In a universe where the fate of free worlds hangs in the balance, can one man make a difference?
The Resistance is a thin line of defense for the free planets of the Borderworlds. The strip of former colonies forms a shrinking boundary between the Earth-controlled Drilin Imperium and the Epsilon Alliance, superpowers locked in a cold war a hundred years old. It's a no-man's land home to billions living under the constant threat of Imperium invasion, a place where the Alliance dares not intercede for fear of sparking all-out war.
Aaron Taylor knows what's at stake when he volunteers to join the Resistance. The son of an Imperium general, the Alliance-trained military spy's existence can be officially disavowed at a moment's notice. It's work that's already cost him everything he holds dear--including his beloved partner of seven years.
He joins the Resistance as a man with nothing left to lose at a time when the Resistance needs men like him the most. It's far from the disorganized rabble he expects, but without more able hands, the Borderworlds are doomed.
Torn between duty to both, when the chips are down, which will Taylor choose: the Alliance that made him, or the Resistance that made him its own?
Erin M. Klitzke has been writing since she was an adolescent, though most of those early works will never see the light of day. She got her BA in history and anthropology from Grand Valley State University and her MA in history from Oakland University, and much to her mother’s occasional dismay, what she does with those degrees is write fiction.
She lives in Detroit’s northern suburbs and enjoys reading, sewing, gaming, and renaissance festivals when she’s not creating her own worlds. You can find her on the web at www.embklitzke.com, e-mail her at doc (at) embklitzke (dot) com, and follow her on Twitter at @EMBKDoc.
the beginning was a bit confusing and slow due to not having read the previous story. so i was lost on the background politics and who was who. but once i sorted everything out, it was hard to put it down. i really enjoyed the off world feel of the story. the writing style gave my mind's eye very detailed descriptions and in-depth characters to embody. i kind of wished the beginning was as action packed as the ending. there was heart racing fighting as well as a few good explosions. there was a hint for another book, and i hope there will be. i'm looking forward to reading more. i really want to know what happened to his partner.
After the initial jolt (since I haven't read the other books in this series and didn't know the background or who was who) this book was a great read. I read it through in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Full disclosure: I've been friends with the author a long time.
The galaxy of the future is locked in a cold war between the assumedly democratic Alliance and the authoritarian Earthcentric (Yes Erin, you have my permission to use the term "Earthcentric" ;-) ) Imperium. Caught in the middle are the world/systems on the border between these two powers. It sounds like the background of The Expanse (great show!) or maybe even Babylon 5 (equally great show!), but the similarities end there. Epsilon is more of a sci-fi cloak-and-dagger story, focusing on the exploits of one secret agent, Aaron Taylor, as he provides much needed assistance to a Resistance forming among the Borderworlds. It provides a good story, although it is weak in the dagger aspect of cloak-and-dagger.
The story is essentially split into two parts; the first part focusing on Taylor's efforts to integrate into the Alliance, with its interesting cast of characters, and the second part being the Resistance's attempts to fight for freedom from the Imperium.
The first part is a mixed bag; Klitzke does a great job of introducing the reader to Alliance secret agent Aaron Taylor, and he's a solid, 3-dimensional character. He has a good, analytical mind (good for secret agents), and I appreciate that the author presents what he's thinking and how his thoughts lead to the choices he makes. He's witty and he definitely has a past due to this cold war that shows the war has definitely left its wearying mark on him. Taylor's been assigned to lend assistance to the borderworlds Resistance, consisting of a large number of characters (it's a pretty big cast) with varying personalities, from the highly paranoid Doc to the firey, strong-willed Sam. While he's trying to get friendly with them, Taylor's dealing with his own baggage. It's a good setup, and it helps flesh out the characters, but I think it goes too long.
The second half has some decent action as the Resistance starts to make moves against the Imperium. It has a good pace, and the fallout from those moves is intriguing; it's obvious another story is in the works, and I look forward to it. It also shows Taylor's not afraid to get into the fray, which is good. Unfortunately, I also never had the feeling Taylor was ever in any danger, which might be the story's biggest weakness.
For a story about a secret agent in the middle of a rebellion, I never get the impression Taylor, or even the other Resistance, are ever in any danger, thus my earlier comment about being light on the dagger element. For the first half, there are few to no signs of any Imperial presence or even any other security that makes Taylor or the Resistance keep hidden. This could be because the main planet isn't dominated by the Imperium, or it could be Taylor's that good, but in a situation like this, it's feels like a stretch that there are no Imperium sympathizers or secret agents or even neutral planetary security out there to make the Resistance's existence difficult. For the second half, there is action and combat, and I noticed the Resistance starting to become more careful, but until some specific scenes near the end happen, it doesn't feel like Taylor and the Resistance are in trouble. It could be there's a sucker punch waiting, and there are some exceptions, but it frequently lacks the tension you would expect from a revolution.
Overall, the book is a good one, with likeable, interesting characters, and it's quite likely the author will up the ante a few notches for Taylor and the Resistance in the next book, but for a cloak and dagger story, it is light on the espionage side of things. I'll definitely be curious about it.