Today, I am welcoming Mary Brock Jones. She is here to introduce us to her new release, Exiled, the third book in the Arcadia series. This Eco-Scifi series is currently relevant and also contains that perfect combination of Scifi and Romance. I’m currently reading Exiled, so I hope you will look for my review in the future.
ARCADIA Book 3
Release Date 23 Jun 2022
Guest Post by Mary Brock Jones
Exiled is the third book in a science fiction series about a planet facing an environmental crunch point. Arcadia is an earth analogue world not too different from Earth itself. One rich in resources and so ripe for development that the settlers fell into the trap of thinking their world’s tolerance is infinite. Now, their changes have stretched the planet’s ability to cope to its limit and the Interplanetary government has given them an ultimatum:
Change your ways, or we’ll ship you all off and replace you with settlers who respect this world.
I started this series focussed on the physical challenges of meeting that ultimatum, but became more and more interested in the human dynamics behind that. In particular, the series looks at how two families face being forced to change what they do in order to save their world.
The hero of EXILED is Seolta den Coille, second son of a family living in the forests cloaking the western sides of a major mountain range. He was also one of the villains of the second book, and as a result was sent into exile off planet. This book tells what happens to him after that.
Why choose a villain, a character that may have appeared to have few redeeming qualities in the previous book (TAKEN)? It’s simple. He interested me the most, and as author, I get to play with the character that looks the most fun at the time. I once read that villains see themselves as the hero of their own story, (Marvel’s Loki is a prime example of this) and that was definitely the case with Seolta. In EXILED, he is forced to realise there is a fatal flaw in that, and what it takes to be a real hero. Despite being known as the cleverest of the den Coilles, he is not, unfortunately, the fastest of learners.
The planet receded below him, a patchwork of blue and green fading into the dark. The trip on the shuttle to the space hub had been bad enough, but now he was on board an interplanetary ship and watching his world slowly and inexorably disappear from sight, taking with it everything he’d known for certain since birth. Even his name. He was plain Seolta den Coille on the passenger list, no longer Seolta mar Bram an Scathach den Coille. Seolta of the house of Coille. A man with a family, a home, a land like nowhere else.
A family and a home that he had thrown away in a singular act of stupidity. Out his porthole window, the sharply defined outlines of mountains, plains and sea dwindled to splotches of colour, then to a sphere glowing in the dark, then nothing as his ship twisted away from the planet and headed into the void of space.
All he had left was his new mission. Marshal an Fallon’s order had been clear and unequivocal.
“Find out who’s behind the plots against us.”
Find out and report back, that meant. Don’t do anything else. Don’t make things worse than you already have.
We don’t trust you, it meant.
Only the debt he owed to an Fallon had kept him quiet. The man had led those who broke him out of prison and saved his life. A debt he could never repay. He hadn’t even tried to, embarking instead on a stupid quest for revenge that had cost him everything he valued from those who mattered most to him.
You betrayed us once. We will not let it happen again.
His family had farewelled him with pity and closed mouths. His older sister had tried to say he could return one day, but he knew the truth. A sentence of exile was forever.
He shut his eyes to banish the blackness and heard with relief the signal for translation. He’d flown in space once before and remembered the stark warnings to all passengers. He wasn’t ready to die yet, whatever he might face, and dutifully settled into his floating pod. Escape came as the hiss of the drug infusions at last gave him oblivion.
When he woke, days later, he had a headache, a dry mouth, and the knowledge that he was worlds away from home. Below floated the station hub where he must change ships.
His route had been carefully mapped out by the Galactic Ministry offices on Arcadia, along with exhaustive instructions on whom to talk to and whom to absolutely avoid.
Top of the second list: Deputy Malgrave of the Alliance and Hilmar a Kevand3 of the planet Surned—the two offworlders who had led him into this hell in the first place. He’d thought himself so clever, but all the time they’d been the ones laughing. He’d been such a fool.
A com chime warned him to prepare for landing and he turned in relief to readying for disembarking. Too soon he was part of a crowd of passengers following station guidelines and waiting for clearance into the hub. A sharp odour of disinfectants and machinery stung his nose, and the underlying mechanical hum of the station systems throbbed through his feet. Missing was the constant motion of the living branches of home as rigid metal engulfed him. This was no planet. He remembered the strangeness from his one other off-world trip, the uncertain bounce to his stride from the lighter gravity of a standard space habitat, but that time it had been part of the collected memorabilia of a tourist soon to return to the normality of home.
Now, it must become his normal.
About Exiled by Mary Brock Jones
Sentenced to exile by his home world, he’s hungry for revenge. Only he isn’t innocent and Alliance space is no safe haven.
After Seolta den Coille is falsely imprisoned by the corrupt Ecological Survey bosses then saved by his sister and her husband, he wants one thing only. Revenge. When offworlders offer him a way to get back at those who threatened him, he grabs hold with both fists. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t end well and he’s banished into exile. All that does is give his hunger for vengeance a few more targets. Top of the list, the two off-worlders who lured him into betraying his home world.
Anyara a Prithand2 wants only two things in life: to be left in peace to manage the biota systems of her space station, and to avoid giving her uncle an excuse to kill her. When a newcomer to her home world offers to help her escape, she accepts. Now she just has to survive the adventure—and the unexpected desire flaring to life between them.
Chased across Alliance space by their enemies, Seolta and Anyara’s only chance lies with the Alliance Council, the overall governing body of settled space. An organisation as riven with political strife as the enemies they are fleeing.
Can the cleverest of the den Coille’s and the habitat worlds’ best biome scientist stay alive long enough to expose those threatening their worlds?
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