cover image The High Ground: The Imperials Saga, Book 1

The High Ground: The Imperials Saga, Book 1

Melinda Snodgrass. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-78329-582-1

A future interstellar empire is the setting of Snodgrass’s military space opera, told from the perspective of two misfits in the prestigious military academy known as the High Ground. One is Thracius “Tracy” Belmanor, a tailor’s son and scholarship student treated with contempt by the sons of the nobility around him; the other is Mercedes de Arango, the first woman to attend the High Ground, from which she must graduate to succeed her father, the emperor of the Solar League. As Tracy and Mercedes struggle with classism, sexism, and the weight of familial expectations and dreams, alien and human conspiracies threaten to undermine Mercedes’s future and that of the empire itself. Snodgrass’s worldbuilding has several creative touches: intriguing alien races, English and Spanish as the common languages of the Solar League, and the origin of the upper echelons of the nobility, known pointedly as the Fortune Five Hundred. The story is entertaining and briskly paced, if occasionally predictable; the conclusion is rushed and many plot threads are left for future sequels to resolve. (July)