I’ve been reading a terrific science fiction romance series by Lindsay Buroker, The Fallen Empire. So far there are four volumes, with the fifth to come soon. There are several interesting aspects to this series, not least of which has been the slowly building romance. In the first book there were hardly even any romantic elements, let alone romance BUT the author gave me enough hope that the two characters I wanted to see together might just figure that out over the course of the stories (which – SPOILER – does seem to be happening as the larger story unfolds through the succeeding books). And even though I’m not a patient person when it comes to my romances, I find I’m quite enjoying the realistic slow pace of this couple.
Let it be noted that the books are not cliffhangers, although the larger mysteries haven’t been resolved as yet – Lindsay excels at adding more mystery even as she solves a few puzzle pieces – I felt satisfied at the end of each book that there had been enough of a conclusion to many of the threads it raised.
I really liked the worldbuilding because Lindsay made me think about a lot of things I’d never really considered. When a war ends, the pieces don’t all fall back into place neatly, not for the winners and certainly not for the losers. People are left stranded where they don’t belong, with huge challenges ahead to just get home, if indeed they even have a home left. Everything they may have counted on in their society has been swept away. I don’t mean to paint an overly grim picture, because the author doesn’t – her characters have their bitter, wistful moments, but for the most part they hunker down and make the best of the situation and figure things out.
And oh, wait a minute, is the vanquished side really done for? Or is there a faint hope of re-establishing the old order? And will the heroine ever find her daughter, kidnapped by mysterious Star Seers? And what is the private agenda of some of the passengers on the ship? I think the term “Fireflyesque” gets hugely overused but have to admit there is a certain flavor of that to The Fallen Empire series and I love it.
Chickens in the cargo hold is a nice touch.
Finally, I can’t resist the cyborg hero, Leonidas, with his scarlet battle armor and his slowly growing affection and desire for heroine Alisa.
These books have been in the Top 10 SFR list at Amazon for a few weeks now and deservedly so. Can’t wait for Book Five, the conclusion to the series, which is due in the Fall.
STAR NOMAD (FALLEN EMPIRE BOOK 1): The Alliance has toppled the tyrannical empire. It should be a time for celebration, but not for fighter pilot Captain Alisa Marchenko. After barely surviving a crash in the final battle for freedom, she’s stranded on a dustball of a planet, billions of miles from her young daughter. She has no money or resources, and there are no transports heading to Perun, her former home and the last imperial stronghold.
But she has a plan.
Steal a dilapidated and malfunctioning freighter from a junkyard full of lawless savages. Slightly suicidal, but she believes she can do it. Her plan, however, does not account for the elite cyborg soldier squatting in the freighter, intending to use it for his own purposes. As an imperial soldier, he has no love for Alliance pilots. In fact, he’s quite fond of killing them.
Alisa has more problems than she can count, but she can’t let cyborgs, savages, or ancient malfunctioning ships stand in her way. If she does, she’ll never see her daughter again.
HONOR’S FLIGHT (FALLEN EMPIRE BOOK 2): After spending four years fighting for the Alliance, fighter pilot Alisa Marchenko only wants one thing: to reunite with her young daughter. But this involves a journey to her former home world, which has become the last imperial stronghold. Since the imperials have a lot of reasons to loathe members of the Alliance right now, just getting down to the planet will be a challenge, and it doesn’t help that her passengers are stirring up trouble of their own…
Even if Alisa is able to land, she may find that more questions await her than answers, and that her late husband kept a startling secret from her, one that could change her life forever.
STAR SEERS (FALLEN EMPIRE BOOK 3): The mysterious and powerful Starseers have Captain Alisa Marchenko’s daughter, and she will do whatever she must to get her back, even if it means traveling to their stronghold and confronting them personally. Unfortunately, her strongest ally, the cyborg Leonidas, may become a liability since the cyborgs and the Starseers have a long history of hating each other. It doesn’t help that Leonidas and Dr. Dominguez have a mission of their own, one that could jeopardize all that Alisa is fighting for.
RELIC OF SORROWS (FALLEN EMPIRE BOOK 4): Captain Alisa Marchenko finally has a lead on finding her daughter, but her passengers want her to take them on their quest instead. Even though the Star Nomad is her ship, they have power she cannot fight, and she finds herself with no choice but to accept another detour.
But the ancient relic they seek has the ability to destroy worlds and is coveted by many. The path leading to it is riddled with competitors and littered with the dead, and even a cyborg and a Starseer may not be strong enough to fight the obstacles in the way.
Swept up in a fate she never chose, Alisa must find a way to survive against impossible odds, knowing that if her passengers succeed, they will change the course of history—maybe not for the better.