Sailor to a Siren is a space opera novel with significant nods to the gangland thriller genre.
When Connor and Logan Cardwain, a gangster’s lieutenants, steal a shipment of high-grade narcotics on the orders of their boss, Connor dreams of diverting the profits and setting up in business for himself. His plans encounter a hurdle in the form of Éloise Falavière, Logan’s former girlfriend, who has been hired by an interplanetary police force’s vice squad.
Logan wants a family; Éloise wants to stop the drugs shipment from being sent to her home planet; Connor wants to gain independence without angering his boss. All of their plans are derailed, though, when they discover that the shipment was hiding a much deadlier secret – the prototype of a tiny superweapon powerful enough to destabilise galactic peace.
Crime lords, corrupt officials and interstellar magicians are soon pursuing them, and Connor, Logan and Éloise realise they have to identify and confront the superweapon’s smuggler in order to survive. But when, one by one, their friends begin to betray them, their self-imposed mission transforms from being difficult to near-impossible.
Sailor to a Siren is a great debut from Zoë Sumra and establishes her as a name to watch in epic space opera. The depth of her characters, the breadth of her world-building, the ambition and longevity of her story-arcs spanning multiple generations of families, all make this a first step in what is likely to be a fascinating and enthralling universe. This is a universe that has more in common with The Galactic Milieu, Firefly or Babylon 5 than with the likes of Star Trek or even Star Wars. These are stories that Zoë has been thinking about, preparing and crafting for many years; stories that deserve to be told, from a story-teller who deserves to be heard.
Zoë was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband and a collection of swords. When she’s not writing or fencing, Zoë works as a print controller for an advertising company.