Tag Archives: Richard L. Sanders

Richard L. Sanders: The Phoenix Conspiracy

Richard L. Sanders: The Phoeanix Conspiracy

Calvin Cross is a successful and loyal officer in Intel Wing, the Empire’s intelligence organisation. He is so good that he has been given his own command, the stealth frigate Nighthawk, despite the fact that he is only a half-citizen and therefore stuck at a junior officer rank. His latest mission has been to track down rogue warship captain Raidan who used his position to destroy civilian alien freighters without provocation. Raidan is tried by a tribunal and found guilty, but his motives remain unknown. The prisoner escapes under suspicious circumstances—hijacking a dreadnought in the process—and Cross is again ordered to find him. Cross suspects foul play as several facts do not add up and decides to investigate the underlying situation rather than hunting down the fugitive. While he tries to keep up appearances his mysterious opponents act to stop Cross and his crew no matter what.

Phoenix Conspiracy has a solid, but not brilliant setup. The futuristic world is very similar to ours despite the fact that humanity travels across space; culture and technology appear unchanged for the most part. It works well enough for this kind of story as the reader feels comfortable from page one and can completely focus on the intriguing plot. The conspiracy is nicely set up and the characters are likeable yet complex enough to feel real, including heart-felt emotion and sometimes funny, sometimes nerve-wracking conflicts. Only the ending seemed a bit too hasty and shallow for my taste; but then, this is only part one of a series so I will give Sanders the benefit of doubt, assuming the rabbit hole is deeper than it seems. Phoenix Conspiracy managed to captivate me and I had a good time reading it. I certainly look forward to the sequels!

Get this great read in a variety of formats for free and DRM-free on Smashwords.

Some Short Stories

Richard L. Sanders: Betraying Nexus

David Sartof: Gloria

Mark Aragona: Vector

All happy about my new Kobo Touch, I went and downloaded a couple of short stories for free at Smashwords.

Richard L. Sanders: Betraying Nexus — Jason is a mind bender of Nexus, a global, secret organisation that prevents crime by changing the intentions of potential criminals with them non the wiser. Jason has just brought down a former friend and colleague gone rogue; now he is to be promoted. When he discovers why Nexus works at all, his loyalty falters.
The story has an interesting setup and a good conflict. It may have worked even better in a longer format, I think; as it is, the amount of progress made feels too much for the timeframe. If you liked the movie Minority Report, you like this story.

David Sartof: Gloria — Oliver finds himself inside a remote cabin deep in the woods. He holds a bloody axe, standing above another man tied to a chair. He is going to kill this man, just like he just killed his own wife. Oliver just does not know why.
Fascinating short story! The amount of twists the author put in with so few words is amazing.

Mark Aragona: Vector — An alien race carefully investigates earth. Suddenly, one of their scout parties ends up in the middle of a beginning zombie apocalypse. What happened? Is there still a way to settle on earth in a peaceful way, maybe even help humanity survive?
Interesting idea and good writing, but the twist came too soon; the ending seemed more like an afterthought. Reversing the answers to “what” and “why” would have worked better. There is potential for much more in this one!

I have never really read short fiction before but I know see that it has its appeals. Maybe I will go back for more, but first I have to read some free classics and gratis novels.