Hugo award–nominated author Stina Leicht has created a take on space opera for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop in this high-stakes adventure.
Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.
Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner, caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.
Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will effect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlov Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.
Leicht's sprawling, frenetic science fiction take on The Seven Samurai founders due to an overcrowded plot and characters that lean heavily on cultural stereotypes. The shape-shifting Emissaries are indigenous to the storm-wracked planet Persephone, colonized 150 years ago by the human Serrao-Orlov Corporation. When rogue Serrao-Orlov executive Vissia Corsini attempts to seize Persephone to co-opt Emissary technology, Corsini's former friend, burned-out nonbinary crime boss Rosie Ashmore, sends trans, disabled, former marine Angel de la Reza and her crew of skilled mercenaries to protect the planet. Alongside Kennedy Liu, an illegally created clone drawn to Persephone by an online plea for help, martial artist Angel and her crew must destroy Serrao-Orlov's claim to Persephone, save the Emissaries from the threat of genocide, and solve the mystery behind a rogue AI. Despite fast-paced, no-nonsense prose, this first foray into science fiction from fantasy author Leicht (Blackthorn) is overcrowded with an abundance of low-impact, short-term conflicts, unnecessary twists, and convoluted backstory. And though the gender diversity is well handled, the novel's anti-colonialist themes are undermined by the depiction of the alien Emissaries, which falls into uncomfortable noble savage tropes. This pop culture amalgam reaches for the sky, but comes up short.