plausible future. Fans of Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton will be spellbound.”

Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of The Oppenheimer Alternative

Click here to learn more about The Shadow of War.

Click here for purchase links to The Shadow of War.

Here is the exciting book trailer for The Shadow of War!

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support.  If you don’t yet have a copy of The Shadow of War, purchase links are here.”

MORE Praise for The Shadow of War!

“Johnston presents readers with a diverse set of characters, along with a complicated world for them to navigate. The novel shines when describing the technology, as when the characters discuss the beam weapon, nicknamed ‘The Water Pick’ … Fans of high-tech SF will enjoy the concepts and worldbuilding here …” Kirkus Reviews

“Any good heist consists of three components: a team, a plan and something worth stealing. ‘The Shadow Of War’, the fifth novel in Timothy S. Johnston’s ‘Rise Of Oceania’ series, has all three … Johnston has written a thriller with hot-off-the-presses technology, edge-of-your-seat moments, separated into heart-pounding seconds, and characters who don’t always do what they’re supposed to.” — SFcrowsnest

“Johnston weaves an engrossing tale … it’s easy to highly recommend The Shadow of War as an outstanding and gripping sci-fi technothriller.” — Midwest Book Review

“I need to see Oceania on the big screen!” FIVE STARS from Readers’ Favorite

“…a terrific read! Smart, thrilling, intriguingly plotted and, like all previous entries in Johnston’s ‘Rise of Oceania’ series, A-level entertainment. And that opening chapter—WOW! Page-turner is an understatement.” — Michael Libling, author of Hollywood North: A Novel in Six Reels and The Serial Killer’s Son Takes A Wife

TSJ’s Awards

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“Action that ranges from close range combat to torpedo-fueled attacks. The result is a thriller that keeps moving from confrontation to confrontation … with constant danger and the vast depths of the ocean as a setting, there is always reason to keep reading.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Read the book and prepare to be blown away by one of the best writers I have ever had the pleasure to read. Timothy S. Johnston is simply amazing.” — FIVE Stars from Readers’ Favorite

A Blanket of Steel is not simply a ‘daring do’ thriller … It’s prescient.” — Amazing Stories

“A priority selection. An action-packed story that is hard to put down. A Blanket of Steel is outstanding.” — D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Innovative technology, Mac taking risks no one else would dare and thinking his way through to brilliant solutions … But the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before. This is it. The countdown to the final battle … Johnston does an excellent job of keeping the tension taut as he plays with the reader’s perceptions of characters we thought we knew and trusted …” — SFcrowsnest

“Expect to be left breathless. Trust me here. Please. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.” — Michael Libling, author of The Serial Killer’s Son Takes A Wife and Hollywood North: A Novel in Six Reels

Book Cover, Jacket Copy, and the Gripping Book Trailer:


A mysterious assassin has murdered Cliff Sim, Chief Security Officer of the underwater colony, Trieste. Cliff was a mountain of a man, highly trained, and impossible to defeat in combat. And yet …

Someone brutally beat him and left his broken body in a secret Chinese facility at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

And included a calling card for Truman McClusky, Mayor of Trieste.

Taunting him.

Mac has led the underwater colonies in their fight against the world’s superpowers. Climate change has devastated the surface; nations suffer famine, drought, rebellion, rising waters, and apocalyptic coastal flooding. But now, as Mac leads the underwater colonies to freedom and independence, he’s faced with the gravest threat of his life: a Russian assassin, hellbent on killing Mac and everyone he cares for. Now Mac must uncover the identity of the killer, face him in combat, and at the same time lead people in battle against the largest underwater force ever assembled. It’s Mac’s final test, and to win the war, he must use every tool at his disposal, including the most surprising and devastating underwater weapons ever invented.

If Mac fails, all hope is lost for the future of human colonization on the ocean floors.

But the assassin could be anyone …

Watch your back, Mac.

A Blanket of Steel is the most gripping thriller yet in The Rise of Oceania.


The other books in The Rise of Oceania series by Timothy S Johnston:

The War Beneath 9781771484718
The Savage Deeps 9781771485067
Fatal Depth 9781554555574
An Island of Light 9781554555819
The Shadow of War 9781554556007


Watch the exciting book trailer for A Blanket of Steel!


TSJ’s Awards

Follow TSJ on Facebook
Follow TSJ on Twitter
Follow TSJ on Instagram

Enter TSJ’s contests here
Enter your email into the widget at the right to follow TSJ’s blog Life After Gateway.


THE WAR BENEATH:  FIRST PLACE 2018 GLOBAL THRILLER Action / Adventure Category Winner, 2019 Silver Falchion Award Finalist, 2018 CLUE Award Semi-Finalist, 2019 Kindle Book Awards Semi-Finalist, & 2019 CYGNUS Award Shortlister

THE SAVAGE DEEPS:  FIRST PLACE 2020 CYGNUS Award Winner, 2019 GLOBAL THRILLER Awards Finalist, 2022 Kindle Book Awards Semi-Finalist; 2019 CLUE Award Shortlister

FATAL DEPTH: FIRST PLACE 2021 GLOBAL THRILLER Award Winner, 2022 Silver Falchion Award Finalist (Best Action Adventure), 2021 CYGNUS Award Semi-Finalist


“If you’re looking for a techno-thriller combining Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy and John Le Carré, The War Beneath will satisfy … a ripping good yarn, a genuine page-turner.” — Amazing Stories
“One very riveting, intelligent read!” — Readers’ Favorite
“If you like novels like The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising,
you will certainly enjoy The War Beneath.” — A Thrill A Week
“If you’re here for thrills, the book will deliver.” — The Cambridge Geek
“… an engaging world that is highly believable …” — The Future Fire
“This is a tense, gripping science fiction/thriller of which Tom Clancy might well be proud . . . When I say it is gripping, that is the simple truth.” — Ardath Mayhar
“… a thrill ride from beginning to end …” — SFcrowsnest
“… if you like Clancy and le Carré with a hint of Forsyth thrown in,
you’ll love The War Beneath.” — Colonel Jonathan P. Brazee (RET),
2017 Nebula Award & 2018 Dragon Award Finalist
“Fast-paced, good old-fashioned Cold War espionage … a great escape!” — The Minerva Reader

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