Unquietly Me hosts author Sunny Moraine’s Sword and Star blog tour!
- Welcome to the SWORD AND STAR blog tour!
- SWORD AND STAR is the conclusion of a trilogy I started (with my co-author for LINE AND ORBIT Lisa Soem) over a decade ago. It’s been a long, strange journey and now it’s over. It’s not the first book trilogy I’ve finished, but it’s certainly the closest to my heart.
- It’s been amazing getting to know this world and these characters over the course of three books, and it’s been even more amazing getting to share it all with readers. Adam Yuga and Lochlan d’Bideshi’s story is done, Eva Reyes and Kyle Waverly have found their own conclusion, Kae and Leila’s part in this tale is over (though you’ll see those two again in the forthcoming LINEAGE), and I’ve bid a fond farewell to the Bideshi seer Nkiruka. Goodbyes are never easy, but when you arrive at a good one, it’s immensely satisfying.
- I’m so grateful to everyone who’s traveled with me, and just as grateful to the people coming to the story now. Whatever category you fall into, I hope you’ll find this final volume a fitting end.
- Thank you for being here!
Three months after a brutal battle at Peris, Adam Yuga, Lochlan D’Bideshi, and their rebel fleet are embroiled in a new conflict. But things aren’t going well. Even with Lock’s homeship, Ashwina, at the head of the fleet, the Protectorate forces are adapting to their tactics. Before long, two devastating blows send the ragtag rebels on the run. But the greatest threat may come from within.
Since the battle at Peris, Protectorate loyalist Isaac Sinder’s determination to eliminate the rebel fleet has only intensified—along with his ambition. The Protectorate is decaying, and it’s clear to Isaac that only he can save it, by any means necessary.
As the situation worsens for the rebels, the strain begins to tell on everyone. But more than exhaustion grows within Adam. Something alien has started to change him. Lochlan fights to hold on, but even he may not be able to follow Adam down the dark road ahead.
As Isaac’s obsession turns to insanity, it becomes evident that more sinister plans than his are at work. Bound together by threads of fate and chance, Adam and Lochlan turn their eyes toward a future that may tear them apart—if they’re lucky enough to survive it at all.
BUY LINK: Riptide Publishing
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sunny Moraine’s short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, Lightspeed, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and multiple Year’s Best collections, among other places. They are also responsible for the novels Line and Orbit (cowritten with Lisa Soem), Labyrinthian, and the Casting the Bones trilogy, as well as A Brief History of the Future: collected essays. In addition to authoring, Sunny is a doctoral candidate in sociology and a sometimes college instructor; that last may or may not have been a good move on the part of their department. They unfortunately live just outside Washington DC in a creepy house with two cats and a very long-suffering husband.
Connect with Sunny:
- Website: sunnymoraine.com
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/Sunny_Moraine
- Tumblr: dynamicsymmetry.tumblr.com
- Twitter: @dynamicsymmetry
- Facebook: facebook.com/sunny.moraine
To celebrate the release of Sword and Star, Sunny is giving away a signed copy of the book and a handmade necklace. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 28, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Sometimes Adam went wandering.
Sometimes he was almost afraid. A great deal of the time he was certain Lochlan was.
But he had learned that there was only so much he could do about their threatening fear. Only so much of himself he could spare for that, for worry. Hadn’t they long ago passed the point of no return? If there was an event horizon, hadn’t they crossed it? Blown over it like a bullet, like the first shot fired in a storm of them.
Because it was that. It was exactly that. Bullets, shooting, and gone so far that there could never be any turning back.
He could only ever go forward now. The same was true for all of them.
So Adam went wandering through the night that went on forever.
He saw a great deal. Much of it made little sense to him. Much more made no sense at all. But he had grown comfortable with nonsense, as one grows comfortable with a change in gravity, in light, in temperature. You grow accustomed. You acclimate. You adapt.
From his conception Adam had been carefully engineered to be strong in body and in mind, impervious to illnesses both chronic and acute, physically attractive within a rigidly defined set of standards—and adaptable. On the Plain of Heaven, things had been changed inside him, other things stripped away, and now his reflexes weren’t what they once were, his strength was no longer so reliable, and he was more easily weakened than he had before. So many small alterations, so many tiny reorderings and reorganizations. So much movement.
Things had been taken from him. But other things had been given to him. And above all else he had retained the ability to adapt.
He knew how life forms evolved. He knew what time did to them, how it ravaged. How it could be cruel. He knew that the life that survived was the life that could adapt.
As he wandered through the dark and among the traveling stars, he meditated on these things. Somewhere distant, his body rested aboard Ashwina: massive Ashwina, gentle Ashwina, Ashwina the Bideshi homeship and Ashwina the cradle of his first rebirth, Ashwina his adopted home. If he had a home anymore.
Ashwina the machine of war.
He turned and looked back at it, hanging there in sub-slipstream, a little cloud of smaller ships drifting around it like a swarm of flies around some great beast, glittering in starlight. He beheld their fleet, such as it was—all scavenged, many of the ships stolen, some in poor repair, some half-built from the salvaged components of multiple others. He surveyed it with cool detachment, evaluating, briefly seeing it through the eyes of another, an outsider. No one would consider it impressive. No one would consider it a threat, not against any significant military force. No one would consider it formidable, not even with Ashwina’s enormous bulk at its center.
Like this, Adam was bodiless. He was consciousness alone. But as he thought these things, he smiled.
It was a tight smile, almost grim. He could take no joy in this conflict they were now part of. It was his doing—his among others—and he knew it, accepted it.
Regretted it. Not that it had happened. But that it had been necessary.
In three months, it was as if he had aged three decades.
He was alone here, but he could sense the beautiful chaos of minds on the small ships, on Ashwina—a strange chorus of life and everything life contained. But for the moment he had left them behind. Now he walked through the night, and as he gazed out into the countless stars and their eons of light, a face he knew coalesced from it and took shape in front of him, like a fantastically complex constellation. He felt no fear as he watched it happen, and he felt no surprise.
He felt no anger as he looked into the coldly aristocratic face of Melissa Cosaire.
She was not there, of course. She was dead, and if any part of her still existed, it was lost to him, and he had no desire to find it. But he gave her a nod, as if she were really with him. Now she was human-sized and human-shaped, and standing before him on nothing at all. Her arms were folded over her chest, her suit as immaculately tailored and pressed as ever, and she wore the same familiar expression of restrained impatience he had seen her adopt every time he’d met her.
You were my subordinate, she said stiffly. You shouldn’t call me that. Ms. Cosaire, if you please.
You’re dead, Adam pointed out gently. I don’t think it much matters what I call you now.
Dead or alive, you can mind your manners. I don’t imagine you’re rude to that Bideshi witch you drag around in your head.
Adam laughed. Without anger, without any desire for vengeance, and with the power this woman had once held over him now gone, talking to her ghost was oddly pleasant. Regardless of the fact that she was imaginary. Ixchel comes and goes as she pleases. I don’t drag her around anywhere. She would never stand for that.
Cosaire rolled her starry eyes. Whatever you say, you degenerate.
Nice to see you, too. Your head appears remarkably intact. What did Aarons call you? Before he blew a hole in it? ‘Missy’? There was no malice in his voice. If anything, he was teasing. The dead, Adam supposed, had to learn to thicken their skins.
And indeed, Cosaire didn’t seem hurt. She rolled her eyes again and waved a hand. His manners were worse than yours.
Mm. Adam moved beside her, and together they watched the fleet. He misses you. He’d never admit it, but he does. He might not have liked you, Melissa, but he respected you. He paused. So did I, if it comes to that. Once I even cared a great deal about what you thought of me.
She gave him a sidelong look, and her expression was difficult to read. And now?
Now you’re dead. Adam returned her look with a smile.
If you feel some respect for the dead, you genetic mistake, you could show it.
Adam shook his head. If I was a mistake, so were you. The sickness was killing you, Melissa. Just like it was killing me. Just like it was killing all of them. He nodded at the fleet, at the stolen and scavenged and salvaged Protectorate ships full of once-defective defectors. Just like it’s killing the entire Protectorate. You know where the mistake was. You couldn’t admit it. That was what killed you in the end, not Bristol Aarons. Not his bullet. You know it. Admit it. You’re dead. You have nothing left to lose.
No, she said softly, and there was quiet regret in her voice. He wondered whether he was truly imagining her.
And then he didn’t stop wondering.
No, I have nothing left to lose. There’s a freedom in that, boy. You’ll know it in time. You and your lover. You and your lover and the rest of them.
We’re all for death, he replied.
So it’s really to be war, then?
Adam shrugged. Isn’t it already?
Cosaire huffed a laugh. A few raids on a few outposts and you’re calling it a war? That’s a slight overstatement, don’t you think?
It’s the beginning of one. We began it three months ago. On Peris.
That was a reconnaissance fleet. Poorly armed, poorly armored. There was no particular heat in her tone, no particular sharpness. They weren’t ready for you. You took the one advantage any inferior force ever has—you surprised them. You continue to surprise them, but you won’t forever. Sooner or later they’ll be ready for you. Then you’ll have to face them.
She regarded him, and her eyes were full of freezing night. Then, Adam, you’ll see what war is. And I promise you, every battle you’ve seen—Peris, the skirmish at the detention center, even the Battle of the Plain—will look like a sparring match in a dojo on Ashwina. You haven’t seen blood spilled. You haven’t seen horror. You haven’t seen death. She gave him a smile, thin but not cold. Sad. I’m dead. I would know.
Adam was silent. When one couldn’t think of what to say, he had learned—and this before he ever fell from the Protectorate’s grace, before he ever found an uneasy home with the Bideshi—that it was better to be silent. And what could he say, in any case?
She wasn’t wrong. He knew that much.
I don’t fear for you, Adam. Her voice was fading, and she was fading as well. Rejoining the stars, slipping back into the night.
I don’t fear for you. But you should fear for yourself. You should fear for all of them.
You should fear.
She was gone. Adam was alone.
He wasn’t afraid. Not yet.
But he might learn to be.