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True Caderi
by Michelle Levigne

Imagine...

A space Shogun/robber baron named Caderi who takes what he wants and rules through charm and guile as well as fear.

An invincible race of female pilots who travel the stars by the power of their minds.

Caderi wants to break their monopoly by breeding his own pilot from their outcasts, but his daughter is stolen before birth. Now he must find her; and when he does, he must mold her into his image before she discovers the truth of his evil nature. But Qinda has a mind--and a conscience--of her own.

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Michelle Levigne
I grew up reading and loving "impossible" things in my stories; my earliest memories are of "The Cat in the Hat," and fairy tales. I remember discovering Mowgli when I was in third or fourth grade (wolves are VERY big in many of my stories even now) and the Blue Fairy Book not long after, and devouring mythology around the same time. I tried to stage a play in 4th grade based on the story of Atalanta, and fell in love with Odysseus when I read The Odyssey in 7th grade. (My novel, The Dark One, came out from LTDBooks in November 2001 and is Penelope's side of the story.)

Most of my books begin with "what if" or "why couldn't" or "this would be neat if ..." I remember rewriting Star Trek episodes in my head, and then going on from there. In tenth grade, my daydreaming got so bad I wrote it down to get it out of my head so I could study for final exams. And that was the beginning.

True Caderi is my fourth sale, my first here at Awe-Struck, and belongs in the Commonwealth "universe." I have quite a few books planned in the Commonwealth, and I hope you enjoy this one and come back for more!

Awe-Struck says: The titles Awe-Struck has written for Awe-Struck thus far are True Caderi, Azuli Eyes, Scout's Pride, By Fire and Stars, and Chorillan. Be sure to watch for the 5th and last book of the Chorillan Cycle, Silver Azuli on March 24, 2006.

Michelle welcomes visitors to her website at http://www.MLevigne.com/. Book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnBidzGAhFs


Reviews

"The author immediately draws you into Quinda's mysterious life, as she talks of finding her lost adoptive family at the onset of this adventurous novel. No sooner are you wondering why she did not know where they were or why she was taken from them, then you are whisked into another adventure as Quinda's husband and young son must flee for their lives...Quinda must try to escape...The novel transports you with her as she tries desperately to hide herself but is caught by someone she did not even know wanted her,Caderi. Caderi, who takes what he wants, through deception of charm, wants Quinda.Why? Because she is his daughter...This is what a good read is all about!" Reviewed by Shirley Johnson for MidWest Reviews

This is a fascinating science fiction novel. There are all different kinds of societies involved in this story and it makes for interesting reading. This book grabbed my attention from the first page and kept it all the way to the end. It's not only a book about technologies and different worlds, but also about a woman growing up and facing her past. It doesn't bog down with technical data either. It moves very quickly. This is a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to all lovers of science fiction. Chere Gruver, for Timeless Tales Book Reviews 4 STARS


Excerpt

Caderi smiled and shook his head. "A love-token of some kind? Considering your vagabond life, I doubt the one holding the other half will ever find you." He let the coin drop, a tiny jerk on the thong, and went back to his seat. "You could find him with no problem, once you have free access to my data systems." He didn't look at her, but picked up a pitcher and poured steaming blue tea into his cup.

Is that a bribe, or a reward for cooperating and learning my lessons like a good little daughter? Qinda winced at the realization that she was all too easily accepting her fate.

"Sunrise begins in another minute or so," Caderi said. He raised his cup and gestured at a thin line of silver among the black, gray and deep purple shadows beyond the terrace. "There, between those two pylons with the green rotating lights."

The two pylons, if Qinda judged the distances correctly, were nearly five kilometers from the terrace and as distant from each other. She smiled against the queasy sensation in her stomach when she realized just how high off the ground the terrace sat. And nothing between her and falling but a carved railing of stone only knee high.

"Try the gisreg."

"The what?" She laughed, startled out of her contemplation of the distance and height.

"Here." Caderi picked up a purple and golden mottled globe and tossed it to her. He had a good throwing arm, smooth and whipcrack accurate.

Qinda snatched at the fruit as it arrowed straight for her. The gisreg smacked into her palm, skin slick with cold and melting ice, smooth and sparkling in the torchlight.

"Good hand-eye coordination. Your Caderi blood showing. I'll wager you're a fair hand at calculating distances without measuring rods or tapes."

"Somewhat," she admitted. "Where does this come from?"

"A lovely little planet called Aramar, on the edge of the Commonwealth. Just emerging from civil wars. One of my best customers for new technology."

"You supply weapons?"

"Don't give me that disapproving look, my girl." Caderi chuckled. "We don't. An ancestor learned long ago, those who deal in weapons eventually find themselves on the wrong end. Revolutionaries are notoriously self-righteous once they come into power. They also don't like being grateful."

"I'll keep that in mind." She slit the skin with her thumb nail and sniffed at the chill, thick juice that oozed out, bland with just a hint of sweet-sour. It thinned as it took on the warmth of her skin, the aroma growing stronger.

"Some people prefer it warm. Those who claim sophistication say it is best chilled. Less of a mess to eat, I suppose."

Qinda bit her lip to keep from asking how he preferred to eat it. She refused to give him even that much.

Silvery light streaked across the horizon line, turning rapidly golden, touched with rose and purple at the edges. Qinda watched it, holding the gisreg in her hand to let it warm. Lights far below the terrace sparkled: rapid, silent pops of red and white. She shook her head and turned her attention back to the sunrise. How often in the last Sol had she been able to watch a sunrise?

"Qinda," Caderi snapped.

She tore her gaze from the light as Caderi reached her side and grabbed her by the shoulders, yanking her from her chair. The fury on his face made her recoil. She flung herself from the chair toward the railing, yanking free of his grasp, dropping to her knees. Caderi threw himself to the terrace tiles half a second before a streak of light and a screaming concussion shattered the side of the building twenty meters above them.