THE ATKOI WAR, VOLUME 1: SLAVE GIRL OF AKKADIS
"From Machiavellian intrigues at the Imperial court to the slave markets and Arena of Akkadis; from ruthless brigands and corrupt rulers to beautiful slave girls, this has it all. This is space opera on a galactic scale, an epic reminiscent of the great classics of science fiction. If you want a great read, you've found it."
It is the year 2999. Humanity's vast Empire rules over a thousand worlds, but its leaders are weak and corrupt.
On its borders, the Atkoi tribes, human but long since reverted to barbarism, have acquired modern weapons and faster than light warships. They are united in their hostility to the Empire by their religious beliefs and now for the first time they also have a single leader, a tyrant bent on religious war and conquest. The Empire's feeble attempts to appease him only help the Atkoi grow stronger.
And between the Empire and the Atkoi is the fiercely independent world of Akkadis: strategically vital, and coveted by both.
An Imperial passenger liner, the Evening Star, is attacked by Atkoi terrorists aided by terrifying alien mercenaries. One of the passengers, an Imperial ambassador named Archpriest Scamander, appears to be in league with the terrorists. The ship's precious cargo is plundered and several dozen of the most attractive female passengers are taken captive. They begin a nightmare voyage to Akkadis, beyond the borders of the Empire and beyond any hope of rescue, where their fate is to be sold into slavery.
One of the girls, Aimee, is promised that the lives of her family will be spared if she surrenders her virginity to Scamander. Too late she discovers that the treacherous ambassador is lying: her family are already dead. Another young woman, Kyra, is a bride-to-be on her way to her fiance on the Imperial capital world. But Kyra is not molested at all; the brigands appear to have other plans for her.
On Akkadis the girls face a terrifying ordeal: sale by auction. Several of them are sold to one of the planet's notorious slave brothels. There they meet Mrs Knott, the tyrannical manageress.
Meanwhile an Akkadisi lawyer and politician has been accused of treason and executed by the secret police, and his wife, Amanda, has been condemned to slavery. She attempts to escape but is betrayed. She is sold to the same brothel, where she meets and befriends Aimee.
The two women share a common thirst for freedom and revenge, and they are willing to risk their lives to achieve it.
Mrs Knott has been secretly filming rich and powerful clients when they visit her establishment. Her ultimate plan is blackmail. She considers her collection of audiovisual recordings to be her 'pension fund,' little realising that one of the men she has filmed is in fact Archpriest Scamander, perhaps the most dangerous man on the planet, who is involved in treason and intrigue at the very highest levels.
Mrs Knott is completely out of her depth. She does not know that her clumsy attempt at blackmail is about to go catastrophically wrong, nor does she realise how far and wide the consequences of Amanda's desperate act of revenge will spread.
Sometimes the best weapons of the weak are the mistakes of those who think they are strong.
PRAISE FOR 'SLAVE GIRL OF AKKADIS'
"(Sparrowhawk is...) a master of storytelling. He creates a shockingly authentic future universe."
"A fast moving, thrilling plot... a stunning tour de force"
"At last, a new SF author with great ideas."