Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall Into the Night excerpt by P. A. Brown

Fall Into The Night by P. A. Brown is an epic science fiction tale, a journey of discovery. Captain Terik u Selhdun has known darkness all of his life. Captain of the Necromancer, the ruler of Tiamat, his ancestral home, he is coerced into taking a small group of scientists in search of the legendary birthplace of humanity. Earth -- Terra -- was lost to history during the Exodus. From the beginning trouble dogs the expedition, from a failed assassination attempt to the manipulations of a despotic Suzerain and a brutal Navy Admiral who have no intention of letting Selhdun or his mission succeed.

Fall Into the Night
Amber Allure (July 19, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-713-7 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-777-9 (Paperback


Chapter One

"So the old fool finally decided to die."

Terik u Selhdun tipped his wineglass back and let the cool liquid slip down his throat. He set the glass onto the table and studied the soft reflections of the other diners in the curved glasteel windows to his right. A pulse beat in his jaw. The scarred flesh on the side of his head tugged at the embedded metal alloy of his link. Ship lay on the other side of that link; his own power. A power that had nothing to do with his family or his name. "I'd say it was about time, but that's a lie. He was sixty years too late."

"You intend to go through with this, then?" Pakal Tarskaya frowned, his ever-present accent thickened as it always did when he was upset. Narrowed lids half concealed the unusual silver-gray of his eyes. The low light emitted by the walls of their booth gleamed off his mahogany-brown, hairless skull. "Even knowing how dangerous it is to be in power right now?"

"Tiamat's mine by birthright." Selhdun glanced out the enormous window, toward the lights of the planet Nexus thirty-six thousand kilometers below them. It was night on this side, and the lights of the endless city filled nearly every visible hectare of both continents. Even the seas overflowed with lights."I swear that nest of lights grows denser each time we return. Except there..." He stared down at the dark blemish the size of his manicured thumbnail that was the Suzerain's royal estate on the shores of the Khabarovsk Sea. "How is it, you think, that my cher-cousin, the Suzerain, manages to reside amid so much light and yet cannot see? He plies his rule upon these hapless souls and thinks they love him because they haven't figured out how to rid themselves of him once and for all. They haven't a clue what to replace him with."

Pakal glanced around quickly. The restaurant hummed with quiet activity. "You should take care, Terik. Such words, in the wrong ears could be trouble even for you."

"Even the Suzerain has to pretend my ascendancy to Ogema means something. He will observe the legal niceties of his own laws," Selhdun said. "Why do you think I plan to take what is mine? Once I'm Ogema, even the Suzerain won't dare touch us."

"He has other ways to rid himself of troublemakers."

Selhdun looked away from the planet, beyond the delicate lacework of metal. If he squinted, he could just make out the distant outline of his ship, the Necromancer, at dock on the outer fringes of the Spindle.

Ninety-eight hours earlier, he had brought the Necromancer out of Jump into Nexian space. There a message waited for him from his estranged family. His father was dead. He looked back to find Pakal watching him. He raised his wineglass. "The Ogema is dead. Long live the Ogema."

From the nearest tables, the voices of other diners were muffled whispers. Selhdun saw several sneak covert looks his way.

"Do you think they've heard?" He watched Pakal's eyebrow go up and answered his own question. "Of course, they have. Probably before I did. Hell, probably before my father did."

"Many of them support the Suzerain. You would do well to watch yourself while you are here, Terik," Pakal said. He toyed with the heavy base of his lead crystal glass, then met Selhdun's eyes again. "Or do you expect me to call you my Lord now?"

"Would you?"

Pakal snorted, rousing a smile from Selhdun.

"You must know what will happen if you walk back into that viper's nest. Your family..." Pakal shook his head. "How can you want to return, after all this time?"

"If I don't, who benefits? Will my mother be inconsolable if I allow Kerstrik to usurp me? She would like nothing better." Selhdun's mouth twisted in a feral smile. "Do I let her win--after all this time?"

"Win? Who wins? Not us. Not you. If you go through with this farce who will protect you once you are back there?"

"Are you saying you're no match for Kerstrik's scheming? Or my mother's?" A servant offered them a tray of sweets; after looking it over Selhdun flicked his hand in dismissal. "Buy more guards, if it makes you happy."

Pakal put one hand atop Selhdun's, stilling his restless movements on the soft table cover. "You are not fit--" Pakal frowned as though aware he had to be careful with his words. "How long has it been since you were dirtside? Months? The polo-match the Suzerain insisted everyone attend? You hated it. Remember the trouble you had just walking? Do you really want to go through that again? Are your muscles capable of such strain?"

"Just because I refuse to join you in the gym at some ungodly hour for those ridiculous calisthenics of yours, you think me weak."

Selhdun pulled his hand away. "Tomorrow you will begin preparations to leave. Call Kaari and tell her to start prepping the Necromancer.

The Cyxers are going to meet us on Tiamat anyway. We'll just arrive early." He caught the look Pakal gave him. "I am going back, Pakal."

Pakal sighed and looked out beyond the window separating the diners from the hard vacuum beyond. "I am glad now I hired the new apprentice when I did. Kaari has been showing him the ropes; we can consider ourselves fully staffed again."

Selhdun raised one eyebrow. "The boy from Xua? You're really going to offer him the contract? I thought you just brought him along to amuse yourself while I was in court."

"Nikoli is hardly a boy. An eighteen-year-old Xuan has already lived a dozen lifetimes beyond what this pampered crowd knows." He glanced around the elegant room. "He holds all the required Hegemon certificates. Now at least our crew compliment is back where it should be."

"I hope he's worth the bounty they made you put up."

"How did you know about that?" Pakal's narrow face went dangerously still.
Selhdun shrugged. "You forget there are those who enjoy keeping me informed of your behavior. Surely you know they envy you."

"I try to forget."

"So, is he worth it?" Selhdun grinned at the look of quiet exasperation Pakal gave him. "You forget I've seen him. You're lucky I'm not the jealous type."

Outside a trio of plate-sized Stationtechs moved across a nearby strut. The crab-like 'Techs were busy at some task, tending to station repairs as their continually remodified programming dictated. He caught a glimpse of his image in the glasteel window. The soft lights reflected off a skull, hairless like Pakal's, except for the braided queue of black hair hanging down the small of his back. The network of biosteel above his left ear glittered in the light like a fine strand of jewels.

"It's agreed then; we return," Selhdun said. He raised his wineglass. "To Tiamat, and profit where we find it."

Pat Brown
"The few books I’ve read by P. A. Brown have never let me down when it comes to finding well fascinating characters and a developed "storyline. Fall Into The Night is definitely among the top few that I’ve read. I look forward to seeing what this talent author comes up with next."
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