Elora Pertin spent her life trying to please her father, an esteemed General for the Empire.
When he convinced her to leave her quiet life as a scientist to advance a secret project for the Emperor, she had no idea what she was getting into. The seemingly innocent projects she engineered were actually being used to develop a genocidal weapon. After uncovering the Emperor’s plot, Elora had no choice but to act.
Elora finds herself fighting for her life against the Empire she once served, abandoning everything with only a handful of friends and an unlikely ally—the Emperor’s deadliest assassin. Will he prove himself true as her protector, a loyal servant of the Empire, or a romantic distraction? With the law and assassins searching the star system for them, Elora and her team are determined to accomplish their mission . . . or die trying.
If you enjoy a good adventure SF 'space opera' style story, with good, strong characters and a page turning plot 'Renegades' is for you. I found S A Mason's debut novel a quick, easy read and the characters were well drawn, varied and likeable. Oh apart from the Emperor Unyasa, of course. It's difficult to find anything very likeable about him, but then, he is the villain in this story, even if he does believe he is acting to protect the planet.
Mordecai, on the other hand is something else! At first he seems nothing more than a cold blooded assassin, although the first description of him: "He was tall with shaggy dark hair, slightly curly on the ends. He had a strong jaw, and as she moved up his face, she saw he was looking at her in the mirror. His eyes were dark—almost as black as his clothes." had me intrigued from the start. There is more to Mordecai than is initially apparant and he has reason to be the way he is.
Elora is devoted to her father, and agrees to leave the well paid job she enjoys, on the planet she has grown to love, to participate in a secret project for the Emperor, but she soon realises that if she proceeds with the work it will mean the annihilation of a whole planet. She might be anxious to please her father, but she is far too strong willed to meekly obey without regard to the consequences.
The supporting characters are likeable too. Nigel her bumbling and slightly gauche colleague is a brilliant computer geek and finds it hard to hide his love for Elora and hopes his affection will eventually be returned. Bylis and Zovani, who own a starship and unintentionally become involved in the plot to thwart the emperor's plans, are brothers who are very different, but also interesting in their own right.
There were a few editing errors here and there, 'crumbled clothes' :) and the odd shift into present tense, but not enough to mar my enjoyment of the story. The story is fast-paced, moving swiftly toward a nail biting climax, and there are a few surprises before the last page is reached; I now anxiously await the author's second book Redemption.
Back in her room, Elora tried to come up with another plan. If her father couldn’t—or wouldn’t—help, she had to find someone else. Just finishing and going home was not an option. She tried to focus on the weapon, but was preoccupied with thoughts of her father. What was he involved with? How could he involve her in the development of an illegal weapon? He had been her rock and best friend since her mom died when she was so young. If she couldn’t trust her dad, whom could she trust?
She had just closed her eyes to practice the meditative techniques she learned on Naruta when she was suddenly pulled out of bed to her feet. She felt the strong arms of a man on either side of her head. Instinctively, she tried to jerk his arms away because she was sure he was about to break her neck. Her head was pulled so far to one side she could feel the muscles in her neck tearing apart. Then he stopped.
Elora could barely see the mirror in her peripheral. The man’s black monochromatic attire made him hard to see in the dark room, but she could make him out against her body. He was tall with shaggy dark hair, slightly curly on the ends. He had a strong jaw, and as she moved up his face, she saw he was looking at her in the mirror. His eyes were dark—almost as black as his clothes. Just as suddenly as he pulled her out of bed, he released her.