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Absence of Blade: The Expansion Series, #1

323 pages5 hours


This isn’t about victory. This is about survival.

Mose Attarish isn’t used to making mistakes. As an intelligence agent on the contested world Olios 3, he gathers the intel to direct the Osk’s operatives into every chink in the Terran forces’ armor. Through sabotage, espionage, and assassinations, the Osk have held their own in the war for Olios 3 – barely. Every failed mission brings the war’s end nearer, and when faulty intel nearly kills one of his operatives, Mose takes it hard.

Gau Shesharrim doesn’t blame Mose for what happened. Bad intel is one of the risks of the job, and it’s a job Gau wouldn’t trade for any other. But his latest brush with death has made even this seasoned assassin consider the merits of early retirement. Too bad the top brass don’t care what Gau wants.

Shomoro Lacharoksa follows a mission apart from the rest of the colony. In a lonely base, she researches the technologies that give the Terrans their invisible edge, hoping to bolster the Osk’s foundering campaign.

It might not be enough. The Terrans are doing research of their own, and no one—not even the Terrans themselves—is prepared for what they will unleash.

Content warning: This book contains a scene of ambiguous consent.

What’s special about the Expansion series and why might readers want to pick it up?

A lot of fictional galactic empires start from one of two positions: either we are surrounded by aliens that are an active threat to the human republic, or we are alone in the universe. In the Terran Expansion, I wanted to create an empire whose relations with its alien neighbors were more nuanced, yet still contentious.

I wrote the story primarily from the perspective of the Osk, an alien species that has clashed with the Expansion’s empire several times, to explore what a human galactic republic might look like from a nonhuman perspective.

What made you decide to write science fiction?

I've always been fascinated by outer space and the possibility of alien invasion and interstellar colonization. Short of becoming a theoretical exobiologist (they do exist!), writing science fiction has allowed me to indulge my imagination while asking some big questions about our place in the universe, including whom we might share it with.

Where can readers find you?

I blog about writing and science fiction over at my website, The Expansion Front. For a limited time, when they visit the site, subscribers can download free alien concept art, including an early cover draft!

I’m also on Twitter @CaitlinDMcKenna and Facebook @CaitlinDemarisMcKenna. See you there!

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