After winning the Empire’s throne in The Diabolic (2016), will Nemesis and Tyrus be able to hold on to it—and to their humanity?
While new Emperor Tyrus, who is white, attempts to settle the factions long enough to direct his attention to the existential threat that is malignant space, his soon-to-be empress, the genetically engineered albino Nemesis, concerns herself with making sure he’ll be alive to make good on his dreams. One point of contention between the lovebirds is what to do about his heir, Tyrus’ badly brain-damaged cousin, Devineé, an easy pawn for powerful senators. The faithful don’t accept Nemesis’ humanity, and they won’t accept Tyrus as emperor with her by his side—but when the two realize how much they need to win them over, they set out for the Sacred City to seek out the Interdict, hoping to disprove his existence and get a leg up on the vicars. What they find instead expands the worldbuilding in ways as tantalizing as they are alarming. But every advantage Tyrus and Nemesis gain makes openings for their opportunistic rivals to seize, and every political chess move they make is countered by an intelligent, highly capable villain, leading to bloody costs and unpleasant questions about ruthlessness and choice and about the limits of love and forgiveness.
Kincaid deftly juggles high-octane action with emotionally devastating punches, and readers will riot for the next installment. (Science fiction. 13-adult)