with aliens is always tricky, and not
just for the obvious reasons..."
the beginning of the 24th century, social breakdown and environmental
decay have led Humanity to withdraw into gigantic habitat towers,
insular, safe, and sterile. A new governmental system has evolved:
Structure, imposing order upon Earth so that mankind may prosper among
the stars. Some prosper more than others, however; beneath Structure’s
superficially benevolent exterior is a military dictatorship headed by
General William Myson — leader, profiteer, sybarite. A man whose many
political enemies would dearly love to know that his already vast
personal fortune is secretly being swollen through arms deals with the
mysterious, alien Sinz.
Seriatt is home to an exotic three-sex race bound by tradition and
honour, and located near to the wormhole gateway used by the Sinz. The
Seriatts see Myson’s arms dealing as a threat, and with tensions
rising, Myson realises he must link Earth and Seriatt politically to
ensure that his grip on power remains firm. After many diplomatic
overtures, it is agreed that he will father a child by Vourniass Lycern,
the assigned child-bearer to the Seriattic Royal Household.
But when Lycern decamps to the quasi-religious Affinity Group, Myson
orders Alexander Delgado to fetch her. Once a feared and respected
officer in Military Intelligence, the changes that followed Myson’s
rise to power have seen Delgado’s status plummet, his independent
character and unorthodox methods unwelcome under the new regime.
Resentful and bitter, Delgado sees the mission not as a chance to regain
his former status, but as an opportunity to engender far greater change.
When he comes into contact with Lycern, however, his carefully laid
plans fall apart, and the choices he must make will change his life
Martin Sketchley’s first novel skilfully blurs the boundaries between
good and evil, male and female, human and non-human. Sexuality, gender
roles, the nature of authority – the very essence of what it is to be
human – are explored within a gripping narrative that highlights the
contrast between what we perceive ourselves to be, and what we really