LOYALTY, LEGACY AND BETRAYAL…
Princess Altagracia has lost everything. After a bloody civil war, her twin sister has claimed not just the crown of their planet Szayet but the Pearl of its prophecy, a computer that contains the immortal soul of their god. Stripped of her birthright, Altagracia prepares to flee the planet – just as Matheus Ceirran, Commander of the interstellar Empire of Ceiao, arrives in deadly pursuit. Princess Altagracia sees an opportunity to win back her planet, her god, and her throne . . . if she can win over the Commander and his distrustful right-hand officer, Anita.
But talking her way into Commander Matheus’s good graces, and his bed, is only the beginning. Dealing with the most powerful man in the galaxy is almost as dangerous as war, and Altagracia is quickly torn between Matheus and the wishes of the machine god that whispers in her ear.
For Szayet’s sake, and her own, Altagracia will need to become more than a princess with a silver tongue. She will have to become a queen as history has never seen before – even if it breaks an empire.
‘Takes the larger-than-life figures of the ancient world and recasts them against a backdrop of drowned worlds and interstellar empires with extraordinary verve’ -Emily Tesh
‘Beautifully written, with poise and wit and grand epic sweep, The Stars Undying has everything I want from a space opera’ – AK Larkwood
This is a book with an epic galactic scope drawing on the Empires of Ancient Rome and Egypt to rewrite the timeless story of Cleopatra, Mark Anthony and Caesar. In Robin’s version we have an epic story following the reworked and reimagined Gracia, Ceirran and Anita.
With themes of grief, love, persuasion, identity, religion, power, truth and fiction this book is presented, in the author’s words as ‘queer work and gender liberation work’ and is a world of stars, space, moons and planets.
The narrative splits between two perspectives: Ceirran and Gracia. The story jumps back and forth as the reader enters the space opera and its inevitable dramas. It’s a hefty book but it’s certainly been written with passion. The world is detailed, richly crafted and full of political and strategic challenges and perspectives. It is a minefield of names, so some help from maps/character lists and a genre-based glossary would have been welcomed.
You can tell the author enjoys words and creating richness and rhythms in their writing, although at times confusing to wade through, there are moments of beautifully crafted lyricism. It was the character dynamics that shone for me, and out of a deep setting and world came some very human behaviours and emotions, albeit from some unreliable narrator perspectives.
Although heavy with world-building and politics, this is a book that will suit the reader who’s looking for something a little different – who’s happy to open their mind to the space opera retelling of an ancient story with modern queer representation.
Do check out The Stars Undying