This is exactly the kind of book I don’t read. It has Kings, Princesses, Dukes and Lords and all that nobility stuff that is strange to me as I am and never have been British or anybodies commoner! Still, I like the story very much and that surprised me just as much as it probably did you.
We’re on the planet Gildain in some far away galaxy. Our hero is introduced quite early as Duke Uron of House Marlboro which doesn’t mean much except you will get to know the Duke as Ron, a pretty common name if you ask me. He is a subject of King Gerard of House Gerard and Duke Ron has just fought a titanic war against the Zezner. The Gildains won and King Gerard is about to accept the King of the Zezner’s surrender and then execute him as the customs of this world. Those who had the most to do with the wars favoriable end should be standing on the dais with the King, but for reasons only known to each other, Duke Ron isn’t invited to the ceremony! There is an obvious schism between the Kind had his Duke.
Still, the Duke of Marlboro is trying to be a loyal subject, but the King is making it very hard. He’s basically ignoring all the effort Duke Ron put into fighting the Zezners and trying to bring all the glory and rewards of the win to himself and his house. Still, everyone in the kingdom knows clearly what happened. Even the Zezners acknowledge the Duke of Marlboro as a tactical and strategic genius that brought about their defeat. As a specific recognition of his superior actions, a prince of the Zezner’s has now become a life-long servant to the Duke of Marlboro. He is to accompany the Duke everywhere and remind everyone that the Zezners were defeated and are a conquered people. Of course Duke Ron doesn’t want or believe in having a slave so he tells the Zezner, name Redion, that he doesn’t want him as a slave, but he can act as a body guard if that would be acceptable. Since the Zezner Prince is a warrior, he quickly takes a liking to Duke Ron and does in fact, become his protector. It’s too bad the rest of the House of Marlboro doesn’t have a protector.
You’ll meet Gregory, Victor, Fortune, and Peps all progeny of Ron and Patricia Marlboro. Patricia was formerly of the House Wilson so they have that House for support if needed. Still, both Gregory and Victor are proven warriors while Fortune can fly just about any kind of craft. Then little Peps as she’s called gets into all sorts of trouble, mostly while hanging around the Dukes soldiers barracks where she most certainly shouldn’t be.
Early on, House Marlboro is attacked by House Danestar and House Bull. While House Danestar went all out in the attack, House Bull really wanted nothing to do with this treachery setup by the Kind. So, House Bull made a secret pact with House Marlboro to make it look like he was honestly attacking when he would not. That allowed House Marlboro to focus on Danestar which they easily defeated. So, now House Danestar and House Bull were indebt to House Marlborog making that House even more powerful than before. This was not to the King’s liking.
What the King did like was Fortune, eldest daughter of Ron and Patricia. She was nowhere close to his age, but the King was in search of an heir as he wife had recently died. He also knew that there was a reason the Zezner’s called the humans from Gildane, near-humans. Apparently, all those born on Gildane or at least most of the nobility were born with nanites already working in their bodies. These gave these people some greater physical and mental abilities than normal. Still, most Gildanes only recognized these nanites as something a nobleperson should have. Duke Ron had a greater number of nanties than most everybody. He could heal quicker, work hard and endure more than any normal person all due to his excellent nanites and they way they were taking care of his body. The King also knew of these nanites and he figured he would like to pass them on to an heir so a marriage between Fortune and the King would work well for both families. Fortune was not interested in a marriage of any kind and especially not to the King. She thought him to be an elderly man and certainly had no desires to have any of his children. But, the King isn’t usually stopped in his pursuit of what he wants in his kingdom.
Now we get to the Blue Moon Expedition as it is initially called. At some point in time, someone had suggested that an expedition be put together to explore the universe and try to see if this ancient mythical planet called Earth actually existed. Prior to the war, this expedition was about to get funded and may have actually taken off. As it was now, there were a lot of ships in process of being built, but not many in any condition to sail into the deep black. So, Ron, knowing he and the King are never going to agree to a marriage between his daughter and said King, re-ignites the efforts to the this expedition finished and ready to sail.
Then King Gerard kidnaps Fortune who happened to have Peps with her. This is not going to stand. A surprisingly very good story. I think I’ll even look for the next book in the series to see where it goes. Now that I know all about all these Houses and who is who, the next book should be a breeze!