Empire of Dust

Jacey Bedford. DAW, $7.99 mass market (544p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1016-2
Bedford mixes romance and intrigue in this promising debut, which opens the Psi-Tech space opera series. Like other psi-techs, long-range telepath Cara Carlinni has a brain implant that enhances her powers. It also leaves her indentured to Alphacorp, the company that paid for the implant. On the run with data that links her ruthless former boss and lover, Ari van Blaiden, to a deadly pirate attack on a colony world, Cara convinces navigator Reska “Ben” Benjamin to add her to his team of psi-tech troubleshooters. They’ve been contracted to help the fundamentalist back-to-basics Ecolibrians establish a colony on the planet Olyanda, but it won’t be easy. Hardcore Ecolibrians hate psi-techs and punish “fraternization” brutally. Worse yet, Ben discovers mineral deposits on Olyanda that make the planet a target for pirates—just like a previous colony-building job whose failure still haunts him. Bedford builds a taut story around the dangers of a new world, the Ecolibrians’ distrust, and treachery from Ari and Ben’s home office. Readers who crave high adventure and tense plots will enjoy this voyage into the future. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/2014
Release date: 11/04/2014
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