Children of the Empire ISBN: 9781546493426, a space Opera published and written by Lara Nance.
Plot: A ‘bad luck’ Zicca lizard ran across the foot of the young indentured servant to the Entertainment Masters, as Min was set to distribute the laundry through the foul underworld tunnels that housed the gladiators and their keepers under the heliodrome. Ruffian MoVera, the only one who occasionally would throw the youth a scrap of food was awake early. He was unusually dressed, like a citizen rather than as one of the elite gladiators, and entered the Arena Manager’s office. Min was accustomed to gaining bits of information that could be traded for extra food, or to avoid a beating, so entered a secret area to hear what was happening. Ruffian has collected enough credits to retire, so gives the required amount and leaves. Min asks to accompany him, is rejected and is sent back by a passing overseer. The city is attacked by the Crogians (Serpent people), Min escapes to the surface where a priestess appears running from the invaders, says “we know who you are”, shoves a baby at the youth saying “take care of her” and is killed as she continues running. Min runs, the baby stays amazingly quiet during the ordeal as they escape attackers and ultimately they end in a street near Ruffin’s mistress, Countess LoTerra’s home. Min reunites with the ex-gladiator who is leaving the deceased Countess and they race for her space ship. Entering the craft they escape to the small orbiting mass of Misticarra populated by priests, which provides safety because the invaders couldn’t care less about its population. From this point the enchanting tale moves forward. We discover Min actually is a young girl masquerading as a boy for safety and one of the deposed Emperor’s five children. Supposedly, he, his wife and all of the children had been killed by a traitorous insider. Instead, there had been substitutes, the five siblings had been hidden by the priests, their memories wiped away after implantation of microchips, and they were scattered in menial jobs throughout the galaxy. Each microchip contained a part of the plan for an unfinished weapon that would protect the entire galaxy if it could be finished and deployed. The story gradually unfolds as the eldest child Min, now a Princess, becomes recognized as such and with her trusted Ruffian who had been in her father’s guard, along with numerous other interesting characters, embark on finding and gathering together all of the siblings, finishing development of the secret weapon and ultimately restoring the TaSherion family as rulers of the empire.
Discussion: No real discussion is needed with respect to this author’s story. She has provided a well-written, fanciful sci-fi space odyssey thriller with numerous worthy characters and has done so in an ‘old-time fairy tale’ manner that is quite delightful. The only slightly jarring note are the occasional missing words.
4* Sci-fi space odyssey thriller written as enchanting ‘old-time fairy tale’.