Years in the making, a popular SF trilogy for teens reaches its finale

When science fiction author Paul Briggs started writing The Locksmith Trilogy ten years ago, he’d never even heard the word “Covid.” The notion of a global pandemic wiping out most of the people on earth was a plot device, and little more.

World events caught up to the author’s imagination. On July 4, when the final volume of Briggs’s trilogy, Locksmith’s War, is released, his exploration of how some precocious teens battle the threatened extinction of humanity by a global pandemic will come to a satisfying but haunting conclusion.

Instead of inventing mRNA vaccines in their basement to save humankind, Lachlan (Lock) Smith and his middle school friends learn how to navigate shifting time streams through a mysterious portal – risking life, limb and the mortal wrath of a sinister organization called Stormshelter.

The ways in which Briggs’s plot line anticipated world events seems more than a bit eerie, but he confesses, “I don’t feel like a prophet, as I was not expecting Covid to happen.”  

Rather, Briggs explains, he was simply trying to account for the horrifying discovery his young fictional hero, Lachlan Smith, makes when he stumbles through a dusty mirror-like wooden frame in a rental house and into a future devoid of people. He finds a desolate scene in the suburban wilds of Maryland, with alligators in the Chesapeake Bay and packs of feral dogs patrolling the skeletons of shopping malls.

A series of small experiments gradually convince Lachlan and his genius friend, Gary, that meaningful changes can be introduced through the portal, offering the slender hope of diverting the flow of Time to a less-hostile future in which some remnant of humanity can be saved.

But there are zealous ideologues who have different plans for a world they will dominate as sole survivors. They mean for that precious number not to include Lock and company.

As in classic epics of fantasy Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, young teens remain at the forefront of this tale. “Adults would not make for an interesting story,” explains Briggs. “They would not decide it was their job to save the world if they found the portal.”

Readers of The Locksmith Trilogy will be transported into a world that is simultaneously unthinkable yet perfectly relatable to their own experiences in a pandemic. With a touch of magic and danger, the finale of The Locksmith Trilogy is an immersive read sure to dazzle young lovers of science fiction. As the book explains, the stakes in the final book remain higher than ever, as does the character’s resolve.

“Whatever happened tomorrow, he was not going to walk away and spend the next fifteen years waiting for what he knew was coming.”

Memorable characters from the prior books return in Locksmith’s War for the conclusion to the sci-fi series. These allies must come together for one final adventure: save the human race from extinction. With motivations questioned and friendships tested, Briggs takes Lock and his friends back into the portal, where they must now go to war. Readers of the previous two volumes will not want to miss the grand finale.

The first two installments, Locksmith’s Closet and Locksmith’s Journey, were originally published in 2013 and 2016, respectively. They have since been re-released this year by Secant Publishing of Salisbury, Maryland, with cover art redesigned by the well-known Ukrainian graphics firm MiblArt. Impressively, MiblArt has continued to accept and fulfill commissions for cover art even through the thick of the Russian invasion.

Paul Briggs, an Easton resident, is a graduate of Washington College in Chestertown and the University of Maryland – College Park, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism. An amateur actor in community theater, he has written several plays, including The Worst Superpower Ever and The Picture of Health. In addition to The Locksmith Trilogy, Briggs has also written Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise, which was named a finalist in the science fiction category of the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards (2018).

The entirety of The Locksmith Trilogy will be available July 4 in e-book and paperback format from and in select retailers.  

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