Author Chat with Emily Skrutskie (Bonds Of Brass), Plus Excerpt!

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 Today we're excited to chat with Emily Skrutskie author of

Bonds Of Brass.

Read on for more about Emily and her book, plus an excerpt.

 

 

 

Meet Emily Skrutskie!

       

Emily Skrutskie is six feet tall. She was born in Massachusetts, raised in Virginia, and forged in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. She holds a B.A. in Performing and Media Arts from Cornell University, where she studied an outrageous and demanding combination of film, computer science, and game design. 

She is the author of THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US and its sequel, THE EDGE OF THE ABYSS, as well as the standalone HULLMETAL GIRLS. Her latest novel, BONDS OF BRASS, the first in a sweeping space opera trilogy, is now available. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.

She is represented by Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

 

Website * FacebookTwitter * Instagram

 

 

 

Meet Bonds Of Brass!

A young pilot risks everything to save his best friend--the man he trusts most and might even love--only to learn that he's secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire.

Ettian Nassun's life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He's spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he's met Gal Veres--his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who's made the Academy feel like a new home.

But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who's won his heart and trust that Gal's goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what's rightfully theirs?

 

 

Amazon * B & N Indiebound

 

 

 

 

~ Author Chat ~

 

 

             

     

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

 My inspirations for Bonds of Brass were twofold. I started working on this book in the beginning of 2016, when The Force Awakens was still in theaters and Pierce Brown’s Morning Star had just come out. I wanted to write a grand space opera like that—something that was large and ambitious and had tricks up its sleeves. The second part of my inspiration was movies like The Road to El Dorado and The Brothers Bloom—stories about con men running scams. If you mash the two of those sources together, you get the primordial soup that birthed Bonds of Brass.

 

YABC:  Who is your favorite character in the book?

 Wen Iffan, the scrappy little mechanic the boys pick up when they flee to the Corinthian Empire. She’s down on her luck at the moment, but has about six tricks up her sleeves to pull herself out of the mess, including a rainbow umbrella with a bladed tip. 

 

YABC:  Which came first, the title or the novel?

 The novel by a mile. This book went through two different titles before settling on Bonds of Brass, and by the time I had to title it a third time, I resorted to writing an algorithm to generate titles for me—which is actually how we got Bonds of Brass. Study computer science, kids! It’ll take you places!

 

YABC:  Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

Realism, in a word. Six years in publishing has taught me what to expect from publishing. At the beginning, you’re so happy to finally have a book that you can hold in your hands, but you have no idea what’s realistic to expect. New York Times bestseller? Orange banner on Amazon? Promotion from your publisher? As you get deeper into publishing, work with more publishers, and sign more deals, you start to understand what scope is within your grasp for each book—and, darkly, what you’d have to change about yourself, what you like, and what you want to write in order to go further.

Fortunately, with that, you also learn what your convictions are. You know what you love enough to fight for, and I’ve been patient and stubborn enough to keep publishing exactly what I love.

 

YABC:  What do you like most about the cover of the book?

 I love the COLORS! From the bright blue in the title to the soft swirling pinks and purples in the background, they really make the cover stand out. It’s bright, bold, and shows off exactly what the book is about—the bond between these two boys. I wish bookstores were open, so I could see how easy it is to spot on a shelf, even from the other end of a store.

 

YABC:  What’s on your TBR pile?

 I’m so, so excited to finally dig into The City We Became, by NK Jemisin, Riot Baby, by Tochi Onyebuchi, and Girl, Serpent, Thorn, by Melissa Bashardoust.

 

YABC:  What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?

 Rebelwing, by Andrea Tang, has fulfilled all my YA sci-fi dreams. It has book-smuggling schoolgirls, a cybernetic dragon mecha, a fake dating beach episode, and the COOLEST mom.

 

YABC:  What’s up next for you?

 Finishing the Bloodright Trilogy! Bonds of Brass is the first of a three parter—the first I’ve ever written—and I’m really excited to share where this story goes. I’m in the middle of drafting the third book right now, and trust me: you’re gonna wanna buckle up for this one.

 

YABC:  Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?

 Whichever I’m not currently doing at the moment. When I’m drafting, I pine for having a complete book that I just have to improve. When I’m revising, I long for the freedom to do whatever I want.

  

 

 

~ Excerpt ~

 

 

CHAPTER 2

the huMan Mind isn’t built to process hurtling through a vacuum at skin-peeling speeds in a cockpit just big enough for a single pilot and all of his fear. The Viper around me is sleek and athletic, and the engines at my back roar as I urge a little extra speed out of them. The vast dark of space envelops me, the stars washed out by the daytime glow of Rana five hundred miles beneath us. I should be pissing myself.

And yet.

My mind goes a little inhuman in the cockpit of a Viper. My awareness pushes its limits, my body forgotten in favor of the ship around me. My eyes unfocus. My heartbeat steadies. Any residual anxieties vaporize in the void, yielding to the immediacy of flying, and instinct takes over the way my hands twist and pull the craft’s controls. The readouts spit information about the vector my ship is sailing on, but I don’t need it.

All I need is the feeling. That’s what keeps me in formation as we sweep through the black. The distance between each ship is mea- sured, but instinct is what holds us there.

“This is Gold One. Execute first maneuver,” I announce to the comm.

 

I fire the attitude thrusters, pulling my nose up. My Viper’s en- gine drives a frantic tattoo into my spine. The burn is silent outside the craft, deadened by the vacuum, but inside my radio goes live. Thirty Vipers fill with the howls and whistles of cadets being jammed down into their gel-seats by the vicious inertia.

The glowing curve of Rana eases into view and then slides back out as we complete our arc and level off. At the edge of my vision, I catch the shine of Viper noses as the rest of the formation follows my lead. “Gold Twenty-Eight, get that vector straightened out,” I grumble as one of them lists off-track.

“Sorry, Ettian.”

My teeth set on edge, but I can’t help the smile that tugs the cor- ners of my lips. I’ve given up on trying to get Gal to use call signs during exercises, and so has most of the senior staff—though they certainly won’t cut me any slack for letting him get away with it. His Viper jerks in my periphery, settling shakily back into formation.

“No apologies, Gold Twenty-Eight. Get it right.” It’s hard to say with a straight face, and I can picture the way Gal’s smirking in his own cockpit. “Rest of you, this is Gold One. Execute second maneu- ver.”

I close my eyes and spin up my gyros with a twist of the controls. I could flip my Viper with a preset, but where’s the fun in that? Pure instinct sends my craft end over end—540 degrees, for show—and pure instinct fires the engines at the right moment, the attitude thrusters locking the Viper straight along the inverse of its former vector as the main burn kicks, driving me into my seat with the force of a missile strike.

That pure instinct is why I’m Gold One.

“Ruttin’ showoff,” Gal mutters over the comm, and bursts of laughter snap through from the other pilots.

“Jealous bastard,” I shoot back, and Gal chuckles. “Keep it professional, Ettian,” he warns.

“Cut the chatter, Gold Twenty-Eight,” I reply, but he knows I’d rather he didn’t. Even though this is technically my drill and I should be keeping things serious, these flight exercises are a formality. Ra-

 

na’s Imperial Academy is a playground, a regimen of basic training that puts us in the shoes of pilots before we graduate for the leader- ship tracks. In true combat, none of us would be flying Vipers. We’re destined for the command centers of a dreadnought, overseeing troops that will deploy from the cityships.

I wish it were otherwise. I prefer the Viper. In this cockpit, every- thing’s under my control. It’s simple and pure. I’m responsible for myself and myself alone.

Not today though. As leader of this exercise, I’m expected to keep all thirty cadets on my wing under control. Even with the Viper demanding my attention, a part of me pulses with constant aware- ness that the senior staff will be watching every move I make. They can excuse some friendly chatter, but if anything serious goes side- ways, it’s my hide on the line. I know for certain some of the officers aren’t thrilled about an Archon whelp holding steady at the top of our class, and they’re just waiting for an excuse to rip my command away.

“This is Gold One. Execute—”

“Wraith Squadron, detach,” a familiar voice announces, cold and clear. A single fighter peels off the back of our formation.

Wraith? My gaze drops to the Viper’s instruments. “Seely—Gold Eight, what the hell are you doing?” I snap. “This is Gold One, and I do not authorize whatever—”

A shriek of static cuts through the radio, and in my periphery, nineteen more Viper hulls fall away. Something goes fuzzy in my brain as I watch my control dissolve. My formation flies on, cut by two-thirds, holes torn in its former perfection. This can’t be happen- ing. Why is this happening? Sure, Seely hates me, but how in any system’s hell did he convince nineteen of our classmates to ruin my drill? There’s no way the bitter little rutter has that much clout.

My heart rate doubles, my mind reeling as I try to inventory which fighters have fallen back. At my left, I spot the glint of sun- light off a Viper’s nose—Gal’s Viper. He’s still with me.

“This is Wraith One. Form up on me,” Seely announces.

“Seely, what the hell is going on?” I shout, wrestling with my

 

controls. Another spin of the gyros flips my Viper around, pointing me at the stray flock as I continue to sail backward in what’s left of my formation.

They’re shifting into an arrowhead. An attack pattern. My mouth goes dry. This isn’t disobedience. This isn’t just to stick it to me. This is something more. Something worse.

“Gods,” Gal whispers over the comm. “Not now. Not . . . Ett—” Seely’s voice overpowers the line, full of authority I never sus- pected him of possessing. “Wraith One, authorizing weapons free.” Every lesson I’ve ever had about leadership under pressure crys- talizes in my mind. “Gold One, evasive action immediately,” I scream at what’s left of my fighters. The Vipers split like they’ve

been cleaved by a knife.

All except for Gal, who bolts across the black with no regard for pattern, for order, for any sort of direction that might save his ass.

Something in his brain has gone animal. Not the pack-animal mentality you sometimes slip into when you’re flying in formation. No, Gal’s just doing everything in his power to run.

“Heavens and hells,” I swear, twist out of formation, and take off after him. The comms go live with confusion, the other pilots uncer- tain whether they’re supposed to follow me.

Above the chatter, Seely’s voice comes through loud and clear: “This is Wraith One. Shoot to kill.”

I throw everything I have into the engines as the vacuum around me comes alive with the flash of boltfire. Gal swerves erratically, and my heart leaps into my throat as one of the bolts skims his Viper’s wing. I hazard another glance at my instrumentation. Watch as the twenty defectors point their arrowhead directly at Gal’s retreating tail. Not at the remaining nine Vipers holding formation as they flee across the black.

Just Gal.

“What the rut do you think you’re doing?” I seethe through my teeth. I watch Gal on the instruments, my face heating with fury as another burst to the engines drives me deeper into my seat. This isn’t the Gal I know—the Gal I’ve known for years, the one who pranks

 

the senior staff, who struggles to keep even the most stalwart ships flying steady, who doesn’t fear anything the way he should. Some- thing’s terribly wrong.

My calm evaporates into the vacuum.

I flip a switch on my radio controls, activating every distress bea- con on my dashboard. “Base, this is Gold One. Twenty of my squad have . . . They’re not following orders, and they’ve turned on one of my pilots. They’re shooting to kill. Requesting—”

I hesitate. I shouldn’t hesitate—the whole point of the academy is training me to act when the situation is dire. I twitch my controls to dodge another round of boltfire that streaks across my Viper’s nose.

“Requesting ground support and awaiting further instructions,” I conclude. The Viper rattles around me as my engines max out their burn. I flip the radio back over to the exercise channel, where Seely’s still spinning orders to his mutiny. A note of indignation lances through my panic. It’s bad enough Seely’s trying to kill Gal, but with the single line available between our ships, everyone has to listen to him do it.

“Gold One, the rest of you go to ground,” I shout over Seely’s noise.

“Wraith One, split it. Let’s cut him.”

The drumming starts as a single beat, a single hand slapping a dashboard, the noise big enough to fill a single cockpit. One hand, then ten, then twenty as the defectors’ formation cracks in half. Variations slip into the rhythm, and my vision goes fuzzy as I watch the nine cadets still under my command bolt for Rana’s gravity.

I know this beat too. It’s been seven years since I heard it last, but the rhythm of an Archon war cadence is etched into my heart. It’s the rallying cry of our fallen empire, and for a terrifying moment, I forget every word I told Seely this morning.

The defectors cast their net wide, herding Gal, playing off the way fear is driving him. But fear’s not driving me—not in the same way. As Gal swerves again, burning off his speed, I nose up along his wing.

 

“Gal,” I say, and his vector steadies. Even over the rumble of the drumming, he hears me.

“Ettian, I’m so sorry—”

“No apologies.” I try not to flinch as another scattering of bolts slices past us. Gal’s Viper jerks, and I’m forced to swerve, tipping my gyros enough to dodge him. Even in all this confusion, my reflexes are as sharp as they were in the years after the empire fell. That time taught me a lot of things, but above all else, it taught me to impro- vise.

“Hold steady. I’m going to try something,” I grunt. “Easier said.”

“I know.” I twist my gyros, flipping my craft belly-up, and punch the attitude thrusters. My Viper slots neatly underneath his.

Gal’s voice is on the edge of panicked laughter. “Don’t you dare hump my ship.”

“Thank me later.” I yank my landing gear’s release and jam the button that spins up my electromagnets. These things are meant to hold a Viper to the skin of a dreadnought, but they work just as well on the metal of another light craft. My ship snaps against his with a dull thud, and Gal yelps.

“You’re going to get us both killed,” he mutters, but he’s already cutting his engine and stilling his gyros.

If he can’t fly his way out of this, I’m going to do it for him. With a heavy burst from my thrusters, I pull us into an arc, tak-

ing stock of the defector formation closing in on us. Two lines of ships spread out in a V, meaning to herd and crosscut us with their fire. Already they’re adjusting course to follow where we lead. The drumming fades—the pilots need both hands now.

My vision goes dark at the edges as I tighten our vector. Vipers were designed to move around the pilot, keeping inertial forces on the body as minor as possible. Flying in curved lines is bad for biol- ogy, doubly so when the ship’s center of mass is no longer focused on your head.

“Gal, you with me?” I choke, leveling us off. “You gotta talk, elsewise I’m going to think you blacked out.”

 

“Or one of these bastards got me.”

“That too.” I glance up through my windshield, trying to pin- point the academy on Rana’s vast surface. I don’t know if they’re responding to my distress call. It’ll take time for missiles to claw their way out of the planet’s gravity. I don’t know if I can keep us clear of the boltfire for that long. “Gal,” I warn as another violent twist of the gyros steals my sight.

“Remember that time we got leave and went to Ikar?” I grin. “Not particularly.”

“You got so hammered, you started singing the Umber Anthem at the top of your lungs in an open market. In a former Archon ter- ritory,” Gal chokes out as we level off onto a new vector.

“I remember the bruises. I won the fight, right?”

“If you call being left facedown in a garbage can ‘winning,’ I’ll eject now.”

My flying’s working. With twenty of them and one of us, it’s child’s play to tease their formation into chaos—especially with our chatter covering up the orders Seely’s screaming into the comm. “At least I actually fight my battles,” I snap. It’s harsh, given our current situation, but Gal knows what’s in my head better than anyone, and he gives me exactly what I expect.

“And I talk my way out of them like a rational human being.” “Couldn’t talk your way out of this?”

“That’s what I have you for.”

I appreciate the confidence, but I don’t know how long I can keep this up. Feinting around boltfire and messing with their formations is only going to keep us alive for so long. Getting to safety is another matter entirely. Vipers can’t trip past superluminal speeds, and our fastest isn’t going to be enough to outrun them with this many on our tail. I don’t see any way out.

And then I realize our escape has been looming over us the entire time. My eyes shift up to Rana—to my big, glorious, green home- world. Nine specks of flame mark where the remainder of the squad is hitting the atmosphere, and those nine little flares set off one big one in my head.

 

Seely sees what I’m about to do the second before I do it. “Wraith One, close the net,” he shrieks, and the formation shifts around us as I twist our Vipers through the mess. No time for feinting, no time for dodging the bolts—my vector is direct, and speed is my only concern. We plunge for the planet, my engine whining as I urge it past its limits. The metal of the Viper’s hull creaks around me.

“Ettian, you maniac,” Gal mutters.

“Keep talking,” I tell him. Not because I need to make sure he’s conscious—our acceleration isn’t heavy enough for that to be a concern—but because I need his voice to keep me steady.

“What about?”

“You can start by explaining why there are twenty Vipers on our ass.” At the edge of my wing, I catch the first wisps of the planet’s outer atmosphere starting to drag at us. I kill the engines. No need for acceleration when Rana’s mass is beginning to yank us in.

“I—I can’t explain.”

A vicious edge slips into my voice as the last of my patience dis- solves. “No, that’s a lie. Why the rut is this happening?”

On the instrumentation, I see the defectors locking onto our tail, some of them already oriented for reentry.

“Ettian—”

“Tell me, Gal, or so help me I’ll keep you latched and burn us both.”

As is, we’re cutting it close. The Viper’s heat shields are on the underbelly. If we hit the hard part of the atmosphere with our ships strapped together, we both go down in flames.

There’s a sharp inhale on Gal’s end of the line. A decision being made in the span of a breath. “I never wanted you to find out—not like this,” Gal says.

We’ve got seconds. “Spit it out!” I yell. “I’m the Umber heir.”

I jam the button, releasing the electromagnets, and fire my atti- tude thrusters to break away from Gal’s underbelly. He can’t have said what I think he said. I have to put my ship right. I won’t let my brain get stuck on what Gal’s confessed and what it means. Another

 

twist of my controls reorients my Viper, my heat shield braced to hit the atmosphere the second it hits back.

I didn’t hear it right—that must be it. I glance out the windshield to my left, where Gal’s wrestling his own ship into reentry position. Through the plastics separating us, I spot the tense line of his jaw. His eyes are shaded by his helmet and goggles, but somehow I know they’re closed. I know Gal. I know him inside and out.

Or I thought I did.

Heat flares around me, my flight suit’s coolant struggling to combat it as we plunge into the atmosphere. I extend every drag fin on my ship, gritting my teeth as the deceleration yanks at the flesh on my face, pressing me so deep into my seat’s gel that I feel the bracing board beneath it.

Gal is the Umber heir. The thought consumes me more than any worry I might have about the reentry, about the twenty Vipers plung- ing after us, about what might await us back at the academy base.

The Umber Empire has stood for thousands of years. It was seeded from the first settlements made on stable worlds as wander- ing generation ships roved down the galactic arm, founded on plan- ets that took to crops with so little effort that the people who made a home there managed to twist it into some sort of divine right. Mankind delved deeper into the galaxy, discovering the metal-rich Archon worlds and the fringe planets of Corinth, but none took root and expanded so boldly and decisively as Umber. Nowadays, the empire spans at least a hundred systems. Their imperial blood- line has conquest in its veins, and Empress Iva and Emperor Yltrast are its pinnacle. Seven years ago, they shredded the Archon Empire and took it for their own. They’re the most fearsome force the gal- axy has ever seen.

And Gal—

No, it’s impossible. There has to be some kind of mistake. It’s another of Gal’s jokes, like the time he pretended to be the youngest general ever promoted to impress a girl in a bar. A laugh builds in the back of my throat. He had me going there for a moment. Think- ing he was the son of—

 

The cold shock of truth catches up to me. None of Gal’s jokes have put twenty Vipers on our rear. None of Gal’s jokes have left him turning tail and running like the gates of every hell have opened.

And he’s never left me out of one.

“Rut me sideways, you’re not kidding,” I groan.

Suddenly my suspicions about Seely’s teeth seem downright petty. I’d always figured there would be shadow heirs installed at the academy. The Archon territories are notorious hotbeds of opportu- nity for up-and-coming bloodlines. Governors on every tier of power—continental, planetary, and even system—would jump at the chance to place their kids in the heart of the former empire to train them for command. But this is another thing entirely. Gal’s a rutting prince. The Umber heir is destined by blood to own these systems someday. And twenty of our classmates, including Seely, still hear the Archon drums in their hearts. No wonder they’re raining boltfire on his rear.

“Someone must have found out,” Gal chokes over the rumble of reentry. “Sleepers didn’t stop them.”

Of course he has sleeper agents. Of course he wouldn’t be here without protection in a seven-year-old territory. And whoever orga- nized this hit knew it—they waited until he was isolated. Surrounded him with more enemies than he could evade on his own. If it hadn’t been for me—

The ground’s coming up too fast. My hands are numb against my Viper’s controls. I steal another glance out the windshield, through the flames wrapped around our hulls. Gal’s focus is on his instruments, but his mind must be miles away. I try to picture him beneath his helmet and visor, try to see his parents in him. Iva’s dark, hooded eyes. Yltrast’s golden skin. The proud brow distinct to the Umber line. No, I just see Gal as I’ve always seen him. Gal, who’s always been a bad liar and a good friend—except something in my darker spaces is urging me to say it’s the other way around.

And from those dark spaces, an intrusive thought hits hard and heavy. Fall back, it demands. This is the heir to the bloodline that

 

rained hell on your homeworld. That stole your life out from under- neath you, broke you, and remade you in its image. You belong with Seely. You can redeem yourself.

The fire dies around us as we slow into the atmosphere’s cradle. My fingers tighten on the controls. Thirty seconds, tops, until the Vipers on our tail start chugging boltfire into our asses again.

Fall back.

It’s where you belong. Fall back.

Redemption.

I let out a long breath.

And a missile shrieks past my cockpit. Two seconds later, a thun- derclap booms at our rear. On my dash, the command channel goes live. “Base to Gold One, watch for shrapnel,” Hanji’s voice an- nounces, flat with raw horror. It’s the most serious I’ve ever heard her. “Runway Three’s been cleared for your approach.”

Fourteen of the defector Vipers are gone. Reduced to nothing but shredded, heated metal that spatters across our backs like rain. A hollow, terrible feeling rips through me. They were assassins. Class- mates. Archon kids like me.

Obliterated.

The clatter of debris on my hull shocks me back into reality. This is what happens to everyone who goes up against the Umber Empire. To suited knights and generals and even the imperials themselves. You don’t become a hero.

You just get killed.

The six remaining Vipers scatter, pursued by a volley of heat- seekers that scream up from beneath us. We don’t have time to see what happens to them. The ground’s rolling up fast, and the spires of the academy’s buildings are rising to meet us. I punch my thrust- ers and adjust my drag flaps, and Gal falls in at my wing. Our ap- proach cuts wide across the plains and finally—finally—there’s the tarmac of Runway Three.

I extend my Viper’s landing gear. Pull my nose up. Yards. Feet.

 

Inches. The Viper hits the pavement hard, and I feel something snap. Hear the shriek of rending metal. Know without seeing that I’ve ripped my wheels off.

“Base to Gold One, you’re dragging fire,” Hanji chirps helpfully in my ear.

My flight suit’s coolant isn’t enough—the cockpit’s cooking as my Viper skins its belly on the tarmac. Sweat trickles down the back of my neck. My fingers fumble on the controls, scrabbling for the release.

There. Grab. Pull. The cockpit pops open, my seat ejects, and I catapult into the mercifully cool air. A whoop escapes my lips as I watch my flaming ship skitter away beneath me, outstripped by Gal’s Viper. He streaks down the runway unhindered, leaving me in the dust and ashes. My parachutes deploy, yanking me out of my fall. I try to twist, to direct my descent, but I have no control—I’m at the mercy of the cold winds blowing in off the prairie.

By the time I touch down, Gal’s already out of his Viper. I land fifty yards away from him and immediately start tearing at my re- straints. Farther down the tarmac, people are swarming Gal. First a doctor, for whom everyone clears the way, then a security team flanked by high-level academy officials.

I stagger to my feet. My legs shake beneath me. I have to get to Gal, have to talk, have to wrap my head around what’s happening. Hanji chatters in my ear, but I rip my helmet off and tear out my earpiece before I can register what she’s saying.

I stumble down the tarmac. A fire crew screams past me, bound for the wreckage of my Viper. As the siren fades, I start to make sense of the hubbub surrounding Gal. They’re talking about putting him in isolation. Summoning the governor Berr sys-Tosa from his winter estate on Imre, an inner world of the system. Arranging for transport to the Imperial Seat in the distant Umber interior.

Gal stands in the middle of the storm, his uncertain gaze flicking from face to face. His eyes find mine, and he lunges toward me. One of the security officers clamps a hand down on his shoulder. “Your Majesty,” she says urgently.

 

I try to push through the people, but someone grabs me. “Gal,” I wheeze, still trying to recover from the shock of the ejection and landing. None of this makes sense. I need him to make this make sense.

“Ettian, something’s—” Gal breaks off abruptly. “I . . . I’m so sorry.”

I’m so used to brushing those words off. So used to forgiving him instantly. But now, for once, as the security officers bundle my best friend away to whatever fate awaits him, I stand in the hollow silence left over and let him mean it.

 

 

 

 

Bonds Of Brass

By: Emily Skrutskie

Publisher: Del Ray Books

Release Date: April 7th, 2020

 

 

  

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3.5
 
0.0 (0)
This empowering picture book teaches readers that even great ideas...
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death (Ronan Boyle, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The hilarious sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller,...
Sharko and Hippo
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
With tongue-twisty wordplay and escalating absurdity, this is a fall-down-funny...
The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A LOVE POEM FROM A FATHER TO HIS TWO SONS,...

Latest Member Reviews

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