It’s coming back.
Its initial burst of communication caused the outage of the Exchange, the FTL network for transport and communication, but since then the ship has been silent. It jumps about at random, using wormholes it generates with a drive the likes of which no one has seen before.
Meanwhile at the gamra assembly, people jostle to be in the best positions when it inevitably turns up in inhabited space. What the ship wants or whether there is anyone on board no one knows, but diplomat Cory Wilson knows one thing: when it turns up, he must avoid a conflict at all cost.
If only gamra presented a united viewpoint. If only Asto’s army wasn’t keen to get involved. If only the Aghyrians at gamra didn’t do what they do best: manipulate and play games with everyone. While the ship approaches, the delegates bicker, and the time for negotiating is fast running out.
Will appeal to readers of C.J. Cherryh's science fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles series, Lindsay Buroker, David Vandyke and John Scalzi.
Science Fiction, military, thriller, aliens, space, first contact, political
Deep under the City of Glass in the frozen southern land, an age-old machine called the Heart of the City radiates a power which locals call icefire. Most citizens are immune to it, but a few, always born with physical disabilities, can bend it to their will. For fifty years, the ruling Eagle Knights, who fly on the back of giant birds, have killed these Imperfects, fearing the return of the old royal family, who used icefire to cut out people's hearts, turning them into ghostly servitors.
The old king's grandson Tandor only sees the good things icefire brought: power and technology now forgotten while the people of the south live in dire poverty. He's had enough of seeing his fellow kinsfolk slaughtered by ignorant Knights, of Imperfect babies being abandoned on the ice floes to be eaten by wild animals. His grandfather's diary tells him how to increase the beat of the Heart the first step to making the land glorious once more. Arrogant as he is, he sets the machine in motion. All he needs is an army of Imperfect servitors to control the resulting power.
Isandor is Imperfect, an ex-Knight apprentice, betrayed by his best friend and running for his life.
The queen Jevaithi is Imperfect, living like a prisoner amidst leering Knights, surviving only because the common people would rebel if their beloved queen were harmed.
Both are young and desperate and should be grateful that Tandor wants to rescue them from their hopeless situations. Or so he thinks. The youngsters, however, have no inclination to become heartless ghosts, but while they defy Tandor, the Heart beats, and he alone cannot control its power.
For people who like their fantasy dark and gritty. Think Joe Abercrombie, Karen Miller, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin.
free, freebie, dark fantasy, steampunk, post-apocalyptic, magic, sorcery, epic fantasy, knights, eagles, bears, fantasy free books, fantasy series
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