TITLE: Supremacy's Shadow
AUTHOR: T. Eric Bakutis
PUBLISHER: SF Productions
PURCHASE LINK: Amazon
In the far future, ordinary "natural born" humans are in conflict with the genetically enhanced "Advanced" in a star system with two inhabited planets. The Advanced are tightening their control over the natural born in an oppressive state, but a group of fanatics is fighting back using terrorist tactics. Living in this mess is Hayden Cross, a military investigator and natural born whose pregnant wife was murdered by the fanatics thirteen years ago. He's made it his mission to eliminate those who killed her... but his world is thrown into disarray when he receives a mysterious message saying she might still be alive.
What starts out as a personal mission winds up embroiling Hayden in a complex power struggle where, it seems, no one's the good guy. A sadistic crime lord, corrupt official, fanatical rebels, bounty hunters... poor guy really can't catch a break. The plot twists and turns its way through a story that starts out as one man's quest for his wife but winds up an epic of world-shattering proportions. Each time you think you know what's going to happen, it veers of into another direction for some truly surprising twists.
Yet the story never loses sight of the people at its core, which is what makes it work so well. The characters are well developed and feel like people, not just chess pieces in service to the plot. While this isn't the kind of book to expect a happily-ever-after from, the ending is plenty satisfying.
One of the book's blurbs compares Hayden Cross to Deadpool. I'd say that's a pretty accurate comparison for the book as a whole - it's a gritty tale of oppressors and terrorists with lots of blood and some disturbing torture scenes, and the characters snark their way through it all, using dark humor to offset the horrors they face.
If you're looking for an exciting, fast-paced read with interesting characters, rich world building, dark humor, and a complex plot, then these are the droids you're looking for.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T. Eric Bakutis is an author and game designer living in Maryland. He is happily married and shares his house with a vicious, predatory cat and a sad-faced, cowardly dog. He spends way too much time in virtual reality, because virtual reality is increasingly awesome.
His first fantasy trilogy, Tales of the Five Provinces, is now complete. The first (standalone!) book in his Dueling Planets series, Supremacy's Shadow, is now available, with the next (standalone!) book coming in a year or two. He's also completed a free cyberpunk police procedural, Loose Circuit, which you can read for free at www.loosecircuit.com or purchase (e-book) on Amazon for $0.99.
If any of this sounds interesting, you can read excerpts from all of his books, his free online serial, and a number of free short stories at www.tebakutis.com.