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Hope for the future in the hands of an enemy from the past . . .
Cassandra Kresnov must find the answers that could free her people—or doom her family.
A quarter of a million people die in the destruction of the moon Cresta. The League civil war is accelerating out of control, but projections indicate that as their technologically induced sociological dysfunction continues, all of humanity may face a similar fate. In the aftermath of Cresta's destruction, Sandy Kresnov discovers the alien Talee operative Cai in Tanusha, there to learn just how far the technologically-induced insanity has gone. The Talee have seen this before, and they are terrified of anything threatening a recurrence.
Meanwhile, Sandy's old nemesis Renaldo Takewashi, the self-proclaimed “father” of synthetic intelligence, comes to the Federation seeking asylum. Talewashi may even have a cure—previously unknown Talee technology implanted into a human child subject—Sandy's little boy, Kiril. But it is exactly this technology that the Talee fear, and they will exterminate anyone caught using it.
Now, Sandy must fight to save her family from a terrible new threat, but doing so may plunge humanity into another destructive war between humans, or worse, against the massively-advanced Talee. And what final secret are the Talee protecting about the origins of synthetic humans like Sandy that could either liberate Sandy’s fellow synthetics from bondage or spell disaster for all humanity?
Part military SF, part cyberpunk, part grand-scale space opera, and part techno-psychological thriller, the Cassandra Kresnov novels transcend the recently narrow segmentation of the science fiction genre.
In 23 Years on Fire, Cassandra discovered that the technology that created her has been misused in her former home and now threatens all humanity with catastrophe. Returning home to Callay, she finds that Federation member worlds, exhausted by the previous thirty-year-war against the League, are unwilling to risk the confrontation that a solution may require. Some of these forces will go to any lengths to avoid a new conflict, including taking a sledgehammer to the Federation Constitution and threatening the removal by force of Cassandra's own branch of the Federal Security Agency.
More frighteningly for Sandy, she has brought back to Callay three young children, whom she met on the mean streets of Droze, discovering maternal feelings she had not known she possessed. Can she reconcile her duty as a soldier, including what she must do as a tactician, with the dangers that those decisions will place upon her family--the one thing that has come to mean more to her than any cause she now believes in?
Cassandra Kresnov--a highly advanced hunter-killer android--returns to face down a rogue government's plot to eliminate free will.
Commander Cassandra Kresnov has her hands full. She must lead an assault against the Federation world of Pyeongwha, where a terrible sociological phenomenon has unleashed hell against the civilian population. Then she faces the threat from a portion of League space known as New Torah, in which a ruthless regime of surviving corporations are building new synthetic soldiers but taking the technology in alarming directions.
On the Torahn world of Pantala, Sandy encounters betrayal, crisis, and conspiracy on a scale previously unimaginable. Most challenging of all, she also meets three young street kids who stir emotions in her she didn't think she was capable of. Can the Federation's most lethal killer afford unexpected sentiment? What will be the cost if she is forced to choose between them and her mission, not only to her cause, but to her soul?
The Army of the Regent Arosh advances on the forces loyal to Saalshen, homeland of the serrin people, as the serrin's friends are in full retreat. Their only hope is to reach the city of Jahnd - the serrin word for Haven - across the River Ipshaal, the only human city in Saalshen itself. The Army of Lenayin marches with the Regent, but Sasha, sister of the newly crowned King Koenyg, can no longer stomach the awful cause for which her people march. As tensions between herself and her brothers rise, Sasha's sister Sofy, wedded to the Regent, travels to the city of Tracato, to attempt to negotiate a peaceful transition of its wonderful heritage of her husband's rule. But there are forces beneath the Regent's banner that wish to see all serrin and serrin-influenced civilisation destroyed for good. As the serrin people fight for survival, families must be betrayed, enemies reconciled, nations persuaded and great armies fought, as A Trial of Blood and Steel reaches its dramatic conclusion.
Sasha must assist her mentor Kessligh to strengthen the Tracato Nasi-Keth, yet with one royal sister siding with the feudalists, and another soon to be married to Tracato's most powerful foe, her loyalties are agonizingly divided.