Authors: Ann Aguirre
PRAISE FOR THE SIRANTHA JAX NOVELS
“This is a great science fiction tale in a strong series…Anyone who visits the Ann Aguirre universe knows [it] is an entertaining, exciting realm.”
Midwest Book Review
“Highly satisfying…In the end,
is a thoroughly enjoyable installment in the series…
has all of the heart, soul, adventure, and sense of wonder that you could ask for in a character-driven series like this; as much as I’m anticipating the last book, I’ll miss Jax and friends when it’s all over.”
“Chock-full of adventure…It’s tautly written with a surprise around every corner.”
All About Romance
“Aguirre’s writing is tight, and the characters have plenty of depth…This isn’t just a run-of-the-mill military science fiction story with some obligatory romance thrown in…Ann Aguirre is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers, and
is a big reason why. I am looking forward to reading all the books in the Sirantha Jax series.”
“Why do I love this series so much? Ann Aguirre is an amazing storyteller. She started with this crazy sci-fi world, but what she really has given us are unforgettable characters.”
“Aguirre has created a fleshed-out futuristic world and, yes, a strong heroine to lead us through it. There’s always something new to learn about, and the characters—the supporting cast—are also well worth the trip.”
“Fraught with action, farewells, and sorrow…Fans of this series won’t be able to put
down…Ms. Aguirre has left the reader hanging with a finish that guarantees the reader will be on pins and needles waiting for the next installment.”
“A fabulous book…Fans of the big SF flicks out there, from
, will find everything they love about those stories in this one. Princesses, spaceship battles, monsters, lasers, and aliens,
has it all and is poised to thrust this series into a strong, tight spin to its (I hope) victorious end.”
“Rife with huge, tender emotions, rough anguish that makes me cry, and moments, snatches of joy, that make all of that anguish worthwhile…This is the kind of story that makes the emotional roller coaster of reading so appealing.”
Lurv a la Mode
“Oh wow! I literally inhaled this book, and I could not put it down…an epic space opera…five out of five stars!”
The Book Pushers
“The world-building was not only tight but excellent. Ms. Aguirre weaves some amazing cultural, environmental, and physical details into the Ithtorian world that I found fascinating, and it is what made this book stand out for me.”
Impressions of a Reader
“One of my favorite aspects of this series is Jax. I love her as a heroine, and this book really allows Jax to shine…If you are a fan of this series, you know the ending will have you flipping through the calendar to see when it is time for the next in the series. This book puts things into motion, [and] I cannot wait to see where they go from here. Rating: five stars.”
“What marks this series as excellent is the complexity of character…Plus, there’s the fact that Ann Aguirre tells a good story, plain and simple…
was a fantastic installment in the series, and, while being immensely satisfying, it still left me wanting more in the best possible way.”
“Fast-paced and thrilling,
is pure adrenaline. Sirantha Jax is an unforgettable character, and I can’t wait to find out what happens to her next. The world Ann Aguirre has created is a roller-coaster ride to remember.”
—Christine Feehan, #1
New York Times
“The details of communication, travel, politics, and power in a greedy, lively universe have been devised to the last degree, but are presented effortlessly. Aguirre has the mastery and vision which come from critical expertise: She is unmistakably a true science fiction fan, writing in the genre she loves.”
“A thoroughly enjoyable blend of science fiction, romance, and action, with a little something for everyone, and a great deal of fun. It’s down and dirty, unafraid to show some attitude.”
“A terrific first novel full of page-turning action, delightful characters, and a wry twist of humor. Romance may be in the air. Bullets, ugly beasties, and really nasty bad guys definitely are.”
—Mike Shepherd, national bestselling author
“An irresistible blend of action and attitude. Sirantha Jax doesn’t just leap off the page—she storms out, kicking, cursing, and mouthing off. No wonder her pilot falls in love with her; readers will, too.”
—Sharon Shinn, national bestselling author
“A tightly written, edge-of-your-seat read.”
—Linnea Sinclair, RITA Award–winning author
Also by Ann Aguirre
Sirantha Jax Series
Corine Solomon Series
ACE BOOKS, NEW YORK
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author
Ace mass-market edition / September 2012
Copyright © 2012 by Ann Aguirre.
Cover art by Scott M. Fischer.
Cover design by Lesley Worrell.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
For Suzanne McLeod,
who heard my cry for help and said, “Of course.”
Thanks to Laura Bradford. She accomplishes the impossible and makes it look easy. She is not only my agent but a dear friend, and I am lucky to have her as a partner in my career.
Next, I thank Anne Sowards, who built Jax into the heroine you see today. Her keen insight takes each book and makes it exponentially better. I adore working with someone with such great knowledge, experience, and instincts.
I appreciate my copy editors, the Schwagers. I cherish their diligence in making me look good. They polish my prose without changing my voice; that is an incomparable skill.
Thanks to my amazing personal proofreader, Majda Cˇolak.
Thanks to my friends in the Loop That Shall Not Be Named. Without y’all in my corner, my head would’ve exploded this year. I heart you all.
If you enjoy the way this series plays out, thank Sharon Shinn. She gave me the idea how to tie everything up, and I think it works beautifully.
Mega-thanks to Myke Cole for helping with some critical plot issues. He also recommended
The Sling and the Stone
by Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, USMC, to enhance my understanding of this theme; it was an invaluable resource, and I highly recommend it. Additionally, to write this novel, I learned more about guerrilla warfare from Robert Taber’s
War of the Flea
, and Che Guevara, who led that rebellion in Cuba and wrote
, a combination manifesto and practical handbook. Farah’s character is based loosely on the man, at least in the sense that she, too, started in medicine, became
sickened by the excess of the Nicuan nobles, and became a combatant to fight for her people.
Thanks to my family. I tend to be a workaholic; I devote long hours to my books, but you’re always in my heart. Take this as proof I love y’all. See, it’s in writing, so I mean it.
Readers, it’s hard to believe Jax is finis. Thanks for sticking with us.
marks the end of her journey, but don’t worry; I’ll revisit this universe with a new SF project. In the meantime, your e-mails thrill me—please keep writing. That’s [email protected].
Table of Contents