cover image The Diabolic

The Diabolic

S.J. Kincaid. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7267-8

In a far future with space travel and a ruling class living mostly on orbital stations, engineered human servants called Diabolics are trained to be the best protection money can buy. Diabolics also have their brains manipulated, so they only care about the person they have been hired to protect. When the emperor outlaws Diabolics, Nemesis doesn't count on her liege, Sidonia von Impyrean, persuading her parents to hide Nemesis, rather than destroying her as ordered. More surprises come when the emperor orders Sidonia to attend him at court, intending to keep her hostage against her father's political maneuvering. Nemesis travels to the imperial court, the Chrysanthemum, in Sidonia's place, where she has to contend with sleazy politicians, attempted assaults, murder, and a mad prince. Fans of over-the-top futuristic fare like Jupiter Ascending will love the set pieces and glamour of the court, but Kincaid's (Insignia) flashy story falls short in other areas, including fairly flat villains and a romantic plot that plays out predictably. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary. (Nov.)