OK, Rogue Planet is a done deal, but maybe you’re too shy to click on the “Peek Inside” button on the Amazon book page, so I decided to repost this excerpt. Before giving you a first look at this new novel, here’s the blurb:
Hidden away from near-Earth planets in remote spiral arms of the Galaxy are Human worlds that have lost contact with more progressive worlds and reverted to strange and primitive customs and traditions, their leaders using religion, superstition, and imported technologies to rule in tyranny. Survey ships explored and catalogued these planets as suitable for future colonization centuries earlier, but groups with a special interest in ensuring a homogeneous and often despotic society didn’t bother applying for permission to colonize.
Following the ITUIP (Interstellar Trade Union of Independent Planets) Protocol, ships were restricted to observe and maintain a hands-off policy for these rogue planets, even when there was great temptation to intervene. Eden, where a theocracy rules with an iron fist, is such a planet. A group of rebels struggles to end the oppressive regime to forge a new future.
Set in the same universe as the “Chaos Chronicles Trilogy” and the Dr. Carlos stories, this sci-fi saga once again explores the never-ending battle between good and evil so prominent in my other books.
I had fun writing this hard sci-fi tale with a fantasy flavor. I hope you have as much fun reading it, available in all ebook formats at $2.99 (Amazon and Smashwords) and print for $9.99 (Create Space). And, as usual, you can read for free in exchange for an honest review (I’ll put it on Net Galley for a short time for those would-be reviewers who are too shy to query me directly).
Now, for the excerpt:
Two weeks later, Kaushal wound through a maze of corridors and tunnels, many underground, and found a secluded and breezy courtyard he remembered from his childhood in the castle. The walls were high enough to trap most sounds he made practicing the roki, and lush vegetation muted the echoes. He knew several places like this, and rotated between them, randomizing his choices to avoid discovery.
He only stopped playing and singing when he saw the shadow cast on the stone floor. When she peeked around the corner of the column, he smiled at Princess Anju.
“Will you report me?”
She stepped from behind the column. “No, as long as you don’t report me.”
“Agreed. Are you in trouble?”
“My uncle would go into a fit of rage if he knew I’m alone with a Second Tribe slave. He might kill me even, like he did my father. And he’d likely kill you too. Or, at the very least, castrate you.”
“I suppose my voice would turn to soprano in that case,” he said with a smile. He had no idea where he’d heard that. Was it the practice in his father’s court? Even the Second Tribe frowned on female singers, so boys and men singing countertenor took their place. Maybe they weren’t countertenors to begin with?
“That’s not funny,” she said. She sat on the opposite end of the bench, folding her hands in her lap. “Can I listen to more?”
“You make me nervous,” he said.
“A performer with no audience is a hibjab shrieking at the moon.”
“What’s a hibjab?”
“Some animal on Paradise, I suppose, before the Ice Age. It’s just a saying. It means—”
He held up a hand. “I figured out what it means. You’re saying I should practice with an audience, and you’ll be my first audience member.”
She nodded. “Please, continue.”
She listened to him for a while and then stood.
“I have to go. Do you often come here? I only found this place today.”
“There are many secret spots like this in the castle. I can show you if you like.”
She raised an eyebrow but followed with a smile. “I’d like that.”
“People in the court will love your songs and playing,” said Princess Anju.
“I don’t want to entertain the court. Why should I? You people have taken over my world.”
She frowned. “Not I. And don’t be so stubborn. Other Second Tribe slaves are courtiers. It’s a privilege and an escape from a hard life.” She put her tiny hand on his arm. “Do it for me.”