QSFer Anna Butler has a new sci fi book out:
Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isn’t his father’s ship—bad enough that he can’t yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesn’t have the added stress of commanding former lover Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, knowing the fraternisation regulations will keep them apart.
Working on the material he collected himself on T18 three years before, Bennet decodes enough Maess data to send him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity.
It’s not good. It’s not good at all.
Taking Shield Book 3
About the Taking Shield series
Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.
Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family. When the series opens, Bennet is at odds with his long term partner, Joss, who wants him out of the military and back in an academic, archaeological career. He’s estranged from his father, Caeden, who is the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla. Events of the first book, in which he is sent to his father’s ship to carry out an infiltration mission behind Maess lines, improve his relationship with Caeden, but bring with them the catalyst that will destroy the one with Joss: one Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.
Over the Taking Shield story arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.
Bennet looked around for a drone. An EDA drone lay on its back a few yards away, chest-hit and immobile. Circuitry spilled from the hole in its chest, thin tendrils of smoke coiling up from the exposed wiring. Memory replayed to remind him he’d got this one himself. One of his kills. He walked over to it, calling to Danzer.
Both sergeant and corporal were beside him in a flash, Haydn helping Danzer ease the refrigerated storage box from her shoulders.
Bennet used his hand laser to take off the head and handed it to Danzer. She turned the featureless ovoid head around in her hands. “How do I get into it, sir?”
Bennet took the head back. “It can be hard to tell which is the front, once you’ve taken the head off, but you can see the back’s more rounded at this point here. See this thin line running along it? That’s the seal. Harder to see than in the older models, but it’s your way in. Slit it with a knife”—Bennet replaced his laser with the knife that normally lived tucked into the top of his boot, and while Danzer held the head, he slid the blade down the length of the seal—“apply pressure here, and the head falls open.”
Which it did, on cue, like a sliced melon. The node lay in a tangled nest of wiring and circuitry. Felix had provided a basic toolkit; a couple of cutters and small silicon-ended tongs. It was all he needed. Bennet cut through the wiring and used the tongs to lift the node, dropping it into the jar Haydn held out. He wiped his fingers on his pants, even though he hadn’t had to touch the loathsome grey lump.
“That’s all it takes. Okay?”
Wilde City Press: Click Here
Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.