The Stars Undying

Emery Robin weaves political intrigue, romance and betrayal in The Stars Undying, a dazzling debut that retells the story of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar--but in space. Since childhood, Princess Altagracia has prepared to succeed her father and become Queen of Szayet and the oracle of its god, the off-planet conqueror whose soul has been housed for centuries in the Pearl of the Dead, a computer earring. But her militaristic twin sister, Arcelia, has declared that Alekso Undying named her the heir in a dream. Gracia's only hope of claiming the crown is to win the help of the interstellar empire of Ceiao. When General Matheus Ceirran comes to Szayet to negotiate, Gracia has herself smuggled into Cerrian's quarters to plead her case. But ousting Arcelia is only the beginning. Gracia finds herself struggling to avoid appearing as if she had handed her planet over to the empire at home and wrestles with navigating in Ceiao as a foreign client queen. She offers Cerrian a plan to secure both their futures, but it may be disastrous if the other power brokers of Ceiao don't accept it.

The novel's invented universe allows for a wider range of genders to be represented in different types of social roles than would have been accepted in the late Roman Republic; however, the casual attitude toward queerness feels extremely appropriate to the classical world. The Stars Undying will attract fans of plots with scheming and double-dealing in centuries past--among the stars, no less, given that Robin brings classical history to an interstellar setting. Readers will be eager for the sequel. --Kristen Allen-Vogel, information services librarian at Dayton Metro Library

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