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Empire of Dust

(Psi-Tech #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Mega corporations, more powerful than any one planetary government, use their agents to race each other for resources across the galaxy. The agents, or psi-techs, are implanted with telepath technology. The psi-techs are bound to the mega-corps -- that is, if they want to retain their sanity.

Cara Carlinni is an impossible thing – a runaway psi-tech. She knows Alphacorp ca
Paperback, 532 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by DAW
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  334 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Sherwood Smith
Here are the basic elements that appeal to me in space opera:

* Interesting aliens, weird cultures and larger than life characters, which must include interesting women.

* Space ships in action

* Emotional complexity

* Big ideas—including glimpses of the numinous—without anything being dogmatic

* Layered or polysemous surprises

*An interesting blend of real science and the handwavium that allows for FTL and Psi, but examines the consequences of both.

Any combination of these, with complex characters, i
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was probably one of the funnest Space Operas I've read. Cara is on the run from Ari, who is trying to squash her like a bug from his (figurative) throne. She manages to persuade Ben to help her and before you know it, they're on a colony planet with a charismatic cult leader and a group of people who want to go back to the basics and live a no-tech, farming lifestyle. Cara and Ben and the team members with them are Psi-techs, which are tech enhanced psychics. There are some very interesting ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I come away from this one with a very bland feeling. The characters are very one-dimensional, and their dialogue is very on-the-nose in a way that feels blocked and unnatural. The pacing is weird as well - basically, it's as though the dialogue was written to service a very specific goal in the scene, and then characters shuffle onstage just in time to say their line. That results in characters being very fortuitously present to say exactly what moves the thought along, even if they have absolut ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Highly enjoyable science fiction adventure with romantic elements. In fact, compulsively readable.

Cara is a Psi-1 telepath (interstellar range at that level) who is on the run from her former lover Ari. Ari is a corrupt official of one of the enormous corporate entities that seem to have all the power in this future. She comes across Rakesh Benjamin, a Psi-1 navigator who rescues her from a nasty situation. In an effort to lay low they are signed up to spend a year on a colony planet with a larg
Scott Roberts
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book cover looks medieval and very nice. I give this book 5 stars.
Linda Robinson
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Engaging planet hopping read. There is a lot to love in this first book in the series: the gates, Folded Space, the concept of psychically prone people being enhanced and used by the Bigs to further their nefarious profiteering ends. Cara is a good shero, Ben is a good sidekick. The villains are too familiar. We could use a new method of depicting evil without it being a grinning deviant who likes to hurt things. The secondary characters are superb. The Lorients et al, Ronan, Gen, Max Constant. ...more
Timothy Boyd
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Really nice SiFi story. Good story line and characters. Interesting universe the story is set in. This would be a great book for a new SiFi reader starting to read SiFi stories or a younger reader. Recommended
Joshua Palmatier
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the debut novel of Jacey Bedford. I always try to read debut novels ASAP, since I've been there and know what it's like to have a new book go out into the harsh, harsh world. This is the first of the Psi-Tech novels, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

The premise: Cara Carlinni is a psi-tech who's running from the Alphacorp corporation who technically owns her, since it funded the Telepath technology implanted in her head. Escaping is supposed to be impossible, but she's managed to
My brain came close to liquefying and dripping out of my ears, but I managed to force my way through Jacey Bedford's "Empire of Dust" (the first of the two books in her "Psi-Tech" series). The first half of the book is very well-written and interesting, though it's definitely slow (and the sex scenes sure aren't appreciated (though they're mercifully short)). But, the second half just devolves into a horrible soap opera of drivel. Why an author would spend so much time and effort writing a book ...more
Ursula Sadiq
Mar 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ferocious hippo
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
quite superficial novel: noticeable imbalance of the technology level in the different parts of the pictured world, the psi-tech main idea is pretty good, but very weak in depth, way too simple characters and dialogs, incoherent behaviour/thought of characters - one moment they are hard as rock, next one they are full of tears. and the worst - large part of plot revolves around Ben and Cara feelings to each other and their digging in it (ацтоїщє).
oh, and the happy-end is like cheap hollywood mov
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I gave this a 3. With just a little more effort (or cleverness) it could have been a four, whereas the ending yanked it almost down to a two.

I did enjoy this book for the most part. The basic plot is this: in the future there are people with implants that give them various degrees and types of PSI abilities, and these people are basically owned by the megacorps and do work on their behalf including providing services new planetary colonies. Cara, our heroine, has escaped (with the help of hunky
Jaine Fenn
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Space Opera isn't dead; instead, delightfully, it has grown up. Empire of Dust, the debut novel from Jacey Bedford, published by DAW, is a fine example of a novel which has its roots in the sub-genre, but grows beyond it.

Cara Carlini is a woman with a past, and she's running away from it as fast as she can. She'll take whatever help she can get, though always with her eyes open. She's also a psi-tech, one of the significant minority in Bedford's universe whose innate psionic talents have been en
S.J. Higbee
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really loved Cara – she is desperate and frightened when we first meet her. Clearly used to dealing with the sleazier side of life, she doesn’t hesitate to sleep with Ben, the pilot who offers to take her off-planet, thinking it’s part of the deal. But over the length of the book, which includes chases, murders and helping establish a colony on a new world, Cara begins to find herself again. Bedford effectively depicts a woman struggling to put an abusive past behind her and build a new life f ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Starting this one, it quickly caught my attention, I really like science fiction that goes in a linear path, one that doesn't try to explain all the nuances of that universes' technology and etc. i.e a particular engine how it runs, how it is built, who built it and etc.

Story, story, story............ok as simple as it is, this universes' foundation rest solely on individual having the psi ability whether it is psi tech/mech/engineer and all forms of ability and further classify
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the debut novel of Jacey Bedford.

I always try to read debut novels ASAP, since I've been there and know what it's like to have a new book go out into the harsh, harsh world. This is the first of the Psi-Tech novels, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

The premise: Cara Carlinni is a psi-tech who's running from the Alphacorp corporation who technically owns her, since it funded the Telepath technology implanted in her head. Escaping is supposed to be impossible, but she's managed to
Caroline Mersey
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Jacey Bedford's promising debut novel is a pacey thriller about colonisation and corruption. The world-building is strong: the economics of space exploration and colonisation mesh well with large corporations (who else could afford to bankroll these expeditions?) and the lack of regulation permits corruption to develop. And the idea of particular groups wanting to step outside society to live consistently with their beliefs is worth exploring.

But the novel is very clearly a first novel. The plo
David Sarsfield
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
When I first read the back-cover blurb for 'Empire of Dust', I looked forward to reading as it appeared to tick a lot of boxes: cyberpunk-ish space opera with a definite thrilleristic edge. And indeed, during the first few chapters, the plot seemed to deliver on this promise. The main issue I had was that the book transformed into something very different: a complex look at the often antagonistic relationship between psi-tech and settler on a new colony planet. In itself, there wasn't anything o ...more
Apr 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sf
A good first novel, the romance bit seemed a bit forced but it wasn't a large part of the story. Other than that , most of the character conceptions are decent. The discrimination theme is done well, it wasn't just a collection of good and evil characters. The evil corporation bit was over the top, since this universe has FTL communications, it's hard for me to believe some of the acts left unpunished. I have that problem with modern news nowadays, so perhaps it's more credible than it feels. I ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
3.5 rating. Decent story that got me hooked early on! I liked all of the characters except for Max Constant, who was a selfish, boring prick. The writing could have been much tighter, an issue that was highlighted by the fact the author found it necessary to repeat basic facts throughout the story. I'm not an idiot! Don't treat me like one!

I even liked the romantic sub-plot! It was cute, & Ben is adorable. I think I'll stick with this series.
Claire H
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Incredibly intriguing premise aside, I should have known better than to break my nearly inviolate never-read-books-rated-less-than-4-stars rule. This had a very strong first act - quick pacing, inventive premise, deft method of bringing the main characters together. That was followed by a reasonable but weaker and slower paced second act, and then a third act that was so boring I barely finished the book. A waste of a good novel. Don't read. ...more
D.F. Haley
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I like the meme of badass tough heroine fighting back against the system. This one was pretty well done, but the denouement was disappointing. In particular, the characters appeared to start acting in ways that were inconsistent with how they had been established. They did not ring true. It spoiled the book for me. The end was much less triumphant than it might have been, as the protagonists got goofy while the antagonists started acting stupid. Blech!
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The world building was engaging and believable. I particularly liked the big picture politics of the mega corporations, and the existence of the equally powerful Crossways criminal conglomerate. But best of all was the developing relationship between the two main characters, Ben and Cara, as they struggle to save both themselves and the colony.
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good, old-fashioned SF. I thought the psi might put me off, but it was like putting on an old shoe. It’s all here: psi, wormholes, evil megacorps, raving religious loonies, treachery, sadism, heroism, heroine-ism and romance. A ripping good yarn! I can’t wait for the sequel.
Jul 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Otherwise well-written novel in an interesting world is dragged down by a one-dimensional Gary Stu hero who is never really punished for his naivete or poor leadership. Seriously, he shouldn't be in charge of a lemonade stand. ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this novel although it was a bit too long. The plot moves quite quickly and the characters are all interesting. Lots of thought has gone into the novel - setting up a planet with settlers and encountering difficulties both from man and nature. Lots of good SF concepts.
Richard Plummer

You just keep waiting and waiting for action. I have exorcised some bit of bad karma by suffering through. Not an amateur but not worth a Sunday.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
space opera. some interesting ideas but a little bit predictable and characters were fairly unidimensional. will still try the next book in this series.
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Decent book. Pacing sucked. Plot was good. Characters were developed well. Somewhat predictable though, only somewhat.
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Jacey Bedford is an English writer who is published by DAW in the USA. She lives and works behind a desk in Pennine Yorkshire. She's had stories published on both sides of the Atlantic. She has six novels out now and is currently working on three more. Empire of Dust, Crossways, and Nimbus are science fiction (space opera) which make up the Psi-Tech trilogy. Winterwood, a historical fantasy, is se ...more

Other books in the series

Psi-Tech (3 books)
  • Crossways (Psi-Tech #2)
  • Nimbus

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