I only met Stephen Graham King online, when he asked to write for the Spoonie Authors Network. It took about five minutes for me to like him, and I’m probably exaggerating by four minutes. I’d heard author ’Nathan Bourgoine rave about Stephen’s space operas, so I decided to read Soul’s Blood, the first of his Maverick Heart Cycle series.
I think it also took me less than five minutes to decide I liked this book.
There’s this triad of awesomeness consisting of Keene, Lexa-Blue (how amazing is that name?), and ’Vrick, the sentient ship. Similar to Firefly, they take on trade missions that sometimes go a little awry. Keene is the cautious techno-genius, Lexa-Blue is the fearless fighter, and ’Vrick manages to keep them all from getting killed. I love Stephen’s use of humour in the novel, especially with ’Vrick calling Lexa-Blue “Meat.” I guess to a machine, we are just meat-based computers. An eye opener, really.
When Keene and Lexa-Blue are detained against their will by a Technarch who needs Keene to aid in preventing a civil war on the Technarch’s planet, we get an insight into Keene’s past. He and the Technarch were once old flames who had to part ways because of their cultural differences. (Keene could not stand the thought of becoming a “Prince’s Consort.”) However, when the triad of awesomeness eventually succumb to take on this mission, romantic tensions between the two men become more and more difficult to resist.
There are so many things I loved about this book. It’s masterfully crafted, and my favourite thing was the juxtaposition between the high-tech continent of the Technarch and the low-tech, mystical continent of the Sotari. Stephen’s writing manages to navigate both places skillfully, which is a feat, in my opinion. To go from making us believe in the realness of the technological advances of one place and then so fully taking us into the psychic, ethereal, and abstract communications of another culture is no easy task.
I most highly recommend this story. The characters are engaging, the story made me anticipate my nightly “reading time,” and when the book ended, I was glad to hear there is another in the series, and a third along the way. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the triad of awesomeness just yet.
It takes a stellar writer to entice me to read more books in the same series. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
This author is my new favourite Stephen King.
Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedic space opera where boy meets girl, but girl doesn’t notice boy because she’s sharing a body with another boy. She is also the creator and editor of the Spoonie Authors Network. You can follow Cait on Facebook and Twitter.