Risingshadow has the honour of hosting an exclusive excerpt from Embers of Wars by Gareth L. Powell.

This blog post is part of The Embers of Wars Blog Tour.

Embers of Wars was published by Titan Books in February 2018.

About the author:

Gareth is the author of five science-fiction novels and two short story collections. His third novel, Ack-Ack Macaque, book one in the Macaque Trilogy, was the winner of the 2013 BSFA novel award. He lives in Bristol, UK.

Find him on Twitter @garethlpowell.

Click here to visit his official website.

About Embers of Wars:

The sentient warship Trouble Dog was built for violence, yet following a brutal war, she is disgusted by her role in a genocide. Stripped of her weaponry and seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organisation dedicated to rescuing ships in distress. When a civilian ship goes missing in a disputed system, Trouble Dog and her new crew of loners, captained by Sal Konstanz, are sent on a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, light years away, intelligence officer Ashton Childe is tasked with locating the poet, Ona Sudak, who was aboard the missing spaceship. What Childe doesn’t know is that Sudak is not the person she appears to be. A straightforward rescue turns into something far more dangerous, as Trouble Dog, Konstanz and Childe find themselves at the centre of a conflict that could engulf the entire galaxy. If she is to save her crew, Trouble Dog is going to have to remember how to fight...

Exclusive excerpt from Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell

As a civilisation, the Conglomeration claimed descent from the capitalist Anglo-American culture that flourished around the margins of the Atlantic Ocean in the centuries before the Great Dispersal, a culture that had in turn borrowed many of its ideals and foundations from the classical Greco-Roman empires of the Mediterranean Basin. While not as large or powerful as some human societies within the Generality, the Conglomeration was at least one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse, able to number among their citizenry representatives of every Terran race and creed—although this diversity owed more to the enslavements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the wars and migrations of the twentieth and twenty-first, than it did to any conscious policy of inclusion.

As a ship of the Conglomeration Fleet, I spent the first twelve years of my life serving alongside five sibling vessels. They were all Carnivore-class heavy cruisers, identical to me in almost every respect.

War Mutt.

Adalwolf.

Anubis.

Coyote.

Fenrir.

We were a pack, a clique and a family, our minds having been cultivated and grown in the same laboratory. Together, we participated in border patrols and police actions, keeping the peace and offering protection to all the colonies, outposts and ships within the Conglomeration territories. For ten years, we were deadly and inseparable—apex predators capable of flying faster and hitting harder than almost anything else in human space. But then the Archipelago War came and shattered our complacency. Anubis, the proudest of us all, fell victim to a battery of magnetic rail-guns firing iron ingots at near-relativistic velocities. A week later, dear sweet Coyote ran into a nano-minefield concealed within the chromosphere of a local star. The explosions from the miniature antimatter mines weren’t powerful enough to disable her, but were just potent enough to compromise her heat shield, allowing superheated hydrogen to scour her insides to plasma.

The war was over now, and I no longer fought. Instead, I tried to save people. I threw myself at the stars like a fist thrown at the face of God and sometimes, if we were fortunate enough, we brought back a survivor or two. So far, during the course of my service in the House of Reclamation, I had been instrumental in the location and recovery of (counting the two from the Hobo) 205 living individuals, and the retrieval of 771 corpses. Yet still the aggregate sum of lives I had saved lagged far behind the total number of lives I had ended.

The Archipelago War had been an epic and bloody conflict that sprawled from the outermost reaches of the Galactic Arm to the sentient jungles of Pelapatarn. During the siege of the asteroid fortresses of Cold Tor, my sisters and I had used minor ordnance to target civilian population centres. I had been responsible for reducing six environmental pressure domes to tattered craters. Each dome had housed over two thousand men, women and children. Those not killed by the impacts and explosions had died seconds later, gasping in a vacuum.

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