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"...a masterful epic of exploration and exile." — Lee Murray, double Bram Stoker Award®-winner and author of Grotesque: Monster Stories
" Insightful and highly entertaining!” — Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of Relentless and V-Wars
"...this is the beginning of an outstanding epic that will have broad appeal, especially to the readers of the Dune saga. Highly recommended for all sf collections." — Booklist Starred Review
Of Kings, Queens and Colonies: (Coronam Book 1) is a multi-protagonist story set in the human future where the politics and players of sixteenth century Europe echo the repeated mistakes of humanity at another crucial crossroads of decision and evolution.
Nearly a millennium after The Unsettling of old Earth, the new civilized worlds are on the brink of war. The planet Enskari, as an affront to tradition and the Prophet on Temple, has placed Zabel, a woman upon its throne. With the backing of the church, Brandon of Hyrax readies an armada to subdue Enskari and unite the system under a single rule—his own.
Meanwhile an Enskaran group of separatists depart for the last unclaimed world of the system, Tirgwenin. There they will find something strange. Something low and connective, subtle and spreading. Something alien. Something truly threatening.
FLAME TREE PRESS is the imprint of long-standing Independent Flame Tree Publishing, dedicated to full-length original fiction in the horror and suspense, science fiction & fantasy, and crime / mystery / thriller categories. The list brings together fantastic new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
A religious inquisition plays out across a richly imagined albeit somewhat unrealistic system of colonized planets in this odd blend of space opera and 16th-century historical fiction from Worthen (What Immortal Hand). Multiple protagonists carry the narrative from the cramped conditions aboard a colony ship headed for isolated Tirgwenin to the war brewing between rebellious Queen Zabel of Enskari, who's broken from the church and altered misogynist religious doctrine in order to rule, and violent Prince Brandon of Hyrax, who's backed by the religious leaders on Temple. Worthen blends the clever scientific concept of atmospheric crystals, which protect the worlds of the Coronam system from that star's fierce electromagnetic storms, with the fantastical improbability of 10 planets sharing orbital distance. This is still less jarring than the Renaissance-flavored worldbuilding, incorporating a rigid class system, formal speech pattern, and institutionalized slavery. A distinct lack of characters worth rooting for makes for a trying experience through the first half, with accounts of horrific brutality as Admiral Hasin subjugates Tirgwenin's people in an attempt to colonize the planet. Readers who persist through Worthen's vivid, unshrinking depictions of zealotry and bigotry will be rewarded by the hopeful culmination of the intrigue and a nail-biting final battle. It's not wholly successful, but Worthen gets points for originality.