cover image The First Sister

The First Sister

Linden A. Lewis. Skybound, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-982126-99-5

Lewis introduces readers to a universe at war in this competent far-future debut. The technocratic, decadent Icarii and the stoic, nature-worshipping Geans have long been in conflict. When a nameless priestess is abandoned by the man she thought would save her from life as a sex slave aboard a Gean warship, she fights to retain her position as First Sister, the captain’s favorite, so that she does not have to submit to the rest of the crew. But the new captain is difficult to get a read on. Meanwhile, the Icarii military assigns duelist Lito sol Lucius to track down his former partner who has gone missing and is presumed to have defected mid-mission. Both the priestess and Lucius are plunged into a world of political intrigue and they are forced to question their allegiances as their separate goals pull them toward an explosive final encounter. Despite a bit of clunky exposition early on, Lewis skillfully handles the tale’s many moving pieces, maintaining pace, nuance, and clarity throughout. Lewis’s lush prose creates an immersive, richly textured world with complex social dynamics and solid LGBTQ and multicultural representation. Though the political through line will put readers in mind of many other SF offerings, including James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, the familiar beats are well executed. This fast, fun military thriller will satisfy genre fans. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Aug.)