Publisher: Matthew Hughes
Publishing Date: June 2014
Publisher Description: When professional duelist Conn Labro escapes indentured servitude as the star player of Horder’s Emporium, he abandons the gaming world of Thrais and sets out on an interstellar journey filled with murder, deceit, and self-discovery. His only friend on Thrais, discovered dead and tortured, left him enough money to buy himself out of his contract and a curious encrypted “bearer deed” to a mysterious property on the distant edge of the galactic Spray. With the seductive, secretive showgirl Jenore Mordene at his side and a villainous pleasure cult dogging his every move, Labro sets out to learn the truth behind his bearer deed and more about his own past than he had ever dared bargain for.
Review: Cover art is kewl.
Wow. Having read the publisher description I thought I was in for a juvenile read. Not even close. This had really good dueling scenes, great character development and a schizophrenic story line. Conn’s internalizations and views on life in general are very logical and have less emotion than Spock fixing a broken transporter. As emotions trickle into mind you get to follow along in this slow reveal of humanity as he plies his way across the Spray.
The story line has a few tangents where there is an inordinate amount of time spent on Old Earth with Jenore and her family. The pace slows way down as Conn tries to figure out himself and only picks up when Jenore’s evil and fat betrothed starts machinating.
The story culimates on a planet once owned by two brothers of the Caligula bent and deeded to Conn. There is a finality to the story that left me strangely disappointed. I really wanted to keep following Conn Labro, Jenore and Captain Erkatchian across the Spray and into the Back and Beyond. A wonderfully poignant story of self-discovery interlaced with hard-boiled SciFi and Epiniards.