The country of Ile-Rein lies in peril: Young king Roland sits uneasy upon the throne, surrounded by nobles who would use human sorcery to hasten his downfall. The king’s bastard sister, the Fayre Queen of Air and Darkness, is hell bent on revenge against him and all he stands for.
The only power to save the land rests with the Dowager Queen Ravenna…and Thomas Boniface, Captain of the Queen’s Guard – a rakish cavalier who would cross swords with the Devil if it would save his Queen.
But will one man’s steel be enough to counter all the world’s magic?
And now the last hope of a magical realm under siege rests within a child’s plaything.
But there are other evils—far more terrifying than the Gardier foe—alive in this world in chaos. And they’re closer than a whisper.
But the doorway leads to a mysterious ruin hidden behind the awesome Gate of Gods—and to perils that dwarf anything Tremaine and her allies could have possibly imagined…
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ’droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
Planetary survey missions must be accompanied by a Security Unit: a protection robot supplied by the lowest bidder. The current survey team don’t know that their SecUnit calls itself ‘Murderbot’, and has overridden its governor module. But when mysterious things start happening, they are going to be very glad it has.
This is a zippy little novella, just 150pp of snark as we listen to Murderbot narrate its story, and discover more about its background. There’s not time for a lot of character development other than the first person narrator, but we get an interesting world, an engaging protagonist, and the set-up for a lot more action and robot-soul-searching.
This makes a good contrast with that other recent ‘robot learning to live in a human world’ tale, A Closed and Common Orbit. They are quite different in feel, but both are thought-provoking.
It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself Murderbot. But it has only vague memories of the massaacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.
Teaming up with a research transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the A stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.
What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
Murderbot has decided to investigate the planet where it originally went rogue and earned its name. This means avoiding being discovered by humans who would be hostile to its very existence. So it hitches a ride with an unmanned research ship; this is not necessarily a safe option, as the ship’s AI is somewhat curious, and can’t be completely distracted by Murderbot’s collection of space opera shows. And then when Murderbot reaches the planet, it decides a good cover is to sign on as a security consultant for a group of naive scientists who may have just made a big discovery. What could possible go wrong…?
This is another great little novella narrated by the snarky Murderbot, as it discovers things about its past, and itself, that will have a big impact on its future.