WORLDS BEYOND by Cameron Cooper
The Indigo Reports 3.0
Space Opera Novel
Peace is balanced upon a knife edge…
With the incomparable advantage of personal bridge forges and the elusive flying city, Demos, Bellona and her Ledanians have contained their rabid enemies, the Alliance, for more than a decade, preventing them from swallowing whole the hundreds of worlds who look to Bellona to preserve their freedom and peace. If the Alliance’s relentless ambition to find a decisive advantage is realized, the delicate balance Bellona maintains would be destroyed, and the free worlds vulnerable.
Rumours emerge from the Alliance-annexed states of a new type of bridge forge which might just be the tool the Alliance needs to defeat her…
Worlds Beyond is the final book in the Indigo Reports space opera science fiction series by award-winning SF author Cameron Cooper.
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I highly recommend this story and am delighted to report it's a satisfying and epic finish to the whole series. So many intrigues and machinations which were manipulated and experienced by characters who seem so real and yet larger than life (human or android and all in-between!). All this action and intrigue is set in a galaxy so different to what we know...the escape was real and I was completely captivated by the whole story (good luck if you can put this book down, I had to read it in one sitting!). I'll be thinking about these characters and the story long after reading it...I can see it being a fantastic book (and series) to re-read so that I can soak up more of the nuances and enjoy the bumpy ride through space all over again!
Definitely a series you need to read in order with no cliffhangers between books but each novel adds more depth and understanding to some amazing characters I wanted to know more about.
In "Worlds Beyond" Cooper delivers a somber end to the "Indigo Reports" series.
The author, as usual, does a superlative job of world building and character development. Sang's in particular.
I highly recommend this book.
Q: If you knew the price of Freedom for the entire universe was the sacrifice of not only your home, but your very life, would you pay the price?
A: Read this book and find out Bellona's answer.
It was great to finally find out what happened to Bellona and her friends as they fight for freedom from The Alliance. This is a complex tale of planetary politics, plotting, spying, scientific marvels, and advanced androids. Plus there is the fascinating floating city of Demos, which is an ever growing hidden city. I can only imagine how interesting the outside of this city would look as it grows and changes. Sang is a marvel and I loved how he is featured in this book. While I am sad to have come to the end of this story world, I am now looking forward to reading the whole series again. Wonderful and satisfying science fiction.
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EXCERPT FROM WORLDS BEYOND
COPYRIGHT © CAMERON COOPER 2020
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Sang created a bridge to the back room of the assembly hall dais and stepped through just as the handmaids were adding Bellona’s headdress. Her eyes, with their elaborate makeup, swiveled to Sang as the maids adjusted the headdress and the folds of the long gown. It was a heavy garment, which hung straight from the shoulders, encrusted with semi-precious milk stones and cultured diamonds, azure beads and steel silk threads which glistened as she moved.
As he did nearly every time he saw Bellona again after even a small absence, Sang realized she was smaller than he remembered her to be, even with her thick black curls wound up onto the back of her head.
“Did you sort Hero out?” Bellona asked. “No, not the scepter. Not today,” she told the maid, who was trying to curl Bellona’s fingers around the shaft of the golden symbol.
“The Cadre have released her,” Sang said.
Bellona rolled her black-outlined eyes at him. “Do we need to talk about Hero, Sang?”
“Hero was being Hero,” Sang replied. “But that is merely a symptom–”
“I don’t have time to talk about it now,” Bellona replied. She nodded toward the tall archway. Beyond the arch was the dais of the assembly hall. The dais was raised dozens of meters above the floor of the hall. The hall itself was cavernous, at least a ten levels high—even a ten of the new-style levels with their high ceiling and airy, open spaces. Seven thousand people could stand upon the floor of the assembly hall and not be crowded. There were tiers of seats around the edges, which could hold another four thousand people.
Despite the size of the hall, the entire population of Demos could not gather there at once. Instead, lenses fed the events in the hall to the rest of the ship via a dozen different channels and streams.
Through the archway, Sang could hear the murmur of many voices on the floor of the hall. The governors of the free worlds were gathered there to acknowledge Bellona and the opening of the annual assembly.
He consulted internally for the time. “There is still three minutes to go. They’re impatient, today.” Was that another symptom? He plucked the idea and tucked it away with the others.
“Everyone is impatient these days,” Bellona said. “Damn, this thing is heavy. Do you put carbyne in the lining, ladies?” She shrugged under the robe.
The handmaidens giggled.
Sang dismissed them with a wave of his fingers. He didn’t need the physical gesture as they were all Dyse’s bexens, but the habit was ingrained.
Their faces lost animation. They moved into a (mathematically perfect) straight line and moved out of the room. The last shut the door with a wordless command to the room AI.
Bellona sighed. “Thank you.”
“You are not being rude if you dismiss them yourself,” Sang pointed out.
“I always feel like I’m disappointing them if I don’t let them do their job,” Bellona replied. She cocked her head. “That buzz coming from the governors sounds angry. Shall I find out?”
Sang moved over to the door and lowered the security field, so she could step out onto the dais.
Bellona shrugged under the weight of the gown once more. Then she squared her shoulders, raised her chin and sailed out onto the dais, her arms lifting in greeting.
Sang stood out of sight behind the archway and listened critically to the sigh that lifted up from the floor of the assembly hall. There was an undertone of dissatisfaction, but the stronger note was still one of awe and pleasure.
“Governors! Leaders of the Free Worlds! I bid you welcome to Demosthenes!” Bellona’s voice was picked up and amplified by innovative and advanced directional audio equipment. No matter where one stood in the assembly hall, it sounded as though Bellona was right in front of them. The experts had predicted it would make the governors feel a degree of intimacy, which would encourage openness and cooperation.
Sang had consulted with the speech writers. Bellona’s speech would be short, and the content null, but it would impart a warm feeling, which would be followed by a grand feast, to wine and dine the governors into somnolence. Then, as Demos followed a standard twenty hour clock, the free world leaders would be encouraged to sleep, then rise tomorrow to attend the first trade session.
From past experience, Sang knew they would continue to drink and deal among each other, jockeying for better economic partners, negotiating trade breaks and agreements, even before the meeting began.
Tonight he would be kept busy with governor-generated diplomatic emergencies the Cadre simply couldn’t cope with. There would be incidences with prostitutes, too much alcohol, or an ever growing variety of drugs, physical fights, theft, vandalism and more.
At least there would not be another murder. He hoped.