In Rogers’ debut, the first book of a planned sci-fi series, a prime minister’s daughter may be the key to evading an interstellar war.
Davin and the crew of his Orionite scavenger ship, the Fossa, are searching for goods aboard a destroyed yacht in the Carina Arm of the Milky Way. Quite unexpectedly, they find a “preserve bag” containing the vessel’s sole survivor, Sierra, who happens to be Carinian Prime Minister Elan Falco’s daughter. Davin sees the chance for profit if the PM is willing to offer compensation for Sierra’s safe return. Unfortunately, a message verifying Sierra’s safety doesn’t get through, and she’s presumed by the PM to be dead. Sierra believes that Carinian religious zealots, known as the Abramists, attacked her yacht and made it appear that Sagittarians were responsible. The Abramists, it seems, are trying to convince Falco to declare war against the Sagittarians. Meanwhile, the Sagittarian leader, the iron-fisted Zantorian, sends his newly appointed champion, Kastor, to subdue Radovan, the apparently weak ruler of the planet Upraad. But Radovan won’t budge, and Kastor gets caught in the middle of a commoner uprising that sparks a civil war in the Lagoon Nebula. Davin could possibly secure peace in the galaxy if he gets Sierra back to her father, or he and his crew could sell Sierra to someone else and live in luxury, practically guaranteeing a galactic war. This solid series opener establishes an epic tale of conflict in the Milky Way. It has its share of action but also excels at scenes of politicking, as in a scene in which Kastor tells Radovan to swear allegiance to Zantorian. The narrative primarily centers on the Fossa crew and Kastor, but it also introduces a wealth of subplots that are sure to be expanded in later books. Earth, for example, is the titular sacred planet that some believe is the “linchpin” to controlling the galaxy. Rogers’ version of the future comes complete with recognizable gadgets, such as touch-screen tablets, as well as new, chic technology; the best examples are “transapiens”—human brains in robotic bodies that communicate nonverbally by using the NeuroNet.
An ambitious, ardent launch that sets a stellar precedent for installments to follow.