Marcus Redding is having a bad day. You might think you know what a bad day is, but rest assured you don’t. Marcus is an escaped slave who just so happens to have stolen a ship from his previous masters in the process.
Unfortunately, he also has a stowaway named Harley, a slave-cyborg on a mission that includes making Marcus very dead. Circumstances throw the two into an uneasy alliance though as they seek to survive and keep the ship, named by Marcus as Junker Blues, afloat.
Join the unlikely team as they flee both Marcus’ masters and the Mars Defense Force and make their way out to the Belt – seeking allies and repairs. When Marcus finds his old ally Ged, a psionic “spider”, they set about a journey to stop one of Marcus’ enemies, an Ilas hybrid named Lashiel, who has tampered with Marcus’ memories – something considered a great crime by the Ilas.
Varnadore freely mixes genres between sci-fi and fantasy, making this a great read for both sci-fi fans as well as those who prefer fantasy. Whether your bookshelf is filled with Tolkien or Asimov, you’ll find this book checks off what you look for in an excellent book.
Moreover, Varnadore is a consummate world builder. The world of Junker Blues is a rich tapestry of factions living within Earth’s solar system. Humans compete with both an alien race, as well as the Ilas and the Belters. Varnadore’s fantasy predilection particularly shines through in his development of the Belters, a distinct race of humans themselves even before you account for the Altars, shapeshifters living among the asteroids of the Belt itself.
Then there are the Eridani, the very slaver race of Mars from which Marcus stole both his freedom and the Junker Blues. To this, add in an ancient battle with a race called the Crawlers and, of course, the Ilas, a genetically created race that fought for and earned its independence, and you have one amazingly deep, rich world in which to follow our hero’s journey.
Junker Blues provides something for almost every reader. It is a clenching action story that never lets up on the pace. It is a world steeped in history and mythology. It is also a thriller with its twists and turns. Mostly though, Junker Blues is a story of humanity. It examines a very relatable protagonist, not perfect by any means, but with a human sense of morality. It examines what would happen if you took a typical human and set him in a world rife with danger and aliens. Will human ingenuity and an innate sense of what is right and wrong be enough to keep one alive? That, you will have to find out on your own.
Strap in with Marcus and crew, hope the singularity drive holds up, and join Marcus’ wild dash across the system in this gripping space opera. Find on Amazon