SEVERED by Cameron Cooper
Imperial Hammer 4.0
Space Opera Novel
Now Danny is the most wanted criminal in the Empire…
Danny has just barely averted the array’s plans to dominate the Empire, and now must face the wrath of the Imperial Shield, and dodge a galaxy full of Imperial Rangers who want her dead.
Until now, she has had the help of her crew and the fabulous ship, The Supreme Lythion, to get her through any challenges, but the array quickly sends her crew and the ship to the four corners of the known worlds, and isolates Danny in the worst circumstances.
She is severed from all she knows, with nothing to her name and must fight back one painful step at a time…
Severed is the fourth book in the Imperial Hammer space opera science fiction series by award-winning SF author Cameron Cooper.
The Imperial Hammer series:
1.0: Hammer and Crucible
1.1: An Average Night on Androkles
2.0: Star Forge
3.0: Long Live the Emperor
5.0: Destroyer of Worlds
5.5: The Imperial Hammer Series Box Set
Space Opera Science Fiction Novel
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Danny and Sauli and Varg star in this story of capture, escape, ingenuity, determination, and integrity. There’s plenty of action and excitement, plot twists, and a surprising ending to take your breath away. Immaculate writing!
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader copy of this book.
Another winner for Cameron Cooper. Great science fiction without too much science but what science there is is well plotted, fits into the story and actually makes sense. This is a continuing story. I recommend reading them in order because the story develops from book to book. Realistic characters, tight writing without useless red herrings and disappearing story lines. Original, interesting and well written. Highly recommend.
Severed is rife with tense suspense and thrills, as lives and loves hang in the balance with seemingly hopeless odds.
Action and tension are balanced by the continued development of interpersonal relationships between characters creating a depth and emotional charge to the story that held me enthralled.
The beautifully crafted plot is enhanced by scene-setting descriptions of other-worldly spaces. The details of the unique world are mind-boggling but they add to the rich texture that makes this space world and it's series of Houdini-like escape scenes so believable.
So many elements of the plot and twists of the whole series culminate to make each book in the series even better than the last...for me, especially in this story, it was the loving humanity and honour of the characters.
I highly recommend this book but it's best to start at book one (Hammer and Crucible) of the Imperial Hammer series...and like me you'll be eagerly awaiting the next book to see what Danny does next!
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EXCERPT FROM SEVERED
COPYRIGHT © CAMERON COOPER 2020
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED [Advisory: Frank language included.]
Seventeen hours after the assassination of Ramaker III, 76th Carinad Emperor, 1st of the Tanique Dynasty
When the concierge panel told me Dalton wanted to come in, I very nearly ignored the request. I was tired of arguing. Tired of explaining myself.
But it was Dalton. It didn’t matter that everyone else on the ship had probably asked him to speak to me on their behalf. Dalton deserved a hearing, even though I knew he would not say anything new and could not change my mind.
I told the concierge to open the door for him and got up and went out into the “garden” that my room was currently displaying.
Dalton stopped by the moon jasmine and crossed his arms, a tall, solid figure. The nonchalance was fake. He looked as pissed as me.
“You’re here to plead on their behalf,” I said.
“I felt it best to cooperate,” Dalton growled. “They’re upset.”
“Then you don’t agree with them?”
“I think they’re wrong about being able to change your mind,” he replied. “But I do think handing yourself over to the array is fucking stupid.”
“I won’t be handing myself over to the array. I plan to talk to him, that’s all.”
“It’s the same thing and you know it. As soon as we drop the seal on the ship, he’ll have control of it and us. He can do what he wants with us.”
“I have to talk him down,” I said tiredly, for here we were, arguing the same things all over again. “We can’t stay sealed up inside the Lythion forever. Sooner or later we have to emerge. The array has too many ways of reaching us, outside the ship. I have to talk to him, to draw the heat away from everyone.”
“By drawing a big target on yourself.”
“As far as the empire is concerned, I’ve already done that. They think I assassinated the emperor.” Before Dalton could point out the obvious, I added, “Yes, it was a clone and the array had already killed the real Ramaker, but everyone saw me kill him. That footage will have flashed across the empire while we’re stuck in this hole.” Ninety-six hours of twiddling our fingers. Lyth had chosen the closest array gate from the Crystal City gate we’d dived into with the bulk of the Imperial Shield and Imperial Rangers fleet trying to catch us.
Because of the mechanics arising from folding space, the closest gate took the longest time to reach. Lyth had wisely figured we’d need time to plan our next move. But as far as I was concerned, planning time was over. “Who the hell knows what the array has done to everyone while we’re stuck in the hole,” I told Dalton. “If I’m not there for him to hit, he’ll take it out on the nearest people. I can’t let that happen.”
“It might already have happened,” Dalton pointed out.
“If he’s cut off the Crystal City, or someone else, then a few hours without communications isn’t the end of their world. I can still talk him around. I got him to lift the blockade on Keeler.”
“And if he’s annihilated worlds in the meantime?” Dalton asked curiously.
“He doesn’t have that ability,” I said quickly, shuddering at the prospect. We’d destroyed his factory of soldiers and weapons.
“That you know of,” Dalton added gently. He held up a hand. “I know you’ve made up your mind. I just want to be sure that you’re sure. You know what you’re risking, right?”
“All of you,” I said flatly. “I know.”
His jaw flexed. “Damn it, Danny, I’m talking about you.”
I gripped my hands together to stop myself from reaching for him. There was a reason we stood upon grass under the full daylights, instead of sitting upon the bed under the pergola with the smell of night wisteria perfuming the air. This was business.
I instead gave Dalton an uneasy smile. “I’m banking on me being the only person in the empire he wouldn’t kill outright just to make himself feel better.”
“It’s a very high risk to take,” Dalton said softly.
“Then it’s a very high risk I’ll be taking,” I replied. “We have to act fast, catch his intellect before his emotions stew and run away on him.”
Dalton held up his hand. “Yeah, yeah, I got this the first few times around.” He gave a great sigh and moved closer. His smile was crooked. “I could stay here while you do it. Just to…be here.”
My own smile wasn’t any firmer. “No one stands beside me while I talk to him. Especially not you.”
He touched his lips to mine. “We’ll monitor from the bridge.” His lips brushed my cheek.
“If the array lets you monitor.” Terror was building in my middle and I fought not to let any of it show in my face, or Dalton would refuse to leave. I really needed him to leave. I had to get this done. Dalton was the last roadblock. Once he was gone, nothing remained but to connect with the array and try to reason with it.
He made himself turn and go. I could see reluctance squaring every line in his body, but he left.
I considered asking the concierge to lock the door behind him, but once the array had been invited into the ship, it would be able to control nearly everything, go anywhere it wanted, speak to anyone onboard…
I shut off the panic-inducing train of thought and pulled the garden chair out into the middle of the small patch of lawn. “Ready, Lyth,” I told the shipmind—at least, what used to be the shipmind, and that no one else knew was actually a digital sentient and person in his own right, now.
“If you’re sure, captain?” Lyth replied, his voice issuing from the overheads.
“I’m less sure with every passing second, but it has to be done. I have to make the attempt.” To Lyth, I would explain myself, just as I would with Dalton, but for far different reasons. “Shield up—on everything, then open the cage, please.”
A minute pause, which for Lyth would be eons. Was he debating with himself whether he would obey me or not? He had the ability to refuse, now. Then, “Cage open, Captain.”
I took a deep breath and said to the air, “Noam? Are you there? Could I speak to you, please?”