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Tsar Wars: Agents of ISIS, Book 1

Tsar Wars: Agents of ISIS, Book 1

3.4 13
by Stephen Goldin

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Welcome to the first great space opera decalogy of the twenty-first century! Agents of ISIS is the 21st century re-envisioning of the Family d'Alembert series by its original author, an epic saga describing the fight to preserve humanity from the forces of chaos and destruction.

With humanity scattered across the galaxy on hundreds of worlds, the Empire is


Welcome to the first great space opera decalogy of the twenty-first century! Agents of ISIS is the 21st century re-envisioning of the Family d'Alembert series by its original author, an epic saga describing the fight to preserve humanity from the forces of chaos and destruction.

With humanity scattered across the galaxy on hundreds of worlds, the Empire is the only force for order across the stars. Without it, interstellar conflicts would bring chaos and billions of deaths.

But the tsar has been in a coma for five years now, and his grand-niece, the only apparent heir, is only 14 years old. In this hour of crisis, the task of preserving the Empire falls to two untrained--but far from unskilled--agents of the Imperial Special Investigation Service. Can they make a difference against the vast forces arrayed against them?

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Parsina Press
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Agents of ISIS
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Meet the Author

STEPHEN GOLDIN is a Nebula Award finalist science fiction and fantasy writer who was born in 1947 in the city of Philadelphia. When he was 13, his parents moved to California and, upon reflection, he decided to accompany them. It was a lucky thing he did, too; otherwise, when he went to college, the commute to UCLA would have been quite difficult. He eventually graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy. His first job out of college was as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy. The urge to write was strong, though, and after several years he left to try writing full time. He only regretted the move every other Thursday, when he would have gotten paid. After several years of genteel poverty, he took a job as writer/editor for a pornographic humor paper, the San Francisco Ball. In retrospect, this was a great crucible; because of deadline pressure, he had to learn to make his writing dirty, funny, and one draft. At about this time, too, he began selling novels on a regular basis. While he has, from time to time, held down other full-time employment (he helped design the Star Trek: The Next Generation computer game "A Final Unity" for Spectrum HoloByte and has also written manuals and game design documents for Maxis), his real love is fiction writing and he continues to pursue it. His first wife was fellow author Kathleen Sky. Their medieval-style wedding was a Saturday morning program item at the 1972 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. In the 10+ years of their marriage, in addition to their individual works, they collaborated on a pair of stories ("Painting the Roses Red" and "The Devil Behind the Leaves") about the diMedicis, a family of interstellar swindlers. Mr. Goldin's current wife is fellow author Mary Mason. Their wedding took place the night before EclectiCon 1 in Sacramento, at which Mr. Goldin was the Guest of Honor. They currently live in the San Francisco East Bay area. So far they have co-authored two books in the Rehumanization of Jade Darcy series: Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor and Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates. More books in this series are planned. Mr. Goldin is an atheist whose interests include Broadway show albums and surrealist art. He has lived with cats virtually all his adult life. Mr. Goldin served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as editor of the SFWA Bulletin and as SFWA's Western Regional Director.

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Tsar Wars: Agents of ISIS, Book 1 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
RHopkins More than 1 year ago
I discovered this book through a post by Goldin and decided to give it a try. Overall, Tsar Wars is an excellent book and very well written (with few minor spelling and grammar issues). Tsar Wars reminded me of Star Wars (go figure, only the S and T are reversed) with a few twists. The book starts out quite slow and confusing for the first few chapters, but as the story goes on, you start understanding more. The Empire consists of thousands of inhabited planets with Earth being the center of the Empire and home to the Tsar. Tsar Wars follows two show dancer cousins who are descendents of ISIS spies, giving them ties to high military officers. When called upon to step into their parents' footsteps, they leave the show biz behind and try to stop a rebel army trying to take over the universe. When the Tsar dies, leaving behind a 14-year old child to run the universe, the Empire begins to fall apart as sector leaders try to take the throne for themselves. All that is standing between them are two untrained cousins and a 14-year old child. It has a Star Wars feel to it, having thousands of planets to fly between, however, from my understanding all the inhabitants are still human (some are genetically altered though). If you're a fan of Star Wars, be it the books or the movies and you want something similar, pick up this book and try it out. Space opera fans will enjoy this as well. A few things that really annoyed me in this book were the overly difficult names and not spelling out abbreviations first. Over and over words like "Velikaya Knyaghinya", "dvoryane" and "knyazey" are used. They are all clearly Russian which is fine because of the story line but they are used far too often without definition during the chapters. It wasn't until about halfway through the book I found the glossary for some of the terms but many of the slang terms the main characters used were still undefined in this section. The other issue was abbreviations. Personally I understand military rank abbreviations but some people may not. Introducing a character as Col. could be confusing to some people. There are many instances in the book like this and it could get frustrating very quickly if I didn't know them. Overall, the book is a great read and any fan of the genre should check it out. You won't be disappointed. Great start to a 10 book series, I look forward to reading and reviewing the rest of them as I go along.
mark_uk More than 1 year ago
About 30 years ago I read a set of books written by E. E. Doc Smith and Stephen Goldin - The Family D'Alembert series. Despite being a mere teenager, I thoroughly enjoyed them, and regularly re-read them when the mood strikes. Well, the author of those books (Stephen Goldin) has re-vamped, re-plotted, and re-issued them under the new series "Agents of ISIS", with Tsar Wars being the first in a series of ten. So... to the book itself. It is a story set several centuries in the future, with mankind living in an Empire of around one thousand planets, rules by a Tsar. The government and politics of the Empire is based on a feudal system, which becomes quite involved. The system seems based loosely on a Russian system from many years ago, and there is a strong Russian influence throughout the novel. To the story itself... The current Tsar is ailing and ill, and his successor is a 14 year old girl. The evil scheming bad guys want to eliminate them both and step in to take over - something which could realistically happen due to the twists and turns of the plot and the rich tapestry it weaves. Bring on the two main hero characters - Judah and Eva, both from a high-gravity planet where generations of evolution (and genetic enhancements) have gifted them with almost super human strength and reflexes. Their goal is to keep the young Tsarina alive and on the throne during the turbulent times throughout the book. Overall, the book is fast paced and exciting. It pretty much grips you from page one, and doesn't let go. You can tell there is a lot of background, but it does not overwhelm the reader. Again, there is a hint of the big and complex Universe which I expect will be revealed as the series continues. In all ways I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to to reading the next one. So, to my final thoughts. This set of books, as mentioned, is based on an earlier series. However, here is the twist: The story and characters are significantly different. Overall the Universe seems a much darker place, with good and evil more thoroughly mixed up within all the characters. As a huge fan of the old series, I was initially unsure how I would feel reading the new one when the old characters are so ingrained in my being. However, the new characters are so engrossing and refreshing that you soon forget the differences and enjoy this book for what it is - a new story, with new characters, written with at least the same skill and excitement as the old ones. A fine example of this are the two main characters. In the old series they were somewhat smug and overconfident, as well as being squeaky clean and well behaved. In the new series, Judah comes over as slightly immature, foolish, and very naive. Eva on the other hand is cocksure and confident, and is a real party-girl who is out to the small-hours indulging her vices. All in all, a great start to what I am sure will be a great series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a bit slow to begin with but when it hit its stride it was most enjoyable. Unique and interesting story.
Anna_ErishkigalAE More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for a massive, galactic-spanning space opera that has everything but the kitchen sink in it (Star Wars anyone?), so when the tongue-in-cheek Tsar Wars came across my recommendation list, it was a given I'd snap it up. I enjoyed this book far more than perhaps I should have. Galactic empires, political back-stabbing, genetically engineered secret agents, a princess-in-peril, and ... circus performers? Including a cameo with some otherworldly jaguar-like antagonists? Oooh! Yeah. This book hit a sweet spot that ain't been hit since Princess Leah kissed Luke Skywalker just before swinging across that yawning chasm and said 'good luck!' Since when did it become not okay to just plain have FUN reading a book? With a happy ending? Why has everything become about some dark, tortured anti-hero? Can't heroes just be heroic because it's the right thing to do? If you enjoyed the light-hearted feel of the first three Star Wars movies (IV-VI)and lamented the loss of both characterization and feel-goodedness (is that even a word?) from the latter three prequels (I-III), then you'll enjoy this book immensely. And oh, goody ... there are several more books in this series.... 5 lightly-leaping space-faring circus tigers
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