Lieutenant Daniel Leary of the Republic of Cinnabar Navy commands the corvette Princess Cecile; his friend Signals Officer Adele Mundy has the latest in spy apparatus and the skill to prowl the most tightly guarded database. All they lack are enemies, and fate is about to supply that need in abundance!
A hostage uses the Princess Cecile to regain his freedom-and his throne!
An ally intrigues with enemies of Cinnabar-knowing the plot can only be safeguarded by destroying the Princess Cecile!
A pirate chief joins in a cutthroat battle with a rival-and the Princess Cecile is a pawn!
Daniel, Adele, and their crack crew must battle bureaucrats and traitors, the winds of a barren desert and the strains of a voyage never before attempted. If they succeed at every stage, their reward will be the chance to fight another enemy: one which can blow them and a hundred ships like theirs to vapor!
DEATH IS ALWAYS AN OPTION
BUT DEFEAT CAN NEVER BE
Action, color and heroics merge with the gritty realities of war and politics in a story that never slows down. Indeed, how could it slow down, with
Daniel Leary is a lieutenant in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy with no money and no prospects since he quarreled with his ruthless, politically powerful father.
Adele Mundy is a scholar with no money and no prospects since her family was massacred for conspiring against the Government of Cinnabar.
Kostroma is a wealthy planet which depends on diplomacy to stay independent in a galaxy whose two great powers, Cinnabar and the Alliance, battle for supremacy.
In a few hours, diplomacy is going to fail Kostroma. Daniel, Adele, and the scratch crew they gather aren't much to stand in the way of a powerful invasion fleet, but just possibly they're enough.
Men and women who hold courage cheap and honor more dear than life itself face impossible odds in a novel of color, intrigue and slashing action. From the corridors of a treason-ridden palace through the perils of unknown seas and hellish jungles to a final blazlng climax in space, the heroes never bow and the action never flags.
They have nothing on their side but each other—and heaven help whatever tries to stand in their way!
The ancient tales of European Man, carefully recorded by pious monks and hedge wizards alike, are insistent about the Western Isles. One of the tales of Doubting Thomas, the apostle, has it that he Christianized these islands and stayed there until the end of his days. The Arthurian legends clearly state that Arthur's father, Uther, came from the Western Isles.
Ancient and Medieval maps agree in showing them as being off the Western Coast of France. Lyonnesse was a part of the Western Islands, as was the City of Ys, Avalon, and the Land of Dahout.
Up until the time of the First Crusade, there are records of pilgrims visiting the Holy sites of the Western Islands. The remains of mercantile records of those days hint of trade with the islands of the west. Irish records and legends, which are generally regarded as reliable back to preChristian times, have many references to great floating islands being pushed by ocean currents and winds alike past the Emerald Isle, and sometimes becoming snagged there for a time.
The Icelandic Eddas make similar references.
Modern sailors and travelers sometimes sight great, many tiered cities near the ocean's horizon, but these people are rarely believed. It is easier for modern, technocentric man to believe in an optical illusion, the Fata Morgana.
This book is about two modern, hardheaded engineers who find the Western Islands.
"When I teach science fiction, I use Frankowski's books as an example of how to do it right." —Gene Wolfe
Telzey Amberdon is one of the most powerful xenotelepaths in the known galaxy. Trigger Argee is a crack shot, with reflexes that make lightning look lethargic, and also a top agent of the galaxy's Federation of the Hub. Separately, they have been making life miserable for human criminals, unfriendly aliens, and nefarious members of all species. But when a danger to the entire Hub civilization brought these two together, the galaxy would never be the same!
"Here, read this-you'll love it!" -Janet Kagan,
-Hugo-Winner and author of the bestseller Uhura's Song
"Wonderfully fresh." -The Horn Book
"Telzey Amberdon ... is strong, competent, and fun to be with."
-A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction
"[A] typical James Schmitz mix of humor, strange mental powers, and mild anarchy. Delightful."
-The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction