A now imprisoned senior member of a space-fleet breaks out of her prison, but during her escape bumps into a man with an uncanny resemblance to her ex-husband. This man has strange abilities, to the point of being super-powered. But can he be trusted? And is he even human?

When I’m in the right mood, I’m a sucker for space opera, and what I really enjoyed about this one was how damn hard it worked to be likeable. Yes, there’s the distant planet, a new religion and a world in turmoil, but there’s also compulsive characters and pretty good jokes.

It’s all written in a breezy style which makes it hard not to go with it; there are enough 20th century cultural references to makes one chuckle, but not be irritated by, and there’s a sex robot (called, ahem, 6T9). Now no one ever put a sex robot into a book without making it the focus of cheap gags. And there are cheap gags aplenty, but what’s amazing about them is not how many different ways Gockel manages to raise a chuckle, but that simultaneously she makes him a real character. This is a sex bot you have cheap gags with and also care about.

Undoubtedly those in the hard sci-fi camp should give this a miss, as I’m not sure how well its science would hold up. But if you’re climbing on board for the distant worlds and the adventure story, then I think – like me – you’ll have a good time.

My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!

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