The Moon's Shadow

( 5 )

Overview

At the age of seventeen the young nobleman named Jaibriol Qox became ruler of a vast galactic empire— and lost everything he had ever valued.

Born of a clandestine liaison between a renegade daughter of the Skolian Imperialate and a scion of the genetically engineered Eubian Traders, Jai Qox grew up in exile, unaware of the powers that coursed through his noble blood. In the waning days of the bloody Radiance War, which ravaged the galaxy, Jai was captured, and returned to the ...

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The Moon's Shadow

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Overview

At the age of seventeen the young nobleman named Jaibriol Qox became ruler of a vast galactic empire— and lost everything he had ever valued.

Born of a clandestine liaison between a renegade daughter of the Skolian Imperialate and a scion of the genetically engineered Eubian Traders, Jai Qox grew up in exile, unaware of the powers that coursed through his noble blood. In the waning days of the bloody Radiance War, which ravaged the galaxy, Jai was captured, and returned to the Traders to play a role as a puppet Emperor in their scheme to consolidate their domination of space.

Now Jai must walk a razor's edge, to seize the power that is his by birthright, without succumbing to its dark seduction, in order to avert a conflagration which threatens to engulf a thousand worlds.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A mesmerizing, passionate novel."—Publishers Weekly

"Asaro's vast, splendid Skolian Empire saga continues to successfully combine space opera, hard science, and romance."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
This mesmerizing, passionate novel-the eighth in Nebula Award-winner Asaro's (The Quantum Rose) series about the Skolian interstellar empire-focuses mainly on Skolia's rival, Eube, whose rulers are addicted to the suffering of empathic slaves. Teenaged Jai Rockworth, successful claimant to the Eubian throne but also a disguised empath, wants to create a healthy peace between the warring powers, but his inexperience trips him into one crisis after another. Also, his secret is suspected by the coldblooded Corbal Xir, "one of the most feared men in settled space," and Tarquine Iquar, brilliant but unscrupulous Finance Minister, whom Jai selects as his empress. Corbal and Tarquine want to manipulate Jai; other Eubians just want to assassinate him. The Skolians, meanwhile, don't know what to make of Jai, though Kelric Garlin, their leader who was briefly Tarquine's slave, feels that the young idealist may deserve serious attention. In this formidably complicated situation, recomplicated by the characters' suspicion of each other, Asaro skillfully shows the hesitant sprouting of loyalty, trust and even love. Newcomers can count on a lot of background summary (supplemented by family trees and a timeline at the end) throughout this far from subtle narrative. Still, it's fascinating to watch these overwrought people in superheated interaction. Agent, Eleanor Wood of Spectrum Literary Agency. (Mar. 27) FYI: Asaro has won the two most recent Romantic Times Awards for Best SF Novel. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Despite generous appendices containing family trees, dramatis personae, a time line, and other series data, newcomers will be lost in this space opera as Asaro brings the not-always-nice Skolians closer to a reconciliation with the not-completely-naughty Aristo traders. With the two pan-galactic empires still in ruins from the Radiance War, the 23rd-century intergalactic battle that also destroyed the psiberweb, a psychic Internet that provided instantaneous transmission of information-and more-throughout the galaxy, the teenaged Jaibriol, one of four children (he'd been secretly hidden on Earth) from the union of Skolian Imperator Sauscony Valdoria and Eubian (Aristo) Emperor Jaibriol Qox II is swapped for Jai's uncle, Prince Eldrin, consort of Ruby Pharaoh Dyhianna Seli, who had been held captive by the Aristos. The young Jaibriol hides a secret: he has the kind of telepathic talents that would normally have doomed him to a life of slavery (Aristos can't experience love, and so they torture telepaths so that they feel a kind of cosmic orgasm they call transcendence). After he's crowned Emperor Jaibriol III, he discovers that his uncle, Corbal Xir, who, unbeknownst to Jaibriol and the rest of the Eubian empire, has undergone an operation that prevents him from transcending and, thus, allows him to love, just might know his secret. Xir also knows that Jaibriol is a Ruby Key, that he can restore the psiberweb and thus deliver total dominance of the galaxy. Xir's plans become entangled with Highton Finance Minister Tarquine Iquar, who, having undergone a similar antitranscending operation, could end up as the young Emperor's bride. Can these schemers, as well as far too many additionalcharacters who have fled or are thought dead, bring peace to a wounded universe? Tedious, confusing, pointlessly self-referential. Fans only. Agent: Eleanor Wood/Spectrum
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765343246
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Series: Skolian Empire Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,466,535
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Oakland, California, Catherine Asaro, received a doctorate in physics from Harvard University. She has published a number of papers on theoretical physics and was a physics professor until 1990, when she established Molecudyne Research, which she currently runs. A former ballerina, she has performed with ballets and in musicals on both coasts, and founded the Mainly Jazz Dance program at Harvard. She now teaches at the Caryl Maxwell Classical Ballet. Her husband is John Kendall Cannizzo, an astrophysicist at NASA. They have one daughter and live in Columbia, Maryland.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Throne

In his seventeenth year of life, Jai gained an empire and lost everything he valued.

Stately buildings faced a plaza tiled in white and gray stone. Clouds hung low in the sky, their drizzle saturating the air. Evening had come, a time when the heat of the sixty-two-hour day on the world Delos cooled enough to make the temperature tolerable for its human colonists.

Two young men walked across the plaza, coming from the embassy of the Allied Worlds of Earth. One wore simple clothes, a sweater and trousers. The other had on elegant garb with a severe cut, the cloth as black as shadows. Even in the misty air, his black hair glittered.

On the other side of the plaza, the embassy of the Eubian Concord stood in grandeur, large and solid, with many columns. Six men descended its stairs. Four were strongly built and moved like machines, their uniforms black and their eyes the color of rust. They were guarding the other two men. The larger of the two, taller even than the looming guards, had a shock of glittering white hair and a commanding presence. His patrician features and red eyes identified him as a Highton Aristo, a member of the most powerful, the wealthiest, and possibly the most hated ruling caste ever known to humanity.

The other man had his wrists locked behind his back in slave restraints. The prisoner moved stiffly, his chin thrust out but his eyes glazed. A gust stirred his wine-red hair around his handsome face. A diamond collar circled his neck and diamond guards glinted on his wrists and ankles. His white shirt, costly and impractical, was tucked into his dark pants. He walked barefoot.

The groups approached each other.

The two youths from the Allied Embassy stopped in the center of the plaza. The one in black clothes was tall, with broad shoulders and an athletic build. His features very much resembled those of the Highton man with the glittering white hair and were subtly echoed in the faces of the four guards.

The prisoner bore no resemblance to him…

At least not at first glance.

• • •

Jai Rockworth waited with his friend, Mik Fresnel, as the group of Eubians crossed the plaza to them. A deep-seated fear within Jai urged him to run, but he forced himself to remain still. He now wished he had brought more people. Had he been naive, assuming the Eubians would treat this exchange with honor? Given the number of armed guards in their group, he would have little recourse if they decided to take him without relinquishing their prisoner. But it was too late for second thoughts. If he didn't go through with this now, he might never find the courage to try again.

He recognized the white-haired man in the center of the Eubian group: Corbal Xir. Jai had seen him on countless news broadcasts. As a cousin of the late emperor, Xir stood close to the Carnelian Throne of Eube. The emperor, Jaibriol the Second, had died without a known heir, and many expected Xir to claim the title. The ruby color of Corbal Xir's eyes disturbed Jai—for it exactly matched his own. During the last two years, Jai had hidden his with brown lenses. Xir showed no such compunction about revealing his Aristo genetics.

Jai felt as if a band were constricting around his chest. He had no idea how to deal with a man like Xir. The Eubian group halted a few paces in front of him. The man in slave restraints stood with a numb expression, watching Jai with no hint of recognition. But Jai knew his face. Eldrin Valdoria. Prince Eldrin.

His uncle.

If I could free you from your pain by taking it into myself, Jai thought, I would. Nothing he could do would change what his uncle had already suffered, but he could see to it that Eldrin endured no more. He tried not to think that it would take so little, so terrifyingly little, for him to end up exactly like his uncle.

Xir spoke to Jai in the language of the Highton Aristos, his voice a rumble of authority. "I propose a simultaneous exchange. You and Prince Eldrin walk forward at the same time."

"Very well," Jai answered in flawless Highton. But when he turned to Mik, he switched to English. "Thank you for coming." He wanted to say so much more, but he couldn't take the risk.

Mik glanced uneasily at the Eubians. When he gave Jai a questioning look, Jai shook his head, fearing Mik would ask for an explanation Jai could never provide. But Mik just offered his hand. Jai shook it with a gratitude he didn't dare show, and also with sorrow, knowing he was saying good-bye to his friend forever.

"I'm not sure what you're doing," Mik said quietly. "But I will remember what you said."

Jai wished he could say more: Never forget. No matter what you hear of me from this day on, remember the Jai you knew. But Mik couldn't hear his thoughts, and Jai could say nothing in front of the Eubians. He nodded to Mik, his throat tight. Then he composed his face into a mask of Highton arrogance and faced Corbal Xir. Jai had barricaded his telepath's mind, turning it into a mental fortress, and so he received nothing from the Eubians, no sense of their emotions or thoughts.

Prince Eldrin was staring at him—and suddenly Jai felt his uncle's mind. Recognition went through him like a jolt of electricity: Eldrin was also a telepath. Even having known it ahead of time, Jai was still startled by the strength of his uncle's mind. Either Jai was more attuned to him than to the Aristos, who had no ability as psions, or else his uncle's mental barriers had slipped. Whatever the reason, the impact of Eldrin's emotions staggered Jai. He knew the other man's confusion and anguish as if it were his own. Another realization hit him: until this moment, Eldrin had known nothing about the exchange. The shock of realizing his captors intended to trade him had caused Eldrin's barriers to slip.

When Jai spoke to Eldrin, he made himself show a calm he didn't come close to feeling. "Shall we begin?"

"Yes." The prince's voice rasped with laryngitis so severe he had trouble speaking.

The raw sound of his uncle's voice shook Jai. He feared to learn what had injured Eldrin's vocal cords. Screams left scars that could haunt a man.

He and Eldrin walked forward. When they reached each other, Jai wanted to stop, to ask Eldrin the questions surging within him, to offer reassurance, to beg forgiveness for the life Jai was embarking on. But he could do nothing, show no hint of his roiling emotions. They passed in silence, Eldrin going to the Allieds and Jai to the Eubians.

Jai stopped when he reached Corbal Xir. The older man nodded in acknowledgment, though of what, Jai didn't know. A chill went through him at the soulless intensity of Xir's gaze. Jai returned his nod, then turned to see Eldrin reach Mik. As the prince halted, he looked back. For an instant he and Jai stared at each other. In that moment, even the mist seemed to wait. Would Eldrin ask why? Would he curse his captors?

The moment passed, and Jai no longer felt his uncle's emotions. Eldrin's mental barriers had come up again. Jai didn't think his uncle even realized they had slipped.

The Eubians closed around Jai in a tight formation and swept him away, headed for their embassy. Jai set his shoulders and faced his future, though dread haunted him.

So it was that Jai Rockworth—also known as Jaibriol the Third—claimed his place as emperor of Eube, the largest empire in the history of humanity.

Copyright © 2003 by Catherine Asaro

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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Nursery

    Here the queens and kits of Shadowclan will rest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful outer space cold war

    On the planet Delos, The Eubians exchange prisoner Prince Eldrin of the Skolian Empire for Jai Rockworth the heir to the Eubian Concord. Although nobody knows it, Jai, who will be the next Emperor, is related to all the high powered rulers in the Skolian Empire. The Skolians and the Eubians after centuries of war are holding to an informal and uneasy truce, one that could explode into war with the least provocation. The Eubian economy is based on the slave trade and is condemned by the Skolians who know their enemies feed on the pain of their psychic, slaves known as Providers. Jai¿s most fervent wish is to forge a permanent peace between the two empires but forces within his own government try their best to kill him before he can make any reforms. When he marries his Finance Minister Tarquine, he gets a wife who will use all her dirty tricks in her mighty arsenal to keep her husband safe. Readers get a close look at how the Eubian Concord really works and it will sicken them as much as it does the hero of THE MOON¿S SHADOW. The protagonist is young but he gathers some powerful allies who help him rule and try to see that he is protected from assassination from those who disagree with his goals. Catherine Asaro has written one of the best works of her star-studded career, one that will have readers searching the shelves for her backlist. Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 14, 2011

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    Posted July 17, 2010

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