Tsar Wars: Agents of ISIS, Book 1

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9781451523324: Tsar Wars: Agents of ISIS, Book 1
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Welcome to the first great space opera decalogy of the twenty-first century! With humanity scattered throughout the galaxy on hundreds of worlds, the Empire is the only force for order across the stars. Without it, interstellar conflicts would bring chaos and billions of deaths. But the tsar has been in a coma for five years now, and his grand-niece, the only apparent heir, is only 14 years old. In this hour of crisis, the task of preserving the Empire falls to two untrained--but far from unskilled--agents of the Imperial Special Investigation Service. Can they make a difference against the vast forces arrayed against them?

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From the Author:

Back in the mid-1970s to 1980s, I took a novella called "Imperial Stars," originally written by E.E. "Doc" Smith, and expanded it to a full-length novel with the same title. The novella was somewhat creaky and simplistic, even by 1970s standards (its anti-Communist screed belonged in the 1950s), but it did have plenty of room for action. (Surprisingly, given Smith's talent for creating notable villains, the archnemesis never appears onstage in the novella; I remedied this in the novel version.) Smith had created no further plots, characters or story arcs, so I had to add my own original touches as I wrote nine brand new books set in that universe, thus creating what became known as the "Family d'Alembert series."

    As the decades passed, I became increasingly dissatisfied with these books. The stories I told were fun, but like a tree planted in infertile soil it was stunted and unable to reach its full growth potential. Finally, in the late 2000 aughts, I decided to re-invent the series completely into what is now the Agents of ISIS.

    I discarded "Imperial Stars" in its entirety. Gone are Smith's universe, Smith's characters, and Smith's simplistic world view (with the equally simplistic pseudo-Lamarckian evolution that led to the characters' greater strength and speed). I wrote an entirely new first novel, Tsar Wars, to kick off the re-envisioned series, introducing a new universe with new problems, a new background, and deeper, more three-dimensional characters. The stories and characters I created for Books 2 through 10 of the original series are basically the same, though I made major adaptations so they'd fit the new universe.

    While I won't try to pretend Agents of ISIS is ultra-realistic--it still has its feet rooted firmly in the space opera tradition--I believe it's not quite as black-and-white as Smith's novella made it out to be. And there's still plenty of exciting action to keep the reader moving forward.

    Tsar Wars is Book 1 of the Agents of ISIS series, replacing Imperial Stars from the Family d'Alembert series. I'll freely admit I borrowed some of the plot from Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, and I blatantly appropriated one of Mr. Twain's greatest lines. (Only steal from the best!) The quote is so famous, though, that it scarcely needs attribution.

    If you're a fan of thee original series, I hope you'll give Agents of ISIS a try to see how I changed it. And if you haven't read the Family d'Alembert series before, I urge you to try the new, improved series instead. I think it's better designed and better written--and loads of fun.

About the Author:

Born in Philadelphia in 1947, Stephen Goldin has lived in California since 1960. He received a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy from UCLA and worked as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy for a few years after leaving college, but has made his living as a writer/editor most of his life. His first wife was fellow author Kathleen Sky, with whom he co-wrote the highly acclaimed nonfiction book "The Business of Being a Writer." His current wife is fellow author Mary Mason. So far they have co-authored two books in the Rehumanization of Jade Darcy series. He served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for three years as editor of the SFWA Bulletin, and another three years as the organization's Western Regional Director. He has lived with cats all his adult life. Artistically, he enjoys Broadway musicals and surrealist art. Learn more about him at his Web site, http://stephengoldin.com. Many of his other books can be bought through Parsina Press at http://parsina.com.

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