Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Empire of Dust (The Chronicles of the Second Interstellar Empire of Mankind, Book 3) by Robert I. Katz

Release date: March 25, 2018
Subgenre: Space opera

 About The Empire of Dust:


Michael Glover survived every mission the Empire assigned him and then he survived the revolution that ended it all.

But can he survive when everything he knew and held dear has vanished into the past?

Awakened after 2000 years to find a new Empire rising to replace the old, Michael is given a second chance to make a difference. Can he take advantage of that chance? Does he even want to?

Trouble is brewing among the stars. Ships are vanishing. Military bases are being attacked. Chaos is spreading. Is this random piracy or a wide-spread conspiracy?

Naval intelligence is desperate to find out and Michael Glover, a soldier without a country, a man thought dead for over 2000 years, reluctantly decides that he cannot stand by when duty calls.

It’s a new Empire but the same old mission, and Michael Glover, deep in his soul, is still a soldier who can be counted on.

But Michael Glover has an independent streak. He’ll carry out the mission but he’ going to do it in his own inimitable way, whether naval intelligence likes it or not.

You will love this fast-paced science fiction adventure from award winning author, Robert I. Katz.

Buy it now!





He groaned as the cold slowly seeped into his awareness. Dimly, he felt that he might have shivered but he wasn’t certain of this. He was numb. Am I alive? He thought that he must be. I think, therefore…how did that go? Something. The thought hung there in the back of his brain, elusive. Slowly, he wriggled his fingers, then his toes. He tried to blink his eyes but the darkness was absolute. Maybe he succeeded. He couldn’t tell. Fingers and toes then. He wriggled them again then clenched his fists. If I have hands then I must have arms, and legs. That was a comforting thought. Arms and legs were good, at least a start. He tried to cry out but something liquid and harsh filled his mouth.
Wait, a voice seemed to say. Everything will be explained. Give it time. Was this his own thought or did it come from somewhere outside? Something that might have been amusement filled his mind. He had nowhere to go and nothing but time.
For a time then, he slept.

Chapter 1

The planet was dusty, almost barren, but there was life. It clustered around the oases and on the coasts, people struggling to make a living. Their database listed the world as Baldur-3, the third world in the Baldur system. The local web was unshielded and easy to access. The city below them was called Norwich.
“What do you think?” Michael Glover asked.
“We need fuel,” Romulus said. “They have fuel.”
Deuterium for the fusion generators. They had jumped far and this was the first human settled world they had come across in over a month that was more than a series of ruins. “I don’t know,” Michael said. “They’re not exactly high tech.”
“High enough. The world is clean and orderly. There are three universities on the Western continent and another five on the Eastern. They’re not barbarians. They’ll have what we need.”
Michael shrugged. “Better than nothing.”
The ship’s sensors had revealed a landing field on a large island off the coast of the Eastern continent. He instructed the AI to approach. They were hailed when still fifty kilometers up. “Unknown ship. State your business and world of origin.”
“This is the starship London,” Michael said. “Out of Beta Ionis-4.” It was nonsense, of course. Beta Ionis was a rocky, frozen system with a population of sentient, low temperature aliens that had never developed interstellar travel. Humanity had been trading with them for thousands of years.
The voice seemed to hesitate. “We have no record of human habitation in the Beta-Ionis system.”
“We maintain a habitat in the asteroid belt.” This was true, or it was true in the days of the Empire. Regardless, it was not a statement that could be disproven from half a galaxy away.
“Please state your business.”
“The London is a merchant vessel. I have a cargo to sell and I wish to purchase deuterium.”
“The names of your crew?”
“There is only myself. My name is Michael Glover.”
After a moment, the voice said. “You may land. Please follow the beacon to slip number eight.”
Twenty minutes later, the London settled into the designated location. Up close, the port was busier than Michael had expected. Cargo carriers rolled across the dusty tarmac. Three other slips were occupied, all with ships somewhat smaller than their own. “I think you should stay aboard,” Michael said. “Actually, you should stay hidden.”
Romulus looked nothing like Homo Sapiens. His matte black composite structure possessed arms, legs and a head only as a concession to human sensibilities. Romulus nodded. Without a word, he pressed a panel in the wall of the main cabin. The panel slid open. The robot entered and the panel slid seamlessly closed.
Five minutes later, the port inspectors arrived, one small, young and female, the other male, of indeterminate age, with a harried expression on his face. Michael pressed a button. A metal ramp unfolded and the main airlock opened. The inspectors entered, glancing curiously around the cabin. “Captain Glover?” The male inspector held out a hand. Michael took it. “I’m Chief Inspector Mark Conway. This is Assistant Inspector Natalie Levin. Welcome to Baldur.”
Natalie Levin frowned. “You’re really the only one aboard? I’ve heard of fully automated ships. I’ve never seen one.”
Michael smiled. “We’re proud of it. It’s a copy of an ancient First Empire design.”
“Well, we’ll need to inspect your cargo.”
“Feel free.”
The cargo had been carefully chosen. Little of it was high tech, mainly inexpensive but no longer up-to-date pre-fab matrices and solid state transistors that could be adapted to a variety of computer platforms, spices from five different worlds that had been stored in liquid nitrogen for over two thousand years, a lockbox of uncut jewels, most of them unique to their own worlds of origin, another lockbox containing small ingots of gold and another of platinum, and pallets of spider silk from the jungles of Rigel.
Natalie Levin pursed her lips when she saw the manifest and frowned at Michael. “You can’t trade the spices here unless you get authorization from the medical authorities declaring them safe for human consumption. Also, the matrices might contain viruses that our own computers aren’t equipped to handle. You’re not allowed to sell them or let them connect to the local web. The rest of it is approved.” She tore a sheet of paper off a clipboard. “Post this in your cargo bay where prospective buyers can see it. Good luck.”
“An interesting cargo,” Conway said. “You’ve travelled widely.”
“It’s what I do,” Michael said. “Buy low and sell high.” It was a plausible statement but not exactly the truth. It could easily become the truth, however. He had to do something to occupy his time and whatever that something ultimately turned out to be, an itinerant merchant captain made an excellent cover.
“Your papers are in order,” Conway said. “I suggest that you head over to the merchant’s guild. They’ll put you in touch with potential buyers.” He glanced at a comp on his wrist. “Too late tonight, though. They open first thing in the morning.”
“Thank you,” Michael said. “I’ll do that. Meanwhile, what is there to do at night in your fair city?” Calling it a city was definitely a stretch but it never hurt to be polite.
Natalie Levin snorted. “Not much,” she said.
Conway smiled at her. “We have some excellent restaurants, a zoo and a museum. There are a number of local sports teams but none of them are playing this evening. Two small theaters offer live entertainment. One of them is playing Twelfth Night, the 5714 translation. Also, the local web carries numerous channels. If you want to get off your ship, there are three reasonable hotels in the center of town.” He shrugged. “Good luck.”
They shook hands again, Michael thanked them both and waited until they had gone and the airlock closed behind them before saying, “What do you think?”
Romulus’ voice issued from a speaker grid near the ceiling. “Everything seems in order. I’m not expecting trouble.”
“No,” Michael said. “It all seems very civilized.”




About Robert I. Katz:

I grew up on Long Island, in a pleasant, suburban town about 30 miles from New York City. I loved to read from a very early age and graduated from Columbia in 1974 with a degree in English. Not encouraged by the job prospects for English majors at the time, I went on to medical school at Northwestern, where in addition to my medical degree, I acquired a life-long love of deep dish pizza. I did a residency in Anesthesiology at Columbia Presbyterian and spent most of my career at Stony Brook University, where I ultimately attained the academic rank of Professor and Vice-Chairman for Administration, Department of Anesthesiology.

When I was a child, I generally read five or more books per week, and even then, I had a dim sense that I could do at least as well as many of the stories that I was reading. Finally, around 1985, with a job and a family and my first personal computer, I began writing. I quickly discovered that it was not as easy as I had imagined, and like most beginning writers, it took me many years to produce a publishable work of fiction. My first novel, Edward Maret: A Novel of the Future, came out in 2001. It won the ASA Literary Prize for 2001 and received excellent reviews from Science Fiction Chronicle, InfinityPlus, Scavenger’s Newsletter and many others.

My agent at the time urged me to write mysteries, as mysteries are supposed to have a larger readership and be easier to publish than science fiction. Since I have read almost as many mysteries as science fiction and fantasy, and since I enjoy them just as much, I had no objection to this plan. The Kurtz and Barent mystery series, Surgical Risk, The Anatomy Lesson and Seizure followed between 2002 and 2009. Reviewers have compared them favorably to Patricia Cornwell and Robin Cook and they’ve received positive reviews from The Midwest Book Review, Mystery Review Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Lady M’s Mystery International, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and many others.

In 2014, I published a science fiction short story, To the Ends of the Earth in the Deep Blue Sea on Kindle for Amazon. Since then, I have made all of my previously published novels available for purchase on Kindle. A new science fiction novel, entitled The Cannibal's Feast, was published in July 2017. The next, entitled The Game Players of Meridien, a tale set far in the future after the collapse of the First Interstellar Empire of Mankind, is the first in a projected seven book science fiction series, and will be published on December 16, 2017. The second novel in the series, The City of Ashes, will appear early in 2018. In addition, a fourth novel in the Kurtz and Barent mystery series, The Chairmen, will also be published in the first half of 2018.

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