Elliott (Throne of Eldraine: The Wildered Quest) launches a space opera trilogy with this impeccable coming-of-age adventure that draws inspiration from classic sci-fi, pop-culture, and the life of Alexander the Great. When 20-year-old Princess Sun, heir to the queen-marshal of the Republic of Chaonia, returns to court from her heroic command in battle, she’s disappointed to be sent back out on a handshake-and-visibility tour with her Companions, representatives of Chaonia’s seven Core Houses. Elsewhere, transportation engineer Persephone is preparing to finish her training at the Central Defense Cadet Academy—only to have her plans upended by treacherous family drama. Instead of getting her degree, Perse is instated as one of Sun’s new Companions. The two women must work together to untangle myriad political machinations among Chaonian society, thwart an invasion from the Phene empire, and regain their personal independence, all under the watchful eye of Channel Idol, a popular streaming news and entertainment network. Elliott gracefully juggles multiple story lines and perspectives while delving into deeply personal themes and probing political issues of power and bias. Rich with history, tongue-in-cheek humor, cultural references, and vibrant characters, this highly entertaining series launch will have readers clamoring for more. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Gosh Literary. (July)
Princess Sun is an accomplished military leader, heir to the throne of the Republic of Chaonia, who struggles to claim the favor of her mother, famed Queen-Marshal Eirene. As political machinations revolve around her heritage and status, Sun must find allies within her circle of Companions, members of the other noble houses who serve as friends (hopefully) and advisers. As secret experiments, assassination attempts, and surprising noble house truths are revealed, she relies on possible traitors and precarious connections to enemy prisoners to keep herself and those she cares for alive. The Phene are determined to take the war to Chaonia Prime. Exciting action and battle scenes are inventively balanced with pop culture elements that places the spotlight on the strong women who are determined to make a name for themselves, beyond their lineage. VERDICT Elliott's (King's Dragon) interstellar novel is an epic space opera that sets this new series off to a promising start. Alternating between the points of view of Princess Sun, Academy graduate Persephone Lee, and Phrene pilot Apama, it gives a nuanced and full-circle view of intergalactic warfare and its powerful effects.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton
Clash of empires: an action-packed yarn loosely based on historical precedent, the sort of flawlessly plotted, high-tension science fiction Elliott's been threatening to write for some time.
The story precipitates us into a kind of modernized Chinese-flavored Alexandrian Macedonia, with a partially collapsed "beacon" network allowing instantaneous interstellar travel, commerce, and war. It's the sort of society where everything of importance happens in front of the cameras, where broadcasting is indistinguishable from propaganda. Under queen-marshal Eirene, the matriarchal Republic of Chaonia has expelled the Yele and Phene occupiers. Eirene, unaccountably, grudges her daughter and heir, Princess Sun, a word of praise, no matter how stellar Sun's achievements. Sun's Companions are aides drawn from her relatives and the scions of powerful nobles, though some of the same ambitious families and court factions would prefer to see Sun ousted or dead. Meanwhile, the rich, powerful Phene, with their four arms and profoundly creepy secrets, become alarmed at Chaonia's success and prepare to strike. The two main narrative viewpoints complement one another. Third-person past-tense Sun must survive constant threats to her life and freedom while conducting battles, making plans, exposing traitors, controlling her wayward impulses, and asking the questions everybody else shrinks from. First-person present-tense Persephone of House Lee struggles to gain independence from her insidious and possibly treacherous family and prove her loyalty to Sun. The upshot is a maelstrom of palace intrigue, interstellar back-stabbing, devious plots, treachery, blistering action, ferocious confrontations—and a heroine for the ages, tough, resourceful, loyal, intelligent, honorable, courageous, and utterly indomitable.
Enthralling, edge-of-your-seat stuff hurtling along at warp speed. Grab!