Read sample chapters, in PDF format
362pp, 6" x 9" trade size paperback
cover by Jade
Recovering from the events of Cry Liberty, Neil Travers and Curtis Marin are pleased to be mere spectators for a time ... but the scenes at which they are on the sidelines are beyond their imagination.
The super-carrier Shanghai has driven into the Deep Sky, poised for the invasion of Ulrand ... on Kjorin, Dario Sherratt believes he has discovered the key to the Zunshu stasis chamber ... in the storms of the Rabelais Drift, the Wastrel plays pool with cosmic forces ... in Marak ‘city bottom’, Vaurien and Jazinsky pit themselves against old enemies.
And Michael Vidal prepares to fly the mission of his life, into the dark heart of Hellgate. A place the Resalq call El’arne ... ‘The stormy side of the sky.’ Into this void, the explorer Ernst Rabelais vanished many years ago; and out of it, the Zunshu strike at the new human worlds as they once destroyed the Resalq...
For Travers and Marin, these are strange, bittersweet days, on one hand filled with self-discovery, on the other, shadowed by fear. They long for the so-called ‘Colonial Wars’ to be over, yet find themselves at the very crux of the danger, politics and intrigue as General Harrison Shapiro makes his gambit.
The stakes are the liberty and the survival of the Deep Sky.
Gay-themed SF at its most astonishing and rewarding. If you loved the NARC novels, and like serious SF with a strong gay twist, don’t miss this series!
Mel Keegan’s name is a byword for thrilling gay adventure in the past, present and future — MILLIVRES on Aquamarine.
reviewed by Aricia Gavriel
The flavor of CRY LIBERTY/PROBE changes in the middle. The first part is about running for your life and staying about one inch ahead of the truck that's about to roll you into the road till you're part of the tarmac (warning: don't start reading at nine pm. Dumb thing to do. I did it). The second part is like sitting on the bomb, knowing it's going to go off and not knowing when. (Another warning: keep tissues to hand. In the middle of this one, you're gonna need 'em. The toast is, 'Absent friends,' and no, I'm not going to tell who. But you'll need those tissues.)
This one is also about a space battle so big, George Lucas probably wishes he thought of it (;-D). And a 'hero' so unexpected, I was speechless. Woah! And it's killing me because I can't say a thing here, because any syllable is going to come out like plot spoilers! (And DreamCraft will excommunicate me if I do that.)
Somebody's going to kick my shins for this next remark, but I'm going to make it anyway. MK's got a vein of high-octane soap opera running through this series ... and I love it. There's the whole Tonio Teniko and Richard Varien thing (yes! [punches the air]), and then this other strand, with Harrison Shapiro and Jon Kim, and is Kim playing Harrison for a sucker? Is he an agent? For me ... sure, I love the tech stuff (god knows, I grew up on the trek movies. I speak techno babble better than I speak English) but you gotta love this thread of soap opera that's winding and coiling through these books!!! (Don't kill me for that, right?)
reviewed by J Grenfell
Okay, Aricia, I won't kill you for getting off on the character development material! Call it soap opera at your peril, young lady! (LOL ... seriously, guys, we're drinking buds, okay?) You want soap, try tuning into something like The Young and the Restless, and you'll see what soap-shmoap is all about!
Seriously, I do LOVE what MK is doing with these characters. I LOVE the thing that's going on between Mick Vidal and Neil Travers. Also, you get what they call the 'warm fuzzies' from the Leon Sherratt and Roy Arlott relationship. These are very, very male characters. Any one of them would make a superb role model. The soldier, the scholar, the statesman. The 'fact of their gayness,' if you'll forgive the phrase, is bliss.
Incidentally, I read a review of the HELLGATE series somewhere on the web (sorry, I have no idea where), and some reader was saying it was 'too technical' ... huh? Sure, there's tech stuff in these books. They're set against a very real science background, so they better have a firm tech foundation, otherwise they'll fast bomb out into what Aricia called, in the previous review, 'techno babble.' Thanks heavens MK either knows his science or is bloody good at faking it. But the tech background in these books is exactly that: BACKGROUND. And Aricia Gav just made a fine point. It's the CHARACTERS which drive these books. You want to call it soap opera? Oh, boy. The Bold and the Beautiful would kill to get their hands on these characters and situations. In legitimate fiction this material is called character development. (And IMHO these books most assuredly are legit fiction, even if they're SF, and gay ... what's wrong with gay SF, for cryin' out loud, to quote a currently well-known icon on the boob-tube.)
Do I have a criticism? Only that MK needs to get his finger out and write the next one sometime soon!