Kelric Valdoria, whose Skolian family runs the interplanetary Imperiate that rules the over the known galaxy, is out between the stars when his spaceship is attacked. Kelric survives because his ship drops far from the attackers and crashes on Coba, a planet that is outside the Imperiate’s rule. As Kelric recovers from his wounds, he finds himself in a very different world from the one he knows.
Coba is ruled by 12 Estates, all of whom are run by women. Men are generally held in low esteem beyond their sexual desirability, and have duties as caretakers for their children. Women can have more than one husband, as long as she has the means to provide for them. Kelric’s attempted escapes, his entanglements with high-placed women who desire him, his concern for his children, his rise as a high-level expert in this society’s all-important game of Quis, provide great entertainment in this novel set in Asaro’s highly praised Skolian Empire.
On PRIMARY INVERSION:
"One of the best SF first novels in years."
"An imaginative debut that takes off at a frantic pace, with dazzling technology, stirring battles and mental hijinks ... plenty of energy and invention."
- Kirkus Reviews
on the SKOLIAN EMPIRE series:
"One of the major series in the genre."
- SF Chronicle
"Asaro's Skolian saga is now nearly as long and in many ways as compelling as DUNE, if not more so."
"Catherine Asaro brings the feel of science back into science fiction."
- Donald M. Kingsbury, author of COURTSHIP RITE and PSYCHOHISTORICAL CRISES
"Known for her brilliance at combining science, adventure and riveting characterization, Catherine Asaro breaks new territory..."
- Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author of THE WILD CHILD and THE RAKE
On CATHERINE ASARO:
"Physicist Asaro combines hard speculative science and first-rate storytelling."
"Readers seeking the harmonious meld of hard SF's rigor and human chemistry's heat should read Catherine Asaro's fiction."
- SciFi Weekly
"Asaro's portrait of interstellar intrigue, weird socio-political customs and galactic history has come to approach the neighborhood of such classics as Frank Herbert's DUNE series."
Catherine Asaro has authored about thirty books, including science fiction, thrillers, and fantasy. Her works The Quantum Rose and “The Spacetime Pool” both won the Nebula® Award, and she is a multiple Hugo nominee. Among her many other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the AnLab from Analog magazine. Her upcoming books are The Vanished Seas (Baen, July 2020), and the eBook Lightning Strike Book II. Taken together, Lightning Strike Book I and Book II form a revised and expanded version of Catch the Lightning.
Catherine has a doctorate in chemical physics and masters in physics, both from Harvard, and a BS in chemistry from UCLA. Her paper “Complex Speeds and Special Relativity” (The American Journal of Physics, April 1996) forms the basis for some of the science in her fiction. She directed the Chesapeake Math Program for many years, serving as a teacher and coach in math, physics, and chemistry. Her students distinguished themselves in many national programs, including the USA Mathematical Olympiad, MathCounts, the USA Physics Olympiad, and the Harvard-MIT Math Contest.
Catherine has appeared as a speaker at many institutions, including Harvard, the National Academy of Sciences, and the US Naval Academy, and she has appeared as a Guest of Honor at science fiction cons across the US and abroad, including the National Science Fiction Conventions of both Denmark and New Zealand. She served two terms as president for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and is a member of SIGMA, a think tank that advises the government as to future trends affecting national security. She also appears as a vocalist at clubs and conventions. Her most recent piece is the Celtic-themed song Ancient Ages, written by science fiction author Arlan Andrews. She danced for about 35 years in ballet and jazz. She and her husband, John Kendall Cannizzo, were married thirty-three years until he passed. They have one daughter, a mathematician and ballet dancer.
In her third novel set in the embattled Skolian Empire, Asaro (Catch the Lightning) has settled into a smoothly absorbing space-opera formula that mixes high-tech gimmickry with galactic politics and plenty of romance. Kelric, heir to the Imperial throne, is stranded on the restricted planet Coba after he and his ship are badly damaged. The matriarchal society he finds himself in abhors killing, but, justifiably fearing the consequent loss of its autonomy, is unwilling to return him to his space-faring people. So, though the technology Kelric carries embedded in his body threatens to destroy him, he is held captive and treated as a pawn of planetary politics. Shuttled between various strong, ruling women, he becomes slave, lover, servant and savant as his special skills give him talents and abilities that threaten to unmake a world and a people he comes to love. The most original and intriguing aspect of the novel is the game of Quis, a mathematical model for interpersonal relationships that is played with rainbow-colored dice. Less touchy-feely than Asaro's first novel, this one packs in lots of action along with its many romantic interludes and diversions into speculative genetics.