Phobos Books, 382 pp.
If you like your stories on the dark side, filled with anti-heroes and despicable villains, you’re going to love this one. In the far-future, a mining operation on Io has birthed an unstable technocracy. When the King goes missing after a failed assassination attempt that mistakenly kills his son instead the search begins… Find the King before he is pronounced dead or else either his bastard heirs or business rivals will seize the throne. To complicate matters, the King’s lookalike bodyguards (Ringers) have fled to save their own lives and to keep from being used as pawns. The Queen hires one of the King’s pre-Ringer bodyguards and his wife to find the King while the Bastards hire their own thug to search for the missing King and as many of the missing Ringers as he can find. The heroes are a former drug runner and ex-prostitute, the villains are even dirtier. Nobody in this story has a clean past and the plot takes some truly grisly turns. It is one hell of a rollercoaster ride… No, I take that back. Rollercoasters have ups and downs; this is pure acceleration, an adrenaline-injected, pulse-pounding, no holds-barred, all-out adventure. Is there redemption for our heroes? Will the King be found? Can a civil war be averted? Some of the answers will surprise you.